Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Too Old For Kids?


How old is too old to stop or even start having babies?

Ive been thinking about this intensely, for the last 8 weeks. 

You see ive been told that I am too old. AT the ripe OLD age of 36. Yep you read that right 36! 

Let me start at the beginning for you. 

I have wanted kids since I can remember. I don't remember not wanting them. Even as a kid myself, I remember thinking, that I knew I wanted to be a mother, without question. I had an extensive collection of Cabbage Patch Dolls, that I would mother heck out of. I always thought I would have 4. I don't know why 4, I just thought this number was perfect. In my eyes the more the merrier. Even my poor brother didn't escape my mother skills. There were many dress-ups, forced feedings etc that I made the poor little guy do! Im sure he was a little scared of my to begin with. Sorry about that W, I was just so happy to have you around, and I loved you completely! I felt like a mummy, and I loved it.

I also remember thinking I wish my parents would have more kids. Why did they only have myself and my borther? Why did they stop? I now know why. Having kids is difficult. Even if the whole process is really easy for you, everything has to be just right in order to fall pregnant. It's pretty amazing that there are so many of us in the world really. 

I never had as strong a feeling about being married. And NO im not saying that Im not happy being married. I really never factored being married or having a partner into my life. I actually imagined having kids on my own. Goodness knows why, its bloody difficult. But I thought I could do it all! Kids YES, married NO! I suppose I also thought no one would want to marry me? Very bad self esteem issues when I was younger, thats possibly another post. I never actively looked for a partner. It all seemed to happen without force.

For some of us women it is really easy to have kids. For others, not at all. I fall into the latter. 

The husband and I have been seeking out specialist help to concieve baby number two, possibly most likely IVF. Some will think this is so odd. I know I did....DO! 

Why bother to try for another when it is so difficult?
Why was it so "easy" the first time round?
This is so unnatural, should I really be messing with "nature" when there are so many  unwanted kidlets out there already?
Will my daugther really be ok, being an only child? I didn't want to be, but she is her own person, she may love being the only one?
Why do I want another child so badly? Why am I not content with little G? 
And why bother doing all this for baby number 2! 

Honestly I know being an only child is not so bad. I know my daughter will be ok either way. She is a strong little girl. My brother and I are no longer close. We were as kids, but not since we got married and had our own families. I suppose this is life, it gets super busy when you have little ones in your life, maybe things will be different again in the future. I hope so. So I guess I've felt like an only child for a long long time. So I know its not that bad. You are on your own in life anyway. But I must admit I do get very jealous when I see close siblings. I think they are the best kind of friend to have. Others come and go, but family are always there.

I will leave all the gory details out of this post, maybe if I get the courage I will write about it soon. Its not pleasent and actually very upsetting for me. This was very difficult to think about let alone write or talk about, and deeply personal to me. 

Everyone seems to be going full steam ahead, the specialist, the nurses, the husband. Everyone but me, I feel it is too clinical, and a little unnatural. Still need to wrap my head around it first, but i know I don't have the luxury of time. 

I end this post with, don't leave having kids till too late, that is if thats what you want. At least don't take it for granted. And if you want to have kids, your ready for it, but don't have a partner, who cares?! I say go for it! Looking back, I feel stupid now for not having them when I was ready. What was I waiting for? Why did I care what others would think? 



Friday, September 6, 2013

Apple Berry Breakfast Crumble





                                    




I have wanted to make this for such a long time. I love having a good and filling breakfast. 

I tend to favour sweet breakfasts over savoury. Maybe cause I don't tend to have much else sweet for the rest of the day. But in saying this, I havent added any sweetners as I don't like anything too sweet! What can I say, I'm an enigma.

This has got to be one of my favourite breakfasts yet. I love muesli and granola topped with fresh fruit, this hit the spot with the baked fruit studded with vanilla on the bottom, and a crunchy crumble topping, oh my! 

This would be lovely with caoco and coconut or maple syrup, added to the crumble too. 


4 Apples
1 pear
vanilla pod
nutmeg

250 grams strawberries, roughly chopped keep in largish chunks
small handful raspberries, frozen

Crumble Mix
1 cup whole oats
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 tablespoon pepitas
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teapsoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup mixed nuts roughly chopped
4-6 medjool dates roughly chopped
3/4 cup coconut cream or milk, I used cream

Cube the fresh apple's and pear. Place them in a pot with about 1 cup of water, a pinch of nutmeg and the vanilla pod. Boil on a low-med heat for about 15 minutes until the fruit is tender, but NOT too soft or mushy. Take out the vanilla bean, and place the mixed fruit in a baking dish.

Dot the fresh strawberries and raspberries over the cooked fruit.
 
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix all the crumble ingredients together and sprinkle on the top of the fruit.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown.

I served it warm from the oven with a dollop of greek yoghurt. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Banana Bread Dairy Free

       




I love dairy. I know you all know that by now.

But maybe a little too much, especially in the form of cheese. Is it possible to love cheese too much? And why doesn't it always love me back? Thats just not a good relationship now is it?!

I find that too much milk feels heavy in my stomach, and I tend to feel so full and kinda gross, that I avoid it for a bit.

Sans my everyday coffee. That's a non negotiable for this parent! I have to have a coffee everyday.

Anyway, so im always looking at different ways to make baked goods still taste creamy and delicious, without adding milk.

Well I am loving using nut milks. Almond, cashew, any nut really. They are all delicious! I also find they are sweet, which is perfect as I don't like to add much sugar, if any, to a sweet baked bread or muffin. But as always you can add as much as you want. I find it always depends on the fruit your using on how much sugar to add. But generally I think 1/2 cup brown sugar would be enough.

This is a super easy bread to make. As long as you have a stick blender. Or something like that.

Wet ingredients 
2-3 small ripe bananas, or any sweet fruit apples, pears etc
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup water
vanilla
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda

Dry ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 cup whole oats
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 cup quinoa, raw I like the crunch, but you can leave it out
strawberries, as many as you like, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
handful dark choc cocao chips/nibs

Preheat fan forced oven 170C
Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Blend the wet ingredients with a stick blender, then pour it into the bowl with the dry. Mix them together really well.
Pour the batter into a lined baking loaf tin. Top with whatever ingredient you like, I like coconut.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Told you it is an easy one!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Fruit and Nut Rye Bread







I heart freshly baked bread. I have always been intoxicated by the smell of freshly baked bread. The whole reason I try to avoid Bourke Street Bakery and similar, when i'm feeling peckish.

The smell of this bread is especially delightful. And fills the house with a wonderfully spicy, sweet orange aroma, that is very difficult to resist indeed! I could not. As soon as it was out, steaming hot, I sliced the end off and stuffed it in my face!

I recently switched to using This Rye Flour and am absolutely in love with it. It have a mild nutty flavour, and I use it in making plain NY No Knead Bread, fruit bread like banana and pear (is this really bread? Can't we all agree to call it cake?, Rye Crackers, and also this fruit and nut bread. Rye flour, has a much denser crumb and texture, so its much more difficult to use, and to make rise. You can adjust the quantity to a 1/4 cup, but I love it like it is. It is surprisingly quite a light loaf, not as heavy as I thought it would be. Perfect for what I wanted to use it for.

You can add as many fruits, nuts and spices as you wish to this bread. I added a rough guide as to what I added to my loaf.

This makes a small loaf, my husband hates fruit loaves, so I don't bother to make them too big. If you want a larger size, I suggest to double the quantities.

Also you don't have to add the butter, but it makes for a softer crumb, delicious. Besides, butter is the food of the Gods, isn't it?

Makes 1 loaf.

1 1/2 cups plain flour
!/3 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 heaped teaspoon dry yeast, or 1 packet
zest of 1/2 orange
2 tablespoons currents
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
4-6 medjool dates, sliced the bigger the chunks the better
handful of walnuts, I prefer not roasted for this bread
10-20 roasted unsalted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
25 grams melted butter
pinch salt
3/4 cup warm water

I use my Kitchenaid, with the dough hook attachment for this bread.

Place all of your ingredients, besides the water into the mixing bowl.  Mix for a minute to combine the ingredients first, then slowly add the water. Knead for about 6 minutes on a low speed. You may need to add a tablespoon of either water or flour at this stage depending on the flour your using.

Once the dough is ready, i leave it in the bowl, cover it and set it aside to rise for about 1-2 hours, till double or at least close to it. 1 hour is usually enough.

Turn the dough out and shape it how you like. I just plonk it into a lined loaf pan and kind of shape it into a loaf. I haven't got that much time to fuss, with a toddler at my heels! Then set that aside for about 1 hour to prove. Start preheating your oven to 200C fan forced, in the last 30 minutes.

Bake for about 35-45 minutes depending on your oven and the size of the loaf, for a small 35 minutes should be enough. You can glaze the top with egg before baking to give it a deep rich colour.

I challenge you not to eat it fresh, and steaming out of the oven this smell and tastes that good!

NB Only use this method when you know your yeast is good.


I served this fruit and nut loaf toasted with:

Stewed Apple Spread
1 whole large apple, cut into smallish cubes
1 orange juiced
vanilla to taste
Stew everything for about 15 minutes until quite soft

Fresh strawberries

Cream Cheese Cream

1-2 tablepoons cream cheese softened at room temp
dash cinnamon and vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh cream
pinch nutmeg

Served this then topped with coconut syrup, you can substitute with any syrup, and a sprinkle of walnuts. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Anxious Bitch

I have had a little anxiety of late. It shits me, and I want it out of my life, but I know that will never happen.

You see I'm a naturally anxious person, I need to accept it and deal with it and move on. Like having any other affliction, it will always be there. Different shades of intensity and aggression, but always there.

My little friend "the anxious bitch." I like to refer to it as.

Anxiety has different degrees of intensity and nastiness for me. I'm so used to having it that i now announce it to my husband when its happening. I'm even having anxiety as I type this up, just by thinking about it.

Life has been difficult for me lately to say the least. So many dreaded miscarriages. Losing so many babies can only scar a person for life. Being pregnant, and having the feel good pregnancy hormones pumping through my body one minute, then having them bottom out so quickly after a miscarriage doesn't help. It's exactly like the moment you have your baby, all those delicious hormones coursing through your body one minute, the next, nothing! it is a big cause of the baby blues many women experience on the dreaded third day after having a baby, and why breast feeding helped me through it! Breast feeding always made me feel good.

I have been told so many times, just relax. Have a cup of tea, deep breaths, and my favourite is to lay down, or take a bath with calming lavender.
Most of the time these don't work for me. when my heart is racing and I feel trapped in my own body, not being able to take a decent breath, let alone sit still from all the adrenalin, I need to do something ASAP.

I have found some really effective ways of dealing with anxiety.

Singing. I cannot sing to save myself, but it is effective in helping those shallow breathes.

Dancing. Again, I cannot dance, but it makes me forget that anxious feeling, even for a moment.

Music. LOVE the radio. I put on a station that has lots and lots of music, I can sing and dance to. I also love podcasts. Love the diversity, and the fact you can listen to anything you can think of!

Walking. I'm not a runner, only sporadic, but if I was I would do that. Walking has an amazing effect on my anxiety. Even if it is short. The fact I can get out of the house is wonderful. I used to be paralyzed and stuck indoors permanently. So be out and enjoying the world is wonderful.

Chocolate. I don't like to eat buckets of it, or any old chocolate. I like it dark, smooth and slightly bitter. And it has to be good chocolate, I love a 70-85% cocao butter. I have to savour it as a way to help with anxiety.

Shower. There is something calming about water. But I hate sitting in a bath. It gives me the heebeegeebees! I think they are gross, sitting in your own dirt! BLERGH! I prefer to shower.

Baking. I love spending time in the kitchen baking, it is so rewarding. love creating something out of ingredients.

Smiling/laughing. For me cause I'm mostly on my own, besides my little toddler G, this means watching some trashy TV or movie, or even reading. I love nothing more than getting 45 minutes to put my feet up with a cup of tea and having a good laugh. Having a good sense of humour helps, and learning to laugh at myself helps too.

Crying. Sometimes all I need is a good old cry. It can work wonders, instead of always holding it in.

Tea. That brings me to tea. As most people know i love coffee. But I'm not a crazy have to have 15 cups a day. I like ONE. But one very good one, thank you very much. But when I'm feeling quite anxious I will drink tea, something usually caffeine free. Chamomile, peppermint and white tea are favourites of mine even when I'm not having an anxiety filled moment.

Distance. I try to distance myself from the thing very thing causing anxiety. Getting out of the situation if I can.

Cognitive therapy. This works very well for me. Most people with anxiety hate it. It is difficult and anything that is challenging is usually not loved by most. It seems to work for me. Basically you do the thing you fear the most. If it means driving somewhere new, you do it! Or even walking outside, you do it!

Talking about it. The best I find is to talk about it, finding a friend with it too helps greatly, but if not use a loved one that is understanding. This is something I'm very grateful for, I have a very understanding husband, that has seen some horrific behaviour that I'm deeply ashamed of. If you can't confide in anyone you know, for fear they will judge, and believe me people judge you, there are plenty of forums to use. Even silly fun things like Vogue etc. Which brings me to distraction.

Distraction. If I find myself in the middle of an attack, then I do anything to distract my mind and get it out of there. The more I dwell on having an attack the worse I get. I try anything from playing with the toddler and dog, to cleaning. Cleaning is a good one. It's soothing and you accomplish something at the same time.

Baby steps with anxiety, there is nothing worse than having months of progress to only push yourself so hard one day, to be back at square one the next.

No one is ever going to understand how I struggle with it, well not unless you suffer too. I find it difficult to leave the house sometimes, and to socialise. I've been working on my issues with anxiety and it is helping me deal with it.

Every moment that I don't have anxiety, is an achievement. But I now try not to dwell on that either. I have learnt the hard way it will pass. It always does, it never lasts forever.

Do you have issues with Anxiety? If so, what are your coping mechanisms?  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Are You Worth It?


I have this strange habit/thing I do.

I buy or am given, mostly by the husband very pretty things. I then go on to save my very pretty things for a special occasion. Why do I do this? Who knows, but I'm sure I get this from my mum. She always thinks she isn't worth it. Recently I gave mum a gift, that I thought she would love, and she has been trying to re-gift it back to me since!

I have seen many women in my family do this, so maybe it's a family trait?
Who knows?

But I do know its weird. And I know that my relatives think their behaviour is weird too. Its all for a reason, we were without for such a long time, that I guess its so lovely having these lovely things around you want them to last. Just in case shitty times happen again.

I have beautiful perfumes including body lotion and soaps collection sets, sitting there for ages, till I think I better use them cause otherwise people will have to embalm me on my deathbed in them.

I also have clothes, shoes and jewellery that too get cast aside, except my engagement ring, to wear another time, or for a fancy/better occasion. Again why? And how often do fancy occasions happen, now with a child in my life?

I don't want to pass this on to my daughter, but I also don't want her to think this stuff is worth coveting in such a passionate way. I most definitely don't do that. Some would say I'm a major tight arse. I don't care though, I wear that label proudly. I spend where I want, its mostly food as my big extravagance, and I buy for my child of coarse. But that's pretty much it.

I need to learn to buy things for myself, sometimes let's not go nuts, and to let go of the past. The past is the past hopefully it never happens again.

I watched an interview with Kylie Minogue, where she was telling the world about having breast cancer. I will never forget she had on the most amazing diamond earrings. They were huge and stunning. Even the interviewer commented on them. Kylie said she will never again leave something for a special occasion. She WILL wear diamonds during the day happily.

Are you worth it? Well yes you are. Always. Wear your lovely things with pride people. You have worked hard enough for them!

We all have scars, and really crappy things that have happened to us. And as cliche as it sounds, this is our only life, and life is ridiculously short.

I used to think I wasn't worth spending anything on, time, money or effort. Being completely embarrassed when people buy or do anything for me. I still get like this now! But I'm no where near as bad as I used to be. I'm working on thinking that I'm worth the effort. At least sometimes...

Please tell me I'm not the only one hoarding all my good stuff? 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Things They Never Tell You Before You Have A Baby






Kids get sick: When I say they get sick, they get sick All. The. Time! It is so frustrating, and heartbreaking! Makes you feel like such a shit parent. But you need to just be vigilant. And not let anyone go near them.....KIDDING, they will get over it. Better still GET A FLU SHOT! But kids are a bit feral and cause it that they get sick, just have a constant arsenal on the ready. Whatever it is you choose to use.

The Guilts: You will at some stage feel guilty about something. Said kid is going to hurt themselves or your just going to go food shopping, without them, and it'll hit you then. Sometimes you'll cry like an idiot in Woolies, but you'll also get over it just as quick.

Boob Feeding: Boob feeding hurts like a MOFO! That is all. Having said that I did it for 9 lovely months. Once I got past the toe curling pain, worse than childbirth (only cause I had an Epidural) pain. It was amazing, so soothing, most of the time, for both of us. Has it made the kid and I bond quicker or more so? I don't personally think so. I think we would of bonded anyway, but I do think it helps. There is something very animalistic about breast feeding your child, that really is so completely wonderful. I cherished every moment. And its a perfect pacifier.

Spewing: What's with that. I had a newborn that projectile all the time! FOUL! I know not all babies do it as much as G did, but they still spew a fair bit.

How easy they are to look after: There I said it. One child, yes, I'm not sure about more than one. But one is no where near as bad as what I had imagined in my head. I was riddled with anxiety in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Am I going to know what I'm doing? Dear God, am I ready for this? They are quite simple really. They just want the simple things in life. To eat, sleep, poo and have plenty of attention and cuddles. Sometimes I found that just having G in the bouncer everywhere I went, made her happy. She loved her bouncer. Of coarse there are times when they are shrieking the house down, and your thinking WHAT? WHAT IS IT BUB? You've fed them, sometimes a top up, changed their nappy, cuddled them, to no avail, to only have the both of you end up in tears! I find its better not to dwell on those moments. They will pass, and quicker than you think too.

Stuff: Kids don't know what toys, clothing etc are. You teach them that. They don't care for it when they are super little. You could have toys galore, most kids get bored by them so quickly. They prefer to have the company of mum and dad, or whoever their carer is, doing what they like. It could be a dance party, reading a book, whatever it is that your child truly loves, like eating.

JOY! The absolute crazy love and joy they bring to a family. Actually even to strangers. I see strangers smiling at my daughter, and talking to her (no not in a creepy way) and the way she smile's back at them, it makes my day. I genuinely hope it makes theirs too!

Children are an incredible gift. I have the biggest ball of sunshine wrapped in a little girl. She is incredible, and I learn so much from her everyday, I thought it was meant to be the other way round. I hope I don't forget that when G is having an almighty tantrum. Why do they always have the worst fit, PLANKING etc when you are out and about, so people stare and think God knows what about you both?!
My little G turned 2 on Sunday, I cannot believe the way time really does fly when you are having fun. I am a very blessed woman.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More Heartbreak-How Much Longer Can I Endure This Pain

I'm sitting in my living room, tears streaming down my face.

Ive just come back from seeing my GP and I am having yet another miscarriage. Seems to always happen on a rainy day. I should prepare myself when the bad weather comes in.

This is number 5 now. 5 beautiful babies, have left my body. Gone forever.

I feel so alone in this. Yes I have family, friends and a husband that loves me very much, well he does anyway. But i still feel like this is my battle, no one can do anything to make it better. No one gets it either though. If i hear to stay positive one more time, ill scream!

Its not me willing them away, i want them very much, i have fears, that are justified and that should be heard, i shouldn't be told that things will be ok....Well because they wont be, never will be. Facts are Ive lost babies. Too many, and the pain is so great I can't, and don't know how to express it, except on this blog. Most people don't understand, I get that. And maybe its cause Ive had so many, that no one cares anymore, like ok "chin up Leah, it'll happen one day" OR a personal favourite of mine is "stay positive!" No amount of praying, staying postive or chin up's are going to make the baby stay in my womb. No amount of going to church and lighting candles makes any of this feel any better, if anything, i have lost my faith completely. Why does it happen to me? Am i such a terrible person that this has to keep happening too?  

Even when I found out I was pregnant, I was petrified this would happen again, sure enough it is. I cannot rejoice in being pregnant, when it happens, cause I have a constant fear that i will miscarry, yet again. When i see the lines on a pee stick, i feel sick with anguish, my first thought, is when am i going to miscarry this time...

I want so badly for my daughter to have a brother or sister to hate/love, like i do. Like most of us do. But its not going to happen.

We can't even fucken adopt in this country, not without there being so many hoops to jump through that by the time, we may be approved, I will be 60.

Fuck that.

Clearly im not built for having babies. I was so so sick with G, I had HG, that maybe its my bodies way of saying i can't do this? I dont know. Maybe my head is wrong, but i feel like I can, that I am meant to be a mother to many. Its crazy right. I have always had a magic number of 4. Yes i know! 4! But thats always been in my head. Well I got my wish, I am now a mother to 6, 5 are angels, and one is my darling daughter G.

If only they were still here though...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Not Too Wicked Sticky Date Pudding, Coconut Style





I make no secrets about loving desserts! I ABSOLUTELY adore them. And I believe you should have dessert every night, yep that's right EVERY night.

It doesn't always have to be fatty and sugar filled. A big bowl of berries is so delicious especially when they are in season, and at room temp. Strawberries are my addiction at the moment, they are giving off a wonderful rosy perfume, that I cannot resist! Thank goodness for the QLD growers huh?

But every now and then I have to have something a little more wicked. Wicked for me, I'm told by many is very different to most. So by all means please add more butter and no olive oil, and add loads more sugar, brown, if that's how you roll. Each to their own, in my eyes.

I recently bought some coconut syrup from Honest to Goodness, with the intention of substituting it for sugar in baking. But it turns out that it is awesome in a hot choc, over yoghurt, and even pancakes and scones! Its delicious so sweet, thick and syrupy like honey. It tastes of a sort of toffee/caramel, taken to that slightly dark but not too dark re: burnt level, nothing at all like honey. I knew I had to use it in a pudding, and I knew it would be a winning flavour combo with dates, so not so wicked sticky date pudding was born.


Makes 6 mini pudd's

6-7 medjool dates
1/2 cup hot water
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs
60 grams butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup plain flour
vanilla
3-4 tablespoons coconut syrup*

Roughly chop the dates and soak them in the hot water with baking soda, while you prep the rest.

Preheat your oven to 170C fan forced.

Mix everything together, in a medium size bowl with a spatula, no fancy machines required. Pour into 6 ramekins.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

I like to serve it warm with a big dollop of thick cream and coconut syrup poured over the top.

*if you can't get coconut syrup, brown sugar is fine, but you'll need to use more, up to 1/2 cup.










Friday, May 24, 2013

Toddler G, Food, and The CONSTANT BATTLE.



I don't know how to feel right now.

I'm feeling a few emotions all at the same time. But mostly FRUSTRATION.

See I have a kid that likes food, no scrap that, she LOVES FOOD! She loves to try new things, and we enjoying feeding her as much variety as possible. And I love that she loves food. She is amazing.

One of her favourite things to say is "More" OR "More?" Nodding her gorgeous little head, and looking st you with the cutest and biggest toddler eyes. She also knows how to turn on the charm with a cheeky smile, to get what she wants. Now normally it is very cute. Adorable actually. But I don't tend to give in. If I know I have fed her sufficiently, I don't give her another helping of whatever it is.  

I know I feed her very well. It upsets me, sometimes, that she keeps saying "more!"

It makes me question myself not all the time. I have a constant voice over in my head:

"have I fed her enough?"

"Is she still hungry?"

I don't want to under feed my child. I have no intention of doing that too her. I want her to have a healthy relationship with food. But when I see someone handing her biscuits, lollies, and just ridiculously colourful junk food, I want to scream FUCK OFF, and slap it out of their hands!!! 

There are so many woman around her that have such a shitty relationship with food, I fear that she will learn this same fear from them too! There is no calorie or even DIET talk in my house. I don't give a fuck about IQS, Paleo, and Detox. Urgh don't get me started on stupid detoxes! 

I have NEVER been like this, I love food way too much to not want to eat it. I will know exactly what I'm eating from the night or even week before. I like to think about the food I'm eating, and I mostly, not always enjoy cooking it too. Even the shopping for food I love. I love seeing fresh food in all its abundance. Makes me very happy indeed. 

I'm a planner, I right down every meal for the week. I try to balance them all with lots of colour and flavour. I try so hard with the food I feed my family. I find G surprises me with the kind of things she loves to eat! The more variety the better. Toddlers get bored too!

I'm sure she will all of a sudden stop eating everything I put in front of her. I hope not though. Food is awesome! 

Don't get me wrong, I'm no saint, we've have "junk" food, but healthier types. I'm very proud to say that my daughter hasn't had lollies. But she does eat chocolate, she actually loves dark chocolate best, like her Mummy. A square of 70% or 85% cocoa Lindt is her favourite. I see nothing wrong in balance. But I'm not going to feed my kid junk, for the sake of it. I enjoy making her quality things to eat, and watching her devour them. This gives me great pleasure.

I've been told to "let her go to town" on food, so many times. Let her get sick from it, and she'll stop the "More Mumma, Peas*?" I can't do this to her, this horrifies me greatly. Its such an old fashioned way to "deal with it"

Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy. I have a super happy kid, that EATS everything i give her! Its so very rare. I want to be left alone is all. Can't you see how happy she is people?

Am I the only one going through this battle? 
WHY do I need to constantly justify what i feed my child? And, 
Why is it ok to question me? 

I don't say anything to people feeding there kids garbage! Its like the whole telling someone they are too skinny! You would never tell someone they are too FAT! So why is this ok?

With the weekend approaching, I know ill have a battle on my hands yet again with certain people. I'm so over it. I'm sick of feeling like the shittiest parent on the planet.

And yes my husband supports me 100%, SO so lucky.

*Peas=Please




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wholemeal Pear Pancakes




 


Man I am loving this cooler weather. I feel like I can be myself again. I cannot even think straight in the heat, let alone, think of what to cook for my family. So we tend to eat A LOT of salads.

Anyway, grateful to have a cooler change in the air, especially the mornings! I decided to celebrate by making my little one and I some pancakes.

Now I can't just make normal pancakes. I haven't made that kind of thing for years! I wanted something a bit more wholesome, filling, and down right delicious.

This pancake works cause it is so light and fluffy, all due to separating the eggs and beating the heck out of the whites. Also adding baking powder helps to create lots of air bubbles, to lighten up the batter.

You can also keep this batter and use it the next day. In saying that though you lose all the air bubbles, therefore the fluffiness of the pancakes, they still taste great though!

Dry ingredients
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup whole oats
1/4 cup bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
spices as much as you like, i used cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves

Wet ingredients
2 egg yolks
1 1 /2 cups milk
1 pear, like a packham, chopped roughly
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

2 egg whites

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, set aside for a moment.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks.

Stick blend the wet ingredients, then pour that into the flour bowl, mix really well. Then gently fold the egg whites through. Use immediately, so you don't loose all the air bubbles.

Heat a pan with a little butter and fry the pancakes.

I served mine with fresh figs, pears, Greek yoghurt, maple syrup, walnuts and a light dusting of cinnamon.


I don't like pancakes that are dripping in syrup, but I do like a little. If I order it in a cafe, I always ask for it to be served on the side. But thankfully, most don't do that anymore!





Thursday, May 16, 2013

Salmon With A Warm Chickpea & Brussel Salad




I have a great love of Middle Eastern food. I have had this for as long as I can remember. I was eating hummus as a kid, people re: other kids, were always making fun of me cause of it. My how things have changed now. 

I live in an area that you could only describe as quite heavily populated by Arabic and European people. Turkish, Lebanese, Greek and Jewish food feature heavily, and you know what I fricken LOVE it. Their food is amazing. I should know, my mother is a Ruski, and my father Greek.

I was a little apprehensive at first about living here, ashamed to say because of this, but now not knowing what in the world I feared in the first place! It was all the years of being brought up in the Eastern suburbs. It is very very sheltered, and not in a good way. It makes you hate what you fear, or what you don't understand. RIDICULOUS! Its not a good thing to breed this in children, it makes them hate when they are adults. Anyway I could go on and on, this is something I'm very passionate about.

I have always got sumac, and other "exotic if you will" spices etc on hand. Lucky enough to buy it so fresh, it tastes so different to the Woolies variety. I love to throw them into everything. The lovely tang sumac lends to dishes is delightful.

This dish came about from my love of Middle Eastern food, as well as a MAJOR love of brussel sprouts. Brussels are so polarizing. I don't get it, I adore these little babies so much, I'm trying to grow my own ATM. I was so happy the night I saw little G enjoying them as much as her Mummy does!

Serves 2

2 pieces fresh Salmon

1/2 red onion
2 garlic
4 large mushrooms

1/2 glass wine

1 tablespoon sumac
pinch cumin
1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1 can chickpeas rinsed and washed, or use dried
brussel sprouts
1/2-1 lemon juice, I used a whole lemon
bunch herbs, I used coriander and parsley

tahini sauce to serve

I use my stick blender to make the tahini sauce, and I don't add garlic. But you can add a small amount if you wish. I prefer it without cause I like to have it in sandwiches etc.

Meanwhile start cooking the salmon to your perference, I like it fried, still slightly pink with this dish. In the time that this has finished cooking, the salad will be ready!

For the salad, start by frying the onion and garlic in olive oil, gently until it has softened, this takes about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and let them sweat and colour slightly. Then add everything else, except the lemon juice and fresh herbs.

Cook this to your preference. You might like the sprouts slightly crunchy or cooked through. Then add the lemon juice and fresh herbs. Cook for a minute or two, at this point you can add a knob of butter to create a bit of a sauce. Serve it up!


Modern Arabic:
(bil-hanā' wa ash-shifā') بالهناء والشفاء / بالهنا والشفا
may you have your meal with gladness and health







Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sweets For My Sweet AKA Gooey Brownies




I have possibly an indecent love of Jamie Oliver, well not really the man, but the food! This man makes the kinda food I love! But let's face it I love all kinds of food!

Now I am loving the "new" series 15 minute meals, but Im not the biggest fan of anything low fat. I dont care about calories and whatnot. I only want to make fresh and healthy food for myself and my family. And that doesn't include anything low fat *gasp*

This brownie is from his 30 Minute Meals series. Seriously adapted. Less butter, and NO sugar. It still tastes amazing, trust me...Im a chocoholic. I really am, I prefer to eat the good stuff and savour it, you know? The darker the better.

The husband spends a lot of time away now. I am slowly getting used to not having him around all the time. Its not the ideal situtaion, but you have to soldier on. Otherwise you get lonely. So very very lonely. No matter how many people you have around you, its not your partner. Its not the same.

Does his absence make the heart grow fonder?.... Possibly?

Does it make me love him more?.... Maybe?

I hope this all happens for the greater good, cause i'm sick of being on my own.

When he is going to be home, I love nothing more than spoiling him with food, "how very 1950's of me" you say! I know and I LOVE IT! This is who I am. I relish looking after my family, the cooking and cleaning. This is my job. This is what I do. I take pleasure in doing it, and doing it well.

I am not perfect by any means, the house can be tragic and feral sometimes. But really who cares when you are having so much fun!

I'm no Martha Stewart, I don't sew, iron (I'm sure they make you do this in HELL) or fashion clothes out of curtains, or any curtains for that matter, but I can clean and cook!

These brownies make everything better. They hide the fact I haven't ironed my husbands work shirts....EVER. The smell alone makes most very happy. Imagine walking through the front door and having that smell smack you in the face.

Please feel free to adorne this beauty however you like. We like fruit and nuts. And it is mandatory that you lick the bowl and spoon! 

Makes 8-12

ingredients
200 grams dark chocolate
180 grams butter
6 tablespoons cocoa
4 tablespoons self raising flour
4 eggs
pinch of salt
and up to 200 grams sugar, I don't add any. YEP NONE!
berries, chocolates and/or nuts, whatever and however much you wish to add.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Melt the butter, then add the chocolate to melt that gently.

Mix all the ingredients together, no need to sift and be precious, this is why I love baking it. Then pour into a baking paper lined brownie tin. I have a small rectangular tin, not square. So you will have to bake a little longer if you own a square tin.

Bake in 200C oven for 12-14 minutes.

They come out gooey/soft in the middle, just the way we like them. They also continue to cook in the pan slightly.


Also I always use a dark eating chocolate with about 40% cocoa solids, like Lindt or Nestle. I never bother with cooking chocolates. I find that this is sweet enough for us without adding extra sugar. But in saying that, we don't like anything too sweet, and have been eating like this for a while. 
I would rather enjoy a little sweet every now and then, than quit sugar forever. I find this silly. Very very silly... 




Friday, February 15, 2013

My Heart Is Aching

Yesterday was Valentines Day. You either love or hate this day, I'm on the love side. I love the love. But I hate the flowers and dinners etc, blergh! I like to remind my husband that I love him, and how much he means to me.

Normally i would be baking something sweet and making a favourite dinner.

See I had an appointment with an OB. I was....am....was pregnant.

I was hoping it was going to be an extra special, mushy, lovely day with the thought a little baby bean was growing in me. I was mentally preparing who I was going to tell everyone the wonderful news.

I has not been a fun pregnancy to say the least. I have had spotting through out. This worried me greatly, so off I went to have an ultrasound scan when I was about 5-6 weeks along. Everything seemed fine. There was even a faint little heartbeat. We could see it. A-fricken-mazing. This helped to reassure me a little that it wasn't a miscarriage. It was a bleed on the outside of my uterus, not anything that could cause a miscarriage.

I continued my days, feeling very sick, which is a wonderful positive sign of a strong healthy, viable pregnancy.

I had cravings. Not to mention many thing's that repulsed me at the thought, let alone smell of them!
I had the morning/all day sickness.
I felt pregnant, I looked pregnant, I was showing! JOY!!

Then yesterday I had my first appointment with an OB. I couldn't wait to see the little one again. But something was stopping me from being happy and excited about this pregnancy. It was a feeling I had for a few days that something wasn't right.

I went for my ultrasound. It looked the same. I knew straight away something was wrong. I could tell even before the technician said anything to me, it was bad. It should of been bigger, there should of been a heartbeat. I felt sick, and started to cry. The poor woman doing the scan. Anyway she wanted to do an internal to make sure.

Nope still nothing. The baby died sometime between scans. I couldn't stop crying.

I'm normally a very private person, the reason I talk about my miscarriages, is cause I think not enough women do. 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage, and not just one!

Back upstairs we went to the lovely OB. We discussed what the plan was. I was going to wait in hope that my body will miscarry the baby without medical intervention. He has given me 2 weeks. There is nothing medically wrong with me. Nothing to explain why this keeps happening to me.
All i had running through my head was "fuck, not again, I can't fucking do this again!"

This is the fourth time now. I could have 4 kids with the 5th on the way! Oh my, I wish I would love to be surrounded by kids. I love being a mother, its the best thing I've ever done, and I'm damn good at it. I make no apologies for that.

I'm sitting in my kitchen, writing this post, actually not sure if Ill hit publish, its so painful so raw still.

Looking outside at the rain, trying to type through just as many tears. Sitting and waiting for a miscarriage to happen, the bleeding the pain, all the while looking at my tiny little belly.

I hope this encourages women to talk about their pain of miscarriage more and more. We shouldn't have to be silent about it. We need to talk, write or whatever about it.

I went for a walk with my husband in Parramatta Mall. I wanted to be around people, lots of people. I love life, and wanted to feel part of something for a little while. We went and had a coffee at Three Ropes, and also had a bite to eat. I remember thinking, as I was leaning against the wall, watching people rushing through the lane way talking my time sipping my coffee, why is this happening again? What did I do? Why do other people, who don't seem to care have so many kids? Why can't I? Most importantly, I couldn't wait to go see my girl for a big hug. I needed it.

I won't be trying for anymore kids now. I'm done. My heart has no more room for heartache. I want to be able to be strong for my daughter, not to let her see me cry, or be scared like I am of whats to come. I feel sick thinking about whats going to happen. But I know Ill get through it, I always do. Its not true, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I'm broken, beyond repair.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Banana Coconut Scones

Scones. There is something about scones that I find calming and soothing.

Maybe it's cause I enjoyed my first scones with my mother, we went to a cafe in the city, I don't remember which one, but ill never forget it. I think it was in Centrepoint Tower a cafe over looking the beautiful city of Sydney. I will always remember having a Devonshire tea with mum when I was about 10 maybe? I felt like such a lady. Ladies had tea and scones with jam and cream. It was such an elegant and delicate way to enjoy an afternoon tea.

The scones actually were not very good. They seemed heated in the microwave, not super fresh, served with a super sweet jam in a dish, and what seemed like cream from a can! That's not the point. It was the whole act of being so grown up and sitting with mum, watching all the people hustling around the town, always in a rush!

I would love to say people were so well dressed, it was the 80's everything was done in excess. There were major shoulder pads and hideous printed tent dresses and terrible suits in terrible colours, far too much green! But to me at the time, they were so beautiful and fashionable. I couldn't wait to be one of them!

I love my always colourful Sydney. I can still smell the food, coffee, cigarettes, and expensive perfume mixed with hairspray.

Ingredients

2 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 small very ripe bananas
200 ml coconut cream
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar, I didn't add any, I found the banana sweet enough
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method.
Preheat oven to 210C fan forced.

Put all the ingredients into a food processor. Mix until it just comes together. Add more flour or milk if needed. It'll depend on the bananas.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench. Very quickly and lightly, knead until the dough comes together and you can shape into scones, should only take a minute or two.

Roll into balls and place them on a lined tray.
I rolled mine into 8 pieces. If you want smaller ones roll into 12 or even 16 for bite size. I like them to be a good handful, as I'm always sharing my food with a toddler anyway :P

Brush the tops with a little milk.
Bake them in a very hot oven for about 15-18 minutes. I baked mine for 18 I like the darker colour and crunch.








Friday, January 18, 2013

How Do You Stop Others From Feeding Your Kid?



How to stop others from feeding your kid?....If only I knew cause this is absolute pet HATE!

Maybe if I had a kid that didn't eat, I wouldn't mind so much. But my little G eats, and when I say she eats, she eats very well. She loves her food, always asking for "more!" To the point that some people have dubbed her Oliver, cause all she says is "more, more MORE!" She would eat till she explodes! She really doesn't stop eating unless there is a far more exciting option. Balloons, other children etc.

I go out of my way to prepare, balanced and healthy meals for her. I love doing this for my whole family. I really do. It's something I get a kick out of. I love seeing G's face light up trying something new. Eating freshly made tofu and sushi or falafel and hummus, all sorts of foods and cultures. She has very rarely said no to anything except meat. She likes meat, but not a lot of it. Yes we eat a lot of vegetarian foods, which she prefers and enjoys more.

This is why I suppose it gets to me that people, family, friends and even strangers, try to give her junk food rubbish. Don't get me wrong, I want my daughter to experience all sorts of foods, even chocolate. But I would like to be the one to give her this, I can control how much she is given. Or at least PLEASE ask me if she can eat it! My biggest disappointment are friends and family. They should support me in my choice's. Choosing to feed my child so healthy most of the time is MY CHOICE. I don't need negative comments, or weird looks because I ask people not to give her this stuff. They look at her, like oh you poor thing, your mother is sooooo controlling, but this is not the case. She has most likely just enjoyed a freshly baked pear and raspberry bread at home, or a fruit and spinach smoothie, or  a softly boiled egg with soldiers, or freshly cut fruit salad with yoghurt and muesli. My kid eats really well.

They funny thing is I think I'm looking after my child by making sure she doesn't eat much junk. I've seen kids have packet chips for breakfast for God's sake! This makes me so upset and angry!!! At least give them a yoghurt if you need packet convenience. Or something similar. I realise I'm criticizing these people, the exact thing I hate people doing to me, but I feel like I need to stand up for all the mums that bother to do these things for their children. We are being made out to be the bad guys. I'm sick of going to a children's playgroups, and the only food that I see some kids have is junk! Lollies, chips, chocolates etc, it makes me sick. I need to find a group of adults that enjoy feeding their kids well, and are happy for it, and don't look at it like it is SUCH A CHORE!

This week had been full of such battles, she has been given, without hesitation, biscuits, chocolate, lollies and extra helpings of food, mostly cause she is asking for it "more, more MORE!" People think she is cute, I know she is, but this is no excuse for a nurse in a doctors surgery to offer her a snake, true story this happened a few days ago, of all places....

I am no where near perfect, she has all sorts of food. I just like to limit it a little, if she wants to try chips, she can but just a few... Or a little tiny bit of chocolate. Or the occasional gelato, if I know what its made from etc. I hope I'm helping her to already understand the joy of food. I adore food, but I think the problem with most people is there are no limits. Even for their kids. Do what you like with YOUR child, but don't hand mine a cookie, unless either of her parents say it's ok...



What do you do? Do you simply tell them please don't feed my child? Or do you turn a blind eye and let them enjoy whatever they want? within reason or coarse.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lentil & Spinach Sausage Rolls







I love nothing more than baking. Well besides my family of coarse!

I also love nothing more than having either leftovers, or food to freeze for another day, when I can't be bothered to cook.

These rolls are so tasty and very filling! My family and I think they are much more filling than any meat variety I have made. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 brown onion
1-2 garlic
2 cups dry green lentils
2-3 tomatoes, or a can of whole
2 big handfuls of baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons beef style stock powder I always use a vegetarian one, Massel
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 sprigs vietnamese mint or coriander, roughly chopped
4 sprigs mint, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
chilli, fresh or powder optional

3 flaky pastry sheets

beaten egg

Method
Cook lentils as per instructions. Puree the lentils and set them aside to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Place the onions & garlic in a food processor, and pulse until very fine. Fry this mixture in a little olive oil until it gets very little colour.

Pulse the tomatoes add to the onion, keep frying. Then add everything else except the lentils. Keep frying only until the spinach has wilted enough. Then throw all this into the lentils and mix very well. I put on gloves and mix with my hands.

Cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares. Fill with a tube of lentil mixture and roll upwards. Close the roll with a little brushed egg. Brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with either sesame or poppy seeds. They seem small, but they`will puff up when baking.

Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. They will turn a lovely golden brown.

Delicious served with Tahini sauce.