Bowl Full of Love: Coconut Quinoa Porridge with Cranberry, Pomegranate & Nuts

Usually on a weekend, when we aren’t held up with a billion things to do and places to go, I like to get creative in the kitchen and make something extra special for my husband for breakfast. I guess it’s my way of saying thank you for all that he does for me, after all food is love right?

This dish is filled with love and is the perfect winter breakfast, it’s warm, full of protein to keep you full and not to mention a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants to help fight off the winter blues.

So go on and share the love!

Love Wifey xx

 

Coconut Quinoa Porridge with Cranberry, Pomegranate & Nuts

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa flakes

1 cup almond milk

scoop of vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup shredded/desiccated coconut plus some for sprinkling

sprinkle of cinnamon

handful of dried cranberries

1/2 pomegranate

handful of pistachios roughly chopped

handful of flaked almonds

 

Method (Serves 2)

  1. In a saucepan on a medium heat, combine the quinoa flakes and almond milk and gently cook stirring frequently for approximately 3 minutes until a porridge consistency is achieved.
  2. Remove from heat, add protein powder, coconut, cinnamon and stir through.
  3. Divide the porridge into two bowls and top with a sprinkle of coconut, flaked almonds, cranberries, pomegranate kernels and pistachio.

 

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Moussaka with Cashew Cream Béchamel

What’s that? Moose kaka???

Ok, ok I will stop channelling those hilarious mum jokes! This recipe is one of my favourites. As a child it was a staple dish in our household, Mum would make this recipe layering the delicious meat and vegetable filling (without the tomato passata, as Dad would get reflux from tomatoes) with potatoes. Being a vegetable lover, I decided to give Mum’s delicious recipe a revamp and pack it full of veggies and like a traditional Greek moussaka (as my husband would remind me) top it with a creamy béchamel sauce (well in this case a cashew cream béchamel, a bit more friendly on the tummy!).

Whilst I was making this I was thinking you could hide lots of veggies in the filling if you wanted to really bulk it up with vegetable goodness! Have a play with different types of vegetable layers like kohlrabi, turnips or celeriac! Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed!

Love Wifey xx

 

Moussaka 

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 capsicum, diced

1 large carrot, diced 

1 tbspn of tomato paste

1 tspn coarsely ground black pepper

700g-800g beef mince

2 tsps paprika

pink Himalayan crystal salt to taste

vege-spice to taste

700ml Passata (or you could use tinned crushed tomatoes or ripe tomatoes diced)

1/2 cup brown rice

thinly sliced vegetables for layering (e.g. zucchini, eggplant, sweet potato, potato)

 Cashew Cream Béchamel 

2 cups cashews

1 cup water

juice of 1 lemon

pinch of pink Himalayan crystal salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degree celsius.
  2. Soak cashew nuts in a bowl covered with water for at least 1hr.
  3. Slice your layering vegetables (I used sweet potato, zucchini and eggplant) and set aside on a paper towel to dry.
  4. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté onions and garlic until they soften. Then add capsicum and carrots, continue to cook until soft.
  5. Add the tomato paste and season with paprika, salt, pepper and vege-spice. Once the veggies are soft you can use a Bamix to puree, this is a personal choice, I quite like my veggies chunky.
  6. Whilst the vegetables are softening, drain the cashew nuts and place in a food processor with 1 cup of water, lemon juice and salt. Blend until you get a very smooth creamy mixture and set aside.
  7. Add the mince and rice to your veggie mixture and stir until browned. Stir in the passata. Take off the heat.
  8. Place a layer of sliced vegetables (use one type of vegetable at a time) at the bottom of a baking dish, lightly salt and pour some of the filling on top.
  9. Continue to layer the vegetables and filling until you finish with a layer of the filling on top.
  10. Top with the béchamel and cover the baking dish.
  11. Bake for approximately 30-45mins or until the vegetables are just tender.
  12. Remove the cover and bake further allowing the béchamel to brown.
  13. Serve with a side of salad and enjoy!

Got Milk? – Breastfeeding, Boobies & Cookies

Raising your first child as many would know is a great big journey into the unknown. There are of course pre-natal classes that are great at providing you with lots of information regarding health during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding etc and it’s fantastic that we have these resources available. However, it can feel quite overwhelming getting all of this information at a stage where you’re shitting your pants and thinking how am I even going to get through childbirth and why the hell would I need to start thinking about breastfeeding now?

The truth is, I didn’t really give breastfeeding much thought. I had heard from many mums that it wasn’t easy and me being naive thought surely childbirth is harder… Boy, I was wrong. Thankfully, like my birthing experience, I went into breastfeeding with an open mind, “que sera sera” was pretty much my motto and I was determined to give breastfeeding a go for as long as I could and if it didn’t work I was going to accept it and not get upset about it. I’m not sure if it was the circulation of post-natal hormones, but I wasn’t prepared for how upset I would be when I wasn’t able to breastfeed. But looking back I realise that I really didn’t need to be upset. I’m not less of woman or a bad mother just because I couldn’t continue breastfeeding my son. It just wasn’t going to happen for me and unfortunately I was already behind the eight ball before I even started.

There were several factors that prevented me from successfully breastfeeding and they were all out of my control. The first was missing the all important unlimited skin-to-skin contact and the first breastfeed. I was rushed to theatre almost immediately post birth, meaning my son was also immediately introduced to the bottle. I had severe postpartum haemorrhaging which delayed my milk supply from coming through and my son had a mild tongue tie that prevented him from being able to latch on and stay on.

Being determined to give breastfeeding a real go I did plenty of research, used lots of resources and tried LOTS of different things. The hospital was a great support and my advice to all new mums is don’t be afraid to use the resources that are provided to you, because you’re not alone and you don’t have to do it on your own. Breastfeeding is really hard work. A great source of information was the Australian Breastfeeding Association website they have great fact sheets and loads of helpful FAQs like where to hire a breast pump or breastfeeding classes. My local maternal and child healthcare nurses were also extremely helpful and offered great advice and tips. But a real big help for me was attending the breastfeeding clinic at the hospital. I spent a whole day with a lactation consultant to demonstrate how my son was breastfeeding. We tried lots of different tricks and I got lots of helpful hints and advice. The greatest piece of advice I received was to eat lactation cookies (see my recipe below) to help increase my milk supply and they did work! But unfortunately my son’s tongue tie, which we picked up with the maternal child healthcare nurse and lactation consultant, made it  really difficult for him to even latch on.

Whilst waiting to see the paediatrician to review the tongue tie, I decided the best thing to do was to just be relaxed as I could and rather than making every feeding session traumatic for the both of us, I just offered the breast if he was feeling up for it and expressed 8 times a day. This was really tiring and challenging but I persisted  for 2 months and even after snipping his tongue tie, which improved his ability to suck, his interest in feeding from the breast just wasn’t there. The bottle which he had known from the beginning was just far easier than working for it!

I won’t lie I felt really bad and ashamed that I stopped breastfeeding, but how could I continue when I got upset every time? I felt like a big let down and it was at this point I knew I had to stop, it just wasn’t working for me. It took a while for me to convince myself that I wasn’t letting anyone down and I can see now the best decision I made was to stop breastfeeding. A big weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

So to the mums out there who might be sitting there reading this, doing it tough and struggling it out, you’re doing a great job. Remember you’re not alone, use all the resources available to you and talk to someone. Everybody’s experience with breastfeeding is different and keeping your sanity is just as important for you as it is for your baby. But most of all, do what works for you and don’t feel bad about it, you’re already a star in the eyes of your baby.

 

Love Wifey xx

 

Boobie Cookies

The key ingredients in this recipe for aiding milk supply are oats and brewer’s yeast. Oats contain loads of iron which is important in maintaining a healthy milk supply and immune system. Brewer’s yeast also contains loads of iron but also lots of protein and phytoestrogens which is thought to be the main reason why it works so good for increasing milk supply. If you don’t like chocolate chip you can substitute with other flavours such as pistachio and dried cranberries or almonds and incaberries.

 

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour

5 tbsp brewer’s yeast

3 tbsp ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp shredded coconut

1 tsp chia seeds

230g dark chocolate chips

pinch of pink himalayan crystal salt

180g butter

4 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk

1 vanilla bean (split and seeds scraped) or alternatively you can use vanilla bean extract/paste

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.
  2. Mix oats, spelt flour, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, shredded coconut and chia seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl using an electric mixer, begin to beat the butter and coconut oil on a medium speed, then slowly add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the egg, egg yolk  and vanilla until throughly combined.
  5. On a low speed begin to add the dry mixture little by little until combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips to the mixture using a spatula.
  7. Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop balls of mixture and place on the lined baking tray approximately 5cm apart and flatten the balls slightly with your fingers to make more of a disc shape but don’t completely flatten them, you want them to be fairly thick.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool and store them in an airtight container.

 

This recipe makes about 20 cookies.

Protein Power Pancakes

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to cook and right up until the birth of our little baby I was spending my pre-natal days cooking up a storm. As my cooking spree was temporarily put on hold post-baby, you can imagine my excitement when I finally had the energy and opportunity to get back in the kitchen.

Five weeks post-natal and what a beautiful day it had been in Melbourne, the sun was shining and baby was sound asleep after his early morning feed. I felt like it had been eternity since I was feeling semi-normal again and decided it would be a great day to get back into the kitchen. Having woken up with a craving for pancakes but not the guilt that’s associated, I whipped up these babies, ticking all the boxes for a yummy & nutritious breakfast. These not only make a delicious breakfast but they also make a great snack to suppress those mid morning or late afternoon sweet cravings. I often like to make a big batch storing them in an airtight container in the fridge and then popping them in the toaster when I’m ready to eat! There are a few flavour variations you can try but I am a plain Jane and love vanilla!

So without further ado I present to you my Protein Power Pancake recipe, enjoy!

Love Wifey xx

Ingredients

1/4 cup spelt or GF flour

1/4 cup LSA (if you can’t find LSA use any other nut meal like almond meal)

2 tbsp desiccated/shredded coconut

2 scoops of protein powder (you can have fun with this, I like to use Amazonia RAW protein powder in vanilla or cacao & coconut)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp chia seeds

2 eggs

1/3 cup of milk/milk alternative

pinch of pink himalayan rock salt

 

Method 

  1. Mix all dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Add eggs and milk and mix well. If you need to, add more milk or LSA to get it to a good consistency, you obviously don’t want it to be too runny!
  3. Heat a non-stick pancake pan on medium flame and pour approximately 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the hot pan (the pancakes should only be pikelet size).
  4. Once the mixture starts to bubble flip your pancake over for about a 1-2mintues.
  5. Top your pancakes with anything you like or just eat them plain! I like to top with banana and honey or fresh berries and shredded coconut!

Serves 4 (makes about 12 pancakes)

 

 

I was strong that day

So It’s been a little while since my last post…(a year to be exact) and a lot has happened since. Reflecting back, it’s amazing what can happen in a year, how your life can be turned around and the person that you are now couldn’t even be imaginable a year ago.

In just over a year I have become a wife and now a mother. On the 18th of May this year, my husband and I were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Motherhood isn’t easy, we all know it isn’t easy, but until it is experienced the degree of difficulty really isn’t known.

For me pregnancy was a really enjoyable experience, a new and humbling experience. It made me realise what an amazing machine the human body really is. The transformation that happens to a woman’s body to support and nurture delicate little cells into a human life is just surreal.

But oh boy, I really could not imagine or begin to understand the strength and ability of my body during the birthing process. I won’t lie, it was painful…indescribably painful, but WOW – what a divine experience, an experience leaving me empowered as a woman. It’s true what they say, you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have and that day I was strong. That day my husband was strong, with his encouragement, support and love I was able to conquer my greatest fears and believe in myself.

After five and a half hours of labour we finally got to meet our beautiful little angel and almost instantaneously the pain and the life I knew didn’t even matter. Everything was perfect just how it was.

Unfortunately, that moment didn’t last very long, after the delivery of the placenta I suffered major complications. A real whirlwind of emotions suddenly overcame me. It was a bitter sweet moment… I had just had the most amazing experience, the best in my life and suddenly everything felt like it was being ripped away. Having to say goodbye to my husband and my newborn son knowing in the back of my mind that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t return was the hardest. But I was strong that day.

Thirty-six hours bedridden in ICU gave me a lot of time to think. To think how lucky I was to have a loving and supportive husband, a beautiful son, family and friends. How lucky I was to feel the air in my lungs and the beat of my heart. How lucky I was to be alive.

 

 

 

 

Lesson #1 – “Men don’t think…”

“I’m so angry!! I bet he hasn’t even brought the washing in!”

“Did you ask him to?”

“No.”

“Then how would he know if you didn’t tell him to bring the washing in!”

If I got a dollar for the amount of times this conversation has been played out, I think I’d be rich! How many times have you heard this? “I can’t believe he didn’t think of…fill this space”. Has this happened to you? It’s happened to me trillions of times before, but after receiving free relationship advice from my patients that have been in happy marriages for over 50 years, one particular piece of advice that has helped me deal with this scenario has stuck with me…

Men don’t think…like women.

Women think (maybe too much), expect and assume. In our mind, we create perfect scenarios with perfect endings and when things don’t turn out that way we are disappointed, angry and hurt. We take it out on our boyfriends, fiancés and husbands without realising how unreasonable we can be.

However, there is a solution to the headaches we inflict on our partners and ourselves and it’s simple. Take a step back and think…How would you feel if the roles were reversed and you were on the receiving end of your expectations and assumptions? Try to understand their way of thinking, their logic. Remember, no one is perfect, we’re human… not mind readers.

Give it a go, train your mind into dropping those perfect scenarios and replace your assumptions with the ability to communicate with your partner. If you need help… simply ASK for it. If you’re worried/upset/angry about something…TALK about it. It’s amazing how so many misunderstandings can be cleared up with a little chat.

It’s as simple and as complex as that.

Day One

After 12 months of preparation, the best day of my life was over…just like that. For any of you ladies that are married, you know what I mean, and for those of you that don’t, well you will understand when your day is here. All the stress, drama and fuss that you go through, literally vanishes overnight.

In the lead up to the wedding everyone would say, “take in every moment and be present, it goes so fast”, but it’s not until the day arrives that you truly understand the meaning. The day DOES go fast, it’s an incredible experience that really is indescribable.

There is such a whirlwind of emotions. Like a dream, you see people, but the faces are almost unrecognizable, except for that one face that is so clear, your husband. That’s the only way I think I can describe that day, my husband’s face and this incredibly elated feeling of love and happiness for his face. And you know what…through all the craziness, to have that feeling at the end is everything. Love.