Tuesday, 15 April 2014

:: an update, a recipe, and life lately ::


Thought it was about time I checked in to my poor neglected blog again, before it becomes a whole month! 

So I've had a busy few weeks. Cooking, eating, studying, packing, camping, washing, learning, driving, working, and cooking, and eating (yes, again), expressing and more working. I've actually gone and decided to become a Thermomix consultant! 

It's been really fun & exciting! I've had my Thermomix 2 years, and wasn't really planning on selling them. But seeing so many people buy them simply because I won't stop banging on about them, made me think. Just from seeing how the Thermomix has changed my eating habits, my ability to produce quality healthy meals fast, and the difference it's made to our weekly grocery spend, I really want to see these things become a reality for my friends and.... everyone! The options are limitless, and the savings start the moment it's in your kitchen.

So currently I'm on a 60 day rampage.... the goal is as-many-demonstrations-as-possible, and a few sales would perk me up as well. ;) It's been fun packing up my machine and popping along to cook other people dinner a few nights a week (we do 5 dishes in 90 mins), seeing their reactions and answering their questions. When you're personally passionate about something, it makes it all so easy, doesn't it?

Jason has been so wonderful, looking after Willem up to 3 nights a week while I'm out dominating kitchens in my black apron. I am so grateful that he's supporting me 100% in this and confident in my abilities, even when I'm not so sure. It's also been fantastic bonding time for him and Willem. Willem tends to 'go for' me when there is a choice between the two of us. So that's been beneficial in itself.

Here's a little creation I whipped up today in about 20mins (including freezer time) with my good friend Ayla. Raw "oreos"! Such a yummy little raw delight with no sugar, gluten, dairy, etc!

Recipe >> here <<.

So my apologies for the lack of posting. I'm putting up regular updates on my new Thermomix Facebook page though, so head over there if you want to see what's going on in my kitchen! It's called "Thermoments".



Sunday, 23 March 2014

:: Mr Willem at 12 months::




Ahhh, my baby is one!

Fastest year ever. But one of the most fun, and least regrettable!

Willem

Age: Numero Uno!! 12 months! 1 year! 
Favourite food: Cubes of roasted eggplant, and zucchini! Loves 'em.
New tricks: Pointing at evvvvverything. And grunting.
Words: I reckon I can safely say "duck" is in there now. No other words but is a lot better at communicating in general (pointing to what he wants, making it very clear when he's had enough food, etc).
Mobility: Crawling & furniture walking still only.
Sleeping: He's slept through the last 2 nights! Fingers crossed this is his "thank-you-for-raising-me" present??!
Teeth: 3 on the bottom (funny lop-sided look it gives him!), 4-ish on the top.


That's it, a year. I feel like I've been kind of sitting on alert, waiting for this day. If I had to give an answer 'why', it's probably something to do with the thought that once you get past one, you're out of the scary "little delicate baby" zone. The whole first year is all about keeping them alive and making sure they don't suffocate/get dropped/choke/eat tomato too early/are warm enough/etc. It's like I've finally passed the test and can relax a bit. Not really of course, but you get my drift.

I'm probably also relieved because his allergies have settled down a lot, and I'm able to have a wheat cracker, spoonful of icecream or bite of cake here and there without any reaction on Willem's part. It just makes life that little bit easier, and I don't have to go without when a label has "wheat starch" as the last ingredient. I also managed to breastfeed for a year, which I was really hoping to be able to do! The type of formula he would have had to have (with his sensitivities) was just full of so many synthetic nasties.

Willem is so precious to us and has such a beautiful nature. It's exciting seeing him remember things that we've taught him and realizing the extreme influence (honour!) we have. Being a parent is something that you can never really prepare yourself for, but when you become one - you're ready. There is no greater responsibility than protecting & loving a mini human in readiness to make a difference in this world. Looking forward to meeting the other little people God has lined up to gift us with (in His timing).

(Note: This will be the last time I set up the grey blanket and do the whole "stay there" bizzo. It's now a near impossible task!)



{ below: love this one... look at his little feet }










So much love for you!!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

:: raw mango cheesecake ::


Raw cheesecakes are so much fun. For one, they are dead easy to make. You just put the ingredients for each layer in your Thermomix or high-powdered blender and whizz, the pour! There's no gelatine to set, and there's no baking required. Just pop in the freezer.

I've made several in the past, but this was the first recipe I'd found with a very odd ingredient added. A whole, peeled zucchini! Apparently it gives an extra creaminess. 

Last night we made this, and it was deeeelish. I found the mango layer slightly icier than the cream layer (naturally) but all in all it was so yum. Even my brother-in-law raved about it, and he only eats junk food! And usually turns up his nose at anything that looks 'healthy' or doesn't have sugar in it. Needless to say, I didn't tell him about the zucchini, but I will! After he enjoys it a second time ;).

I used a different base to the one on the original recipe, plus tweaked it a bit. Below is exactly what I did.


Raw Mango Cheesecake 

{vegan, dairy-free, sugar-free, egg-free, gluten-free}

Base
1 1/2 cups almonds
1 cup medjool dates (soaked briefly in hot water if kept in the fridge)
1/2 cup shredded/dessicated coconut
1/2 teas vanilla
pinch of salt
Middle
2 cup raw cashews (soaked for 2+ hrs and drained)
1 cup zucchini, peeled and chopped
Juice of one lemon/lime
2 TBS coconut oil
1/3 cup rice malt syrup

1 heaped teaspoon of stevia
2 teas vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Top
1 heaping cup mango, chopped (use ripe mangoes)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Method:
Base
1. In a Thermomix/food processor/high-powered blender, combine all ingredients (drain the dates first) until sticky and a good texture to be able to press into the base of a lined spring-form pan. 
2. Press into pan and pop in freezer while you make the filling.
Middle
1. Blend all ingredients till smooth.
2. Pour slightly more than ½ of the mixture into the cake tin and let it set back in the freezer for another 45 min – 1 hr.
Top
1. Add mangoes and turmeric to the remaining mixture in your blender’s container. Blend till smooth. Don’t worry you won’t taste the turmeric (won’t that be weird!), it’s basically a natural yellow food colouring.
2. Pour the mango layer into the cake tin and let the cake set in the freezer for at least 5 hours, preferrably overnight.


Make sure you take out of the freezer 20-30 mins before you want to serve it so it can soften! xx

Saturday, 1 March 2014

:: Mr Willem at 11 months ::


Willem
 
Age: 11 months
Favourite food: Really loves feeding himself little cubes of homemade buckwheat-chia-quinoa bread.
New tricks: 1) Waving & saying "wah-wah"(bye-bye). 2) Crawling up stairs.
Words: Dad & Mum, "wah-wah" (bye-bye), and attempts to say "duck".
Mobility: Crawling. Walking furniture.
Sleeping: 2 day time naps, though occasionally has one if we have to go out for the day. Bedtime around 7:30pm. Wakes 1-2 times per night.
Teeth: 5, and number 6 not far away.

We have just returned from 10 days in Tasmania which was lovely. It was Willem's 2nd flight and he cried most of the way there, but on the way home he was perfectly content to sit still and play. Poor bubba had a cold on our way there so most likely the pressure hurt his little eardrums.

It's been a fun month, and we are noticing a lot of little developments. He plays games like passing his dummy to me, I say "thank-you!" and pass it back to him (repeat x200). He sometimes grabs his spoon as I feed him dinner and guides it into his own mouth. Whenever someone mentions the word "bye" he starts waving. He also starts waving and saying 'bye' whenever we walk down the hall towards the front door. He loves ducks, birds, flies & dogs. It's so cute when we see a bird and he raises his two short arms towards the sky and grunts. Lots of little joys.

He's eating solids better since I've refused to feed him in the night. It makes sense that if I breastfeed during the night his appetite will decrease in the day. He also does a really good job of munching into a crisp apple, skin and all.

He had his allergy testing a few weeks ago, and came back positive to eggs & peanut the highest, then wheat, banana & dust mite. Soy & dairy didn't show up as an allergy, but they said that doesn't mean he's not sensitive to them. The prick test only shows up "instant reaction allergies" and not "delayed reaction allergies". But the specialist encouraged me to try reintroducing small amounts of soy & dairy again. So far soy has been ok, which is good to know (so I can have the occasional soy expresso when I'm out. I don't drink coffee at home). And small amounts of dairy have been ok too. I'm wary of overdoing it at the moment so my dairy intake consists of just 2 squares of chocolate now and then. It feels good to have the reins loosened just a bit. I'm to continue to avoid eggs and peanuts religiously though, until he is retested next year.

Can't believe he's almost one.



{ below: hello top and bottom toofies!}




Saturday, 15 February 2014

:: No-Spend March ::

Money is the biggest pain ever, agreed?! I hate the word & hate the dependency.

Our family already lives on a tight income, and we're in the habit of buying 2nd-hand where possible, sourcing cheaper groceries & making weekly deposits into our utility accounts to avoid ever receiving 'the bill'. But after a few unusual expenses lately, and a car upgrade, I'm feeling the urge to try that little bit harder and see if we can restore the savings account slightly. There's been too much double-dipping for my liking! 

So when I came across this "No-Spend Challenge" on the Living Well Spending Less Blog, I wanted to give it a shot. There is a day-by-day plan to get you through a whole month of spending zero on anything (except absolute necessities) and using what you have in your pantry and freezer. There is also a plan of attack for organising your pantry, and each room of the house (one day per room), so you get a bit of a spring clean out of the bargain as well! That got my attention ;).

So Jase and I are committing to the month of March, and although we probably won't see a massive amount of difference to our habits, I'm excited to get more organised, and hopefully find more innovative ways to keep the money in the bank and use what we have.

Anyone else want to join me?!