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More than Words



Food. Love. Life. Faith.



Updated: 2017-12-11T11:10:40.897+08:00

 



Hip Hip HooRay! It's Asher's Birthday and My blog moving day!

2014-07-24T06:52:00.391+08:00

I'm moving! After many years of being on this platform, I decided to take a plunge and move to my own website. Please follow me on my new journey on

www.wordsthatnourish.com

I will continue to keep this site but I will be posting on the new website from now on.

A little note: I choose this day to officially announce the move because 1 year ago today, I gave birth to our little miracle son. I'm not sure where all the time went but it has been a fabulous year. I thought it would be appropriate to commemorate the birth of my new site on the same day that my son was born as well.

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Mixed Berries Orange Tea Cake

2014-07-21T06:31:00.060+08:00


Once in a while you experiment and discover recipes that are worth keeping. This is one of them. Finding the balance between coconut flour and almond meal seems tricky at times but this cake just...takes the cake. It's very cake like and light to eat. Again, I serve it to friends who would not have guessed it's an no added refined sugar and certainly gluten free, and paleo cake. Hubby is also loving the citrus flavours. We love the citrus seller at our local farmers market. Oh, and for the first time, I used rice malt syrup just so that Asher gets to eat this too.

I really enjoy being at home and having the time to think about experimenting with different ingredients. Someone commented that I always seem to have a lot on my plate. I view it differently. I do like living life to the fullest- BUT I am also aware that there are some times that I need a little chill time as well. This is a lesson I have to learn.

It's what I think makes me who I am. A mum. An experimenter. A wife. And a whole lot of roles in between. However, I have to remind myself...

It's ok to have a cup of coffee and eat a slice of cake too!

Mixed Berries Orange Tea Cake 
1 cup of almond meal
1/2  cup of desiccated coconut
1/4 cup of coconut flour
juice of 1 whole orange
zest of 1 orange
4 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla paste
1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup or honey
3/4 cup of frozen berries
1 tsp of baking powder
pinch salt

flaked almonds to sprinkle

Preheat Oven to 180C. Line an 9inch cake tin with baking paper. Using a cake mixer, I whisked eggs, orange juice, zest, vanilla and rice malt syrup. Then I added all the dry ingredients. I fold in the berries last. Pour into the prepared tin, sprinkle flaked almonds and bake for 50 minutes.




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Lemon "Cheesecake" with Berry Topping

2014-07-17T06:17:00.203+08:00

I'm actually quite excited with this recipe. I made this for our wedding anniversary back in April (I know! Very late in posting this!) and it was a hit for hubby and myself.It is only recently that I am onto the band wagon of making raw desserts. It's just to increase my repertoire of creating desserts at home I guess. I love the idea of having a cheesecake without the heavy feeling in my tummy. There is NOTHING wrong with enjoying a cheesecake from time to time of course, but hey, if I could re create something at home that is healthy and nutritious, I'm in.This require a little planning with the soaking of cashews. It is a very nutrient dense recipe- and very high in calories as well with the amount of cashews in it. Still a treat food for sure.I am still using my trusty ken wood food processor but lately, been wondering if it is worth investing in a Vitamix or Thermomix? oh first world problems. Nevertheless, I have promise myself that I will not have another appliance unless one breaks down.As I'm typing this, I just remembered I have a few more slices in the freezer. Oopies! I guess I know what I'm having for dessert tonight.What do you use? Food processor? Thermomix? Or a high powered blender like Vitamix?Lemon "Cheesecake" with Berry Topping (12 servings)Base150 grams almond meal100 grams of desiccated coconut3 medjool dates soaked in water1 tsp vanillapinch salt"Cheesecake"500 grams of cashews soaked in water overnight1 cup of lemon juicezest of whole lemon1 tsp vanilla paste1 tablespoon of honey1/4 cup of coconut oil meltedBerry topping1 cup of berries1/4 cup water1 tsp honey1/4 tsp of gelatine powder (mix with 1 tablespoon of water)Make the base first.Blitz everything up till it comes together. Press into a 9 inch lined cake tin. Fridge it while you make the "cheesecake".Blitz all the ingredients together. Make sure it becomes like a smooth paste- not lumpy. Pour into base and freeze for around 30 mins to an hour.Place berry topping except gelatine into sauce pan. Cook till it becomes soft. Cool and add the gelatine mixture. Pour berry topping onto cheesecake topping and freeze for a further 3-4 hours.Defrost cake in fridge for 2 hours before serving.[...]



Ricotta Pancakes

2014-07-14T06:03:00.565+08:00



 On some long weekends, or a special week day when hubby works from home, I like to go "all out" and makes some waffles or pancakes. This was one of those days.
Growing up, I would have meals with my grandmother as my parents are often home late from work. It's a big treat to be able to sit at the dinning table with my whole family together!

One of the things we like to do is to have meals as a family.  With Asher, we try to do as many meals as we can on the weekends together. Eating out in cafes or dinners at home. Asher is growing up too quick now and is fast approaching the big 1 year milestone. His meals are also changing. I'm cooking more family meals and chopping it up for him.

Pancakes are of course a winner for a little boy (and with the bigger man too). He could hold it, squash it and stuff it in his mouth. Self feeding to the best. ;)

Ricotta Pancakes (Around 8-10 pancakes)
1.5 cups of Almond Meal
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp of cinnamon
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of almond milk

Whisk everything up together. Heat pan up and pour in a ladle of batter. Flip when bubbles appear.

I had mine with berries compote, some sliced bananas and a dollop of greek yogurt.


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The Best Banana Bread

2014-07-10T06:13:00.063+08:00




I am always in search for ideas for snacks and breakfasts for my two favourite boys. One of my favourite blogs Whole Food Simply always inspire me to make better baking goods for my family.

I did quite a few adaptations to suit us as usual. I have experimented a few times and I think this version came out the best. It's simple, and more importantly, full of protein, and nourishing. I used two dates- which is plenty of sweetness for us as bananas are full of natural sugars as well. I stayed with tahini as I like the slight bitterness to counteract the sweetness. I used crushed walnuts for that extra hit of antioxidants and texture. If you like, try adding a handful of cacao nibs- we love that chocolate-like crunch.

The other reason why I like this recipe is that it uses coconut flour. Coconut flour, I believe, is under rated. It's basically coconut dried into a flour format. It is very low in sugar but very high in fibre. I think the texture is quite different from normal flour and that's why many people shy away from using it. It is also very absorbent. I would say I would use 3 times the amount of liquid to the amount of flour I use (e.g 1/3 cup of coconut flour to 1 cup of coconut milk or almond milk). I would usual also use more eggs than normal.

This recipe though- the ratio works in harmony with each other. The texture is like what a banana bread should be. I gave it out a few times and the only negative I had was that I cut my slices too thin!

How do you like your banana bread? Thick cafe style slices or thin and crispy toasted?

Asher doesn't care of course. He gobbled it up!

The Best Banana Bread (12-14 slices Or 10)
4 medium size bananas
2 dates soaked in hot water
3 tablespoons of tahini or sunflower butter or nut butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1 heaped tsp of vanilla paste
1.5 tsp of bicarb soda
2 tsp of cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt

optional: handful of crushed walnuts, cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a bread loaf with baking paper. Put all ingredients in a food processor and bliz it. Pour into pan and bake it for around 35-40 minutes. (yup! It's that easy!!!)




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Coconut Celery Zucchini and Pea Soup

2014-07-07T06:52:00.893+08:00




We are well and truly in winter mode. Rugs are out and hot mugs of drinks. Every week, I like to schedule in a soup for dinner.

I made this for lunch though. My friend is expecting her first child and was heavily pregnant. I thought it would be love to have a girly chat with her before the baby arrives. She and I love to exchange ideas and recipes and we had lovely conversations about using simple and down to earth ingredients rather than processed items. We laughed about how her husband still prefers sweet desserts as that is how desserts should be in his mind, and how my husband has grown to have less of a sweet tooth over time.

I wanted to make something nourishing for her. A little like our friendship. Nourishing.

There is a green smoothie and then there is a green soup. This has celery, zucchini and peas. How much more green can it get? Oh hold on, it does have red onion in it so it's not totally green. Instead of heaviness of cream, I used coconut milk for that added richness.

I picked up these vegetables from our local farmers market. The freshness shone.

Yes, of course I made extra for dinner and lunch the next day. It's a perfect plan. Lunch with a  girlfriend and dinner already done. More time for Asher for the rest of the day.

Coconut Celery Zucchini and Pea Soup (serves 6)
1 full bunch of celery chopped
3 zucchini chopped
200 grams of organic frozen peas
2 tsp coconut oil
2 red onions sliced
2 tablespoons of garlic
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of ground ginger or fresh ginger minced
2 ltres of chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 tin of coconut milk

Saute onions and garlic in 2 tsp of coconut oil. Add all spices and cook till fragrant. Add all veges and cook till they are slightly soften. Add stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Blend with a hand blender. Strain if you like. Otherwise, reheat the blended soup with coconut milk. Serve with Coconut Bread or a grain free bread.


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Raw Almond Chocolate Fudge

2014-07-03T06:07:00.042+08:00



There are times where chocolate just hits a good spot. There are some pantry staples that I always stock up. The are almond butter, coconut oil, nuts and definitely chocolate.

An offer came up recently with Mayver's super spread nut butter. It's a mix of peanut, chia and almond. There were going for half price! What a treat. So I grabbed 2 bottles to give treats a go.

Mixing them up with some coconut oil and more nuts plus cacao powder, I placed it in the fridge and tadah, a protein enriched chocolate treat that is refined sugar free and good for us. They are freezer friendly as well which gives it a gorgeous crunch when you are ready to bite into them.

Raw Almond Chocolate Fudge (24 small pieces)
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of nut butter
1/3 cup of cacao powder
1 tsp of vanilla paste
1 tablespoon of honey
1/3 cup of silvered almonds

Beat or mix oil and butter together. Mix through vanilla, honey and cacao powder till smooth. Lastly add nuts. Pour into a lined brownie tray and freeze it for 2 hours. Slice and eat!

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Salted Almond Butter Ice Cream

2014-06-30T06:23:00.242+08:00

The other day, I came across this blog post. It struck a cord with me because from time to time, hubby and I discuss how our marriage changed since the arrival of Asher.  I'm a very lucky woman because I have the world's best hubby in so many ways. He is a hands on daddy, in love with me and is absolutely supportive in my fitness, health, work, family and food goals.That does not mean though that we do not struggle from time to time. Like most families, we can fall into a rut if we are not careful. Because of his early morning starts, more often than none, he gets easily tired. For me, I'm a perfectionist in some ways and like to make things "right". With our focus on Asher, it's easy to start the morning with a text message and we may not even have a decent chat till 2 days later!With tiredness and busyness means we say things we do not mean (or think), we forget appointments and neglected to check in with one another. It comes in with impatience and annoyance. I felt unappreciated, and he felt unheard. It could easily spiral into a downward mess.I'm writing this to remind myself that I'm very very lucky even though sometimes I don't feel that way. Because counting my blessings makes me realise that the world is not bleak. My husband isn't the world's most unthoughtful person or mean. He is a human and humans can tire and make mistakes. So this is my list to remind myself.1) He wakes up early every morning so that he can be with us earlier in the day2) He brushes his teeth in the guest's bathroom so he doesn't wake us up.3) He never complains with whatever I cook.4) He plays with Asher every single day. He change his nappies when needed and feed him most dinners.5) He budgets and make sure our household gets taken care of6) He says "I love you" daily to me7) I have been obese, skinny and pregnant and he stood by me8) He stayed close to me when Granny was seriously ill and passed on.9) He welcomed my family into our lives and even like them staying with us.10) He adored my granny and attempted/learned cantonese with her.11) Also attempted to speak mandarin to my dad12) Taste and eat every single dish I made and bake AND gave me honest thoughts.13) Never once did he complained about my gym schedule. He change his work schedule so I can head to the gym to have me time 4 times a week.14) Totally embraced eating clean.15) Does the laundry16) Remembers rubbish and bin collection days17) Trusts me completely with shopping and budgeting18) Always on the lookout for cheap flights19) Appears to know every city and transport system around the world.20) Cooks me breakfasts occasionally21) If I forget an ingredient in the midst of baking, he would go out and buy it straight away.22) Often think about our future23) Share our love for travelling24) Endure my occasional need to "get it right!" (and then having to taste countless tarts, ice cream or roasts)25) He is in love with Asher.26) Some evenings, make me a cup of chai tea with warmed up almond milk.27) Want to spend time with us. He doesn't stay long for work functions or meet up with friends for a beer at night.28) Always keep me updated on his work, what's been bothering him or finances29) Calms me down when I feel upset or panic.30) Pray with me and for us.I'm sure there are more and i'm sure I can add to it as time goes on.So for my hubby, this salted almond butter ice cream is for you. (Just because I know how much you love ice cream!)Salted Almond Butter Ice-Cream (serves 2)2 frozen bananas2 tablespoons of almond butterpinch of saltplace everything in a food processor and blitz till it becomes ice cream! Drizzle with your favourite topping.[...]



Coconut Milk Bread

2014-06-26T06:56:00.555+08:00




This was one of my experiments to make a "bread" to hold and dip into soup. We tend to avoid grains these days but still love the sensation and texture of something to dip into soups. As the winter season is well upon us, I thought I might read up and try making it up at home.

This recipe is from Spunky Coconut again. The biggest reason why I made this is because it has coconut and hubby loves coconut. It did not disappoint and it has a creamy texture to this loaf. It's not "bread like". It's more of a mix between a muffin and a denser cake. We had soup with a little coconut in it so it went really well. In fact, hubby enjoyed this so much that he had this for breakfast as well with some peanut butter!

Coconut Milk "Bread" (15 slices)
2 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup of coconut flour
2 tablespoons of phylum husk
1 tsp of baking soda
pinch of salt

1 and 1/4 cup of coconut milk
4 eggs
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp honey
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

Preheat Oven 180C. Line loaf pan with baking paper. In a mixer, add all dry ingredients and then wet. Spoon into loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.






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Leek and Spinach Tart

2014-06-23T06:36:00.044+08:00





This is one of my favourite "light meals" recipe. I spoke about Teresa Cutter before but honestly, this woman creates the best healthy clean recipes that are so nourishing for your body. I have made this tart a few times and even had it at my baby shower.


One of the reasons why I made this various times is because I have trouble removing tarts from tins. This version was one of the semi successful ones- but you can see it suffered some trauma. The filling is beautiful and the crust is so yummy though.

Some mistakes I made included
- Not oiling the tin enough
- Pressing the pastry too hard into the tin. Gentle pressing is sufficient.
-Not rolling the pastry evenly.
- Underbaking the crust.
- Using the wrong type of tart tin. I used the high wall type but found out that NOT all tins are created equal. Too thick a tin actually made it harder for the tart to be removed.

There was one week, that I was so frustrated, I made 3 tarts to prove that I can do it :x

Leek and Spinach Tart (Serves 10-12)
Crust
300 grams of Almond Meal
1 Cup of desiccated coconut or around 100grams
3 tablespoons of linseed
pinch salt
3 eggs

Filling
2 leeks
500 grams of spinach
500 grams of ricotta cheese
seasoning

Preheat Oven to 180C. Oil your tart tin VERY well. Blitz crust ingredients in the food processor. Roll pastry in between two pieces of baking paper and gently press it to the tin.

To make the filling, cook the leek with a little oil till soft. Add spinach till it wilts. Mix vegetables with ricotta and seasoning. Spoon into tart. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with rocket and balsamic vinegar.




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Chocolate Vanilla Slice

2014-06-19T06:21:00.465+08:00

I have my bad and good days. Some days, I really really miss my grandmother. Grief is a throbbing pain in your heart that doesn't seem to go away. It becomes slightly duller but it aches. The image of her smiling face, the twinkle in her eyes and her old fashioned styled hair with heaps of hair spray stays with me.Last year this time, there was so much excitement. I was heavily pregnant. My family was planning their big trip to stay with us for 12 weeks. An pending new arrival to the family brought a buzz. Who would have thought the past year would be filled with so many memories- both happy, troubled, happy and sad?We are planning Asher's first birthday and then it hit me that granny won't be here physically to celebrate with us. I'm holding on though, to the memories of our family waking up together and looking forward to seeing Asher in those early days when he arrived. The laughs during his full month celebration and cooking lessons that grandmother gave me (yam cake and chill). The precious cuddles they shared.Of course, we had our trips back where grandmother spent mornings and days seeing Asher play at my parents flat, or helped entertained Asher while I do a quick workout at the exercise park.And the worrying times where Gran rebelled against death and came back from heart failure and her stint at ICU in February.The sadder times when we lost her.I was browsing photos of treats and bakes I made when this caught my eye again. This was made for a family gathering. At that lunch, we spoke about grandmother's likes and dislikes, and how the whole family became closer together (extended family included) this year. That is what my grandmother would have love to know. She would have love to take an adventurous bite of these small chocolate vanilla slices and give me her two cents about how it's not sweet enough, or it's too hard, or that it's "ok".  But she would eat it with a smile anyway.Chocolate Vanilla Slice (makes 24 mini ones) Adapted from Spunky Coconut.Base1/4 cup coconut flour1/4 cup cacao powder2 tablespoons of linseed meal1 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp baking soda3/4 cup of almond butter1/2 cup coconut milk3 tablespoons of honey1 tablespoon of vanilla paste"Vanilla"1 cup of coconut butter1/4 cup of water2 tablespoons of honey2 tsp of vanilla pasteChocolate Ganache100 grams of dark chocolate1/2 cup of coconut milkPre heat oven to 180C. Line a 8x8 square dish.To make the base- mix the wet ingredients using a mixer. Then fold in dry ingredients. Press it to the pan and bake for 30 minutes or so. Cool.To make the Vanilla- Mix everything in a mixer. Spread frosting over the base.Chocolate Ganache- In a saucepan, melt chocolate in coconut milk. Pour ganache over the frosting. Fridge it over night.Cut into small pieces and enjoy.[...]



Pressure Cooker- Red Wine Lamb Shanks

2014-06-16T06:21:00.795+08:00





I don't shy away from my meat. One of my favourite things to have during winter is a lamb shank. Given that we have a pressure cooker now, I tend to use it to cook lamb shanks rather than a slow cooker- somehow, I never get to prepare everything in the morning to make a nice melt in your mouth lamb shank!

There is a butcher near where we are that does a french lamb shank really well. He said 1 per person is plenty and so true that was. It had plenty of meat and I couldn't even finished mine. The magic of lamb shanks comes from using an acid to soften the meat and long and slow cooking time.

I like to serve mine with a big batch of vegetables. The best thing is that I pressure cooked it before I went to the gym. Switched the fire off, and away I went. When I returned, I turned it back on again for the last 30 minutes or so and it was just perfect.

This does make me think- do you use your slow cooker or pressure cooker more at home?

Melt in Your Mouth Red Wine Lamb Shanks (Serves 4)
4 Lamb Shanks
1 red onion diced
1 tablespoon of garlic
1 tinned of diced tomatoes
1 tsp of dried chill flakes
1 capsicum diced
1 carrot diced
1 cup of red wine
1 cup of beef stock

Brown lamb shanks first. Remove from heat and set aside. Saute garlic and onion till soft and add in all other ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes before adding shanks back on again. Place cover of pressure cooker on and cook for a good 1-1.5 hours. If you can, cook for another 30 minutes to make it really melt in your mouth. I turned it off at that point, went to the gym, came back, turned it back on and had a shower!

Then dinner was done!


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Blessed and Lucky Peanut Butter: A Crispy Salted Dark Choc Peanut Butter Cookies

2014-06-12T06:10:00.253+08:00

Warning: This is not exactly the "cleanest" or "paleo" post.My confession of the day is that we still have peanut butter from time to time. Yes, we ALWAYS have almond butter but there are some mornings when we just want a treat, mix into a salad dressing or even in cooking.Blessed and Lucky sent me 3 generous jars of their peanut butter for reviews. I have to say their flavours did make me sit up. Cinnamon Spice, Maple Syrup and Sweet Honey. YUM!Tasting them, I realised how much my taste buds have changed. The sweet honey and maple syrup was way to sweet for me. I can taste the granules of sugar. However, I really like the subtle maple syrup taste in nut butter. It's also quite smooth and I can see it will be a hit in the mornings or in between waffles. My favourite I would say would be the Cinnamon Spice. It's less sweet and I think it's pretty unique to add cinnamon to peanut butter. It works though. Certainly not a everyday spread- not even every other day, but it's a nice treat from time to time.I decided to make a big batch of cookies for hubby. This turned out crispy on the outside, and a little chewy with the right crunch through it. Like most cookies, they are a treat food. This is particular a treat because the nut butter has sugar added to it already! So less is more when adding any sort of sweetener to the batter. The pinch of salt also balanced out the sweetness.So when Asher is asleep at 10pm, I have a warm cup of almond milk with chia tea leaves and savour one cookie... and think about how sweet life is at times.Salted Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Spice Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from Slim Palate)1 cup of Blessed and Lucky Cinnamon Spice Peanut Butter2 tablespoons of coconut sugar2 eggs2 tsp vanilla paste1 tsp baking soda50 grams of dark chocolate chopped (I used 85%lindt)pinch of sea salt.Preheat Oven 180C. Line cookie trays with baking paper. In a mixer, whisk peanut butter, sugar and eggs till well mixed. Then add in vanilla, baking soda. Fold in dark chocolate. Place teaspoon on baking tray.  Sprinkle sea salt on each cookie. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool.Note: I received these jars as a gift from Blessed and Lucky but views are entirely of my own![...]



Crispy Waffles with Berries Compote

2014-06-10T21:52:11.127+08:00

People are often curious about what I do in my day. Given that I'm not working, there is an assumption that I'm the boss of my own time. To a certain extent, I like the freedom of being a little flexible. Tradesman needing to come to the house? Yup, I can arrange that. Parcel collection from the post isn't in the too hard basket when I can pop to the shops during the day. Arranging a play date on a week day? That can be done.There are certainly advantages of being at home.There is a scene in Sarah Jessica Parker's movie "I don't know how she does it"- where she played a business woman, juggling between motherhood and career. At night, there is a list of things in her head that she would go through like the end credits of a movie.I could totally identify with that.If I am lucky:7am: Asher and I wake7-7:30am- Wash up, I change into my day clothes and put some make up on (note to self- if I don't do it then, I find that I won't have the chance to do it any time after), change his diaper, prepare breakfasts for both of us8:15am- Clothes change for him8:30am-10am- Play time for Asher and me. We read, sing songs, dance, play chasey, hide and seek, stretches, swimming lesson..etc. I might also ring my dad or someone overseas then. More than often, I would squeeze in some housework such as clearing breakfasts, prep work for dinner, tidying around the house, clear the dishwasher, head out to do some groceries with him......10-11:30am- Milk time and Asher's nap time. Now, this gets tricky. On a good day, he sleeps in his cot by himself. I have better luck on my bed with heaps of cushions and pillows. Lucky for us, our carpets are thick and I'm close by to make sure he doesn't fall. Some days, he wants me to hold him. If that happens, I just enjoy cuddle time. I don't give up putting him down though but he may need resettling. If he sleeps, I get to vacuum and mop the floor,  prep dinner, bake something, pack the bag, clean the toilets,11:30am- He wakes. Has a drink of water. Plays by himself while I prepare lunch for him and myself.12ish- Lunch time.12:30-3pm- That depends. Could be gymbaroo, play dates, outing somewhere. I would squeeze in more housework like bringing clothes in, folding clothes, putting them away. Really try cooking dinner!3-4ishpm- Milk time Nap time. Same deal above.4ish- Light snack. If I have no chance to prepare dinner above, prepare dinner now!5pm- Husband comes home!Depending on which day- I'm off to the gym and arrives home at 6ish.5-5:45pm- Asher and daddy goes out for a walk6+pm- Dinner time for Asher. 7pm- Bath time or shower for Asher and hopefully for me too.7:30pm- BED TIME for him. Dinner time for us.8ish- bed time: Clean up the kitchen, have a chat with hubby about his day, read, blog, prepare for the next day. Write a list...Fun begins thenAnytime between 10am- 7am: Asher might wake 2-3 times. He is getting better now and usually only wakes once a night at 3 or 4 am for a feed. Then he sleeps till 6 or 7am. Not bad hey! Previously, he would wake every 3-4 hours and require settling from us. Asher is also sleeping in his own room.Notice that I have "prepare for dinner" a few times during the day? Well, I have to be flexible from time to time. There are days where I can't get to dinner prep work till 4pm because Asher is clingy or feeling unwell, or we have been out the whole day. Other days, I might start making chinese slow cooked soup late morning. There are also commitments that I fit in like mothers group, play dates and errands.On top of that, I'm in charge of Hubby's breakfasts, Asher's meals..etc and you guys know I like knowing what I put in my foods so I tend to make as many snack or meal from scratch. In our family, I'm usually in ch[...]



Salmon and Goats Cheese Muffins

2014-06-05T06:38:00.139+08:00




I know sweet muffins are popular. Blueberries, or a white chocolate with raspberries always tend to hit the spot. There are times though, that I do prefer savoury muffins.

You may recall that my husband wakes up early for work. He sacrifices sleep so that he can spend time with us. Well, actually more with Asher as I usually pop to the gym for an hour (including travel time). This was one of my freezer/fridge friendly recipes as he could warm it up in the microwave as he prepares to go to work.


I do like the combination of Salmon and goats cheese. That many amount of eggs means I know my husband is getting enough protein. Goats cheese lifts this muffins up for sure. I like adding some goats cheese to freshly roasted vegetables and in salads. They are pretty expensive though and lucky for us, a little goes a long way.

For me, knowing that my husband is nourished and have a good start to the day makes me happy.

Salmon and Goats Cheese Muffins (mades around 10)
1/2 cup of almond flour
1/3 cup of coconut flour
1 carrot shredded
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder

6 eggs
1 tablespoon of maple syrup

60 grams of smoked salmon
30 grams of goats cheese crumbed

Prepare muffin cups and tray. Preheat oven to 180C.

In a bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. In a jug, mix wet ingredients. Pour wet to dry and fold through. Fold salmon and goats cheese through. Spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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Walnut Chocolate Brownies

2014-06-02T07:28:00.191+08:00





They say friendships change when you become a parent. For me, its an opportunity to meet more new friends who are parents. Asher have been attending gymbaroo since he was around 8 weeks young. From there, I met a few other mums whom I click with. One of them is also from Singapore and her husband is from Malaysia!

Our sons are only born 2 weeks apart. We started meeting fortnightly for play dates and hosting lunches at respective homes. It's so cute to see the boys watching one another and playing with toys. Of course, they are not at an age where they would play with each other but they appeared to be curious about each other's presence.

I made Elana's Pantry's Walnut Chocolate Brownies for this lovely mother. By the way, she cooks such nourishing lunches for me after knowing how I eat (think pan fried salmon with asparagus with corn, pumpkin soup, and a grilled chicken tenderloin with a side pumpkin and goats cheese salad). That said, she said these brownies were a hit with her family and can't believe it has no gluten and minimal refined sugar in it.


Walnut Chocolate Brownies (I cut it to 24 small bites)
100 grams of dark chocolate chopped roughly (I used lindt)
1/4 cup of coconut flour
2 eggs
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoon of honey
1/3 cup of crushed walnuts
handful of chopped dark chocolate

Preheat Oven to 180C. Line a brownie tray with baking paper.
Using a food processor, pulsed dark chocolate. Add in all other dry ingredients first. Pulse till it is well mixed. Then add in all other wet ingredients except the walnuts and handful of dark chocolate.
Pour mixture into pan. Sprinkle crushed walnuts and chocolate over the mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes.



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One Pot Chili

2014-05-29T06:58:00.624+08:00

A blink of an eye and my little boy is now 10 months. Where did all the time go? I was cradling him in my arms in the hospital, and now he is on the move! Chasing me with his fast commando crawling/creeping and pulling himself up on the coffee table.Parenthood never fails to amaze me. It totally tested my patience and endurance. It rekindled my love for coffee (even more so). It reminded me to be mindful and use my senses (after all, to a baby, everything is new). It showed me what unconditional love is. It demonstrated to me kindness and forgiveness. A baby (almost) always forgives.I documented games we played when he was not even 6 months young. Now that he is four months older, I thought I might update the list.- Chasey. He crawl and chase after me while I do the same to him.- Tickling- Songs and even more dancing. Asher really enjoys me singing to him.- Reading and more reading.- Puppet conversations- Rolling a ball. Not necessary we rolling to each other. Sometimes, I roll the ball around him, or I bounce a ball in front of him.- Using a tennis ball, brush or a feather to massage him.- Obstacle courses. I use cushions and different objects to make it difficult to crawl to me.Food wise?- He is taking 3 meals a day and most often 1-2 snacks.- He is eating lamb, beef, chicken, fish, quinoa, congee, and all sorts of vegetables. I still have to blend them but they are of a thicker texture.- I have started using herbs like basil and dill and also spices such as cinnamon and non-spicy curry powder in some of his food. Surprisingly, he likes it!- Finger foods of apples, cucumber, bread, rice cakes, plums and bananas.I'm starting to think of different ideas for his snacks and cooking meals suitable for us as a family.This recipe, was one of my experimentation. As I made this batch up, I thought to myself that it could suit Asher in the future. Perhaps without the chill but the paprika or just cumin might be suitable.One Pot Chili (serves 4)1 chopped red onion1 tsp of minced garlic1 red chill chopped400 grams lean organic grass fed beef mince1 tinned of diced tomatoes1/2 tin of chickpeas or beans of your choice1 tsp of tomato paste2 tsp of paprika1 tsp of cumin1/4 cup of water or stockTo serve with: Avocado Tomato Salsa and a little parmesan cheese.Saute garlic and onion. Brown mince. Add all other ingredients and simmer for a good 20-25 minutes. Pepper and salt to taste. Serve with salsa and cheese.[...]



Turkey Open Burger with Chargrilled Pineapple and Avocado Cream

2014-05-26T06:43:00.797+08:00




When a packet of turkey mince came on sale, I could not resist that $3 price tag for 500 grams. It's fresh AND free range. Coming home though, I decided to pair it with something expensive... an avocado that costs the same price as the mince itself!

Avocados has come down in price a little since then but boy oh boy was an avocado precious when it was going for $3 or $4 per fruit. I came to realise how much our family love this. We baked it with eggs, we have it for breakfasts or in salads.

Anyway, I think the winner of this dish was the pineapple and avocado combination. That citrus tang from the pineapple and creaminess of the avocado with turkey seems to work.

Asher has started finger foods too and this is perfect for him to hold and munch on. I usually leave out the salt for his portion. Messy too!

Turkey Open Burger with Chargrilled Pineapple and Avocado Cream 
500 grams turkey mince
1 onion chopped
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp italian herbs
salt and pepper
egg

1/2 a pineapple sliced thinly and char grilled

1 avocado and 2 tablespoon of greek yogurt blitz in a food processor

To make the turkey burgers, combine all ingredients and shape them in patties.

Heat a pan up with oil and fry the patties up. Meanwhile, prepare avocado cream. Char grill the pine apples if you have not done so. Assemble and eat!



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My Grandmother

2014-05-25T10:13:00.424+08:00

This is one of my hardest post to write.I lost my best friend, my inspiration, my everything....my grandmother on the 4th of May.Grief is a very strange feeling to describe. I feel the loss, the sadness and the pain. The deep sense that a part of me is gone. At the same time, a strange sense that I am glad she is no longer in pain. I'm relieved that she got to see us before her passing and that I get to re assure her that I will look after Asher and my parents. Through tears in her eyes, I saw the longing.... perhaps the longing to be with us a little more and the sadness that she couldn't.No amount of words could hold what my grandmother has taught me. She lived for me and my family since forever. Even in death, I know her fear was not about herself but for us.My grandmother looked after me since I was 3 days old. That's right. 3 days. I was brought back home in her arms. She nursed me through sickness, she let me cling on to her on her back while I was teething, brought me to tuition classes, scolded the principal for organising an external trip to the zoo dressing students in shorts as that would attract mosquito bites, cooked omelette at 10pm at night as I was hungry, made my favourite sweet and sour pork, double boil soups so that I can stay healthy, as an university student, stayed for 3 months in my tiny room with me so that I could have company and then cooked for the rest of my housemates.She was 77 years young. She was a great grandmother. The pride in her eyes as she boastfully told everyone about baby Asher and his baby accomplishments would never leave me. Yes, I have a doctorate BUT my greatest accomplishment in her eyes was having Asher.Condolences came in. Her yam cake was mentioned. Her famous chill sauce.  How she made everyone feel warm and cared for. But more importantly, how much love and grace she gave to people around her. She was remembered as the lady who had a great sense of humour, always have a sharp eye and her love for bling. She was modern and dignified yet humbled and gracious.She led a hard life. From a family of 10 children, she lost many of her siblings. She told me stories about the war time, where she saw dead bodies daily... where she ate hardly anything. She started working as a child and wanted badly to study but couldn't as family circumstances always meant it needed money and her attention. She was always there for her siblings, providing money for their education, keeping an eye on comfortable jobs for them and nursing them if they were unwell.Her heart has always pointed to one place. Her family. She lived and served her family her life.I'm the closest to her heart. Perhaps the luckiest too because I have memories of walking in Chinatown with her sampling the best water chestnut cake and rice dumplings. Oh and how about our trips to Hong Kong, Busselton (WA), Malaysia, and her last trip to Perth where she was here for Asher's arrival.  I have her love for food and zest in life.  I grew up with her love and time- something that would be difficult for my mum, aunty and uncle to have.She taught me how to cook. She was the reason why this blog was created. She said "if the first time it doesn't work out, just try again, the 2nd time will work". She encouraged me and laughed at my failures but always in a kind way. We cooked together in joy (with her directing me of course). My father said, she always looked forward to my daily FaceTime calls, where I would ask her for advice for herbs and soups.I will miss her. I miss her already.My heart is broken. I think one of the hardest thing is[...]



OMGPaleo's Berries and Lemon Cake with Coconut Frosting

2014-05-22T06:16:00.018+08:00

I'm so excited! I'm hosting a baby shower for a dear friend and I'm in charge of... FOOD! The best thing is, she loves clean eating and wants me to create a menu of paleo/clean eating food for herself and guests.Cooking for a party of 20+ people means I have to cater to different dietary requirements. But I think the most nerve wrecking thing is whether or not people will keep an open mind when they see the food. Savoury- I'm not too concerned.  Sweets however, the texture and taste is different from normal bakes. Especially because my tastebuds has changed and I'm used to very little sugar if not none now.I tried these blueberry lemon mini cakes and YUP! They are going on the menu. I did a few changes but I really believe they are out of these world. The frosting especially is so easy to make and just provide a richness to the cakes.Also, don't you think they look pretty?OMGPaleo's Berries and Lemon Cake with Coconut Frosting (I made 14)1/2 cup coconut flour5 eggs1/3 cup of almond milk2 tablespoon of raw honey2 tsp vanilla paste2 lemons- juice and zest1/2 tsp baking soda1 cup of frozen berriespinch of saltFrosting1/2 cup of coconut butter2 tablespoon of waterjuice of another lemon1 tablespoon of honeyLine muffin tins with paper or if you are like me, just use little cupcake wrappers on a cookie baking tray.Preheat Oven at 180C. Whisk dry ingredients together. Then in a jug, combine eggs, milk, honey vanilla, baking soda and salt. Pour wet to dry folding in berries last. Spoon into baking cups and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool.To make the frosting- melt the coconut butter. Whisk it with water, lemon juice and honey. Dollop it on cool cakes.[...]



Zucchini Ham and Olive Loaf

2014-05-19T06:33:00.070+08:00

One of the things we love is the portability of bread or bread products. It's not bread that we missed per say (although sometimes we do eat bread when it's from a good bakery), but just the convenience of it. Of course, there are times when it is nice to have something to dip into a hot bowl of soup. It's a textural thing. The soft fluffy nature of bread paired with warm soup just seems to be so comforting on a rainy and wet day.Sarah Wilson is big on "I quit Sugar".  She found what worked for her. Personally, I found that added sugar is a big culprit to weight gain, and feeling off in my tummy. Since eating clean, we hardly use any sugar at all, although I do use maple syrup and honey in small quantities in bakes. Sweetness is found in so many natural occurring food that I don't find it necessary to add sugar in our everyday meals and desserts. However, we never say no to a good piece of tart or cake occasionally when we are dinning outside.She posted this recipe and I know I just have to make it. It's like a meal by itself. So full of protein and good fats, it went very well with my chorizo and kale soup. It was also a good breakfast item. I loved it toasted with a hint of butter.In fact, this recipe is so good. I'm going to be making it and keeping it for years! I reckon this will be good with MORE zucchini and other vegetables like carrots. I'm thinking picnics, gatherings, party food...  Thanks Sarah!Zucchini Ham and Olive Loaf1.5 cup of almond meal3/4 cup arrow root starch1 tsp bicarb soda1/2 tsp salt5 eggs1.5 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar1/2 cup of zucchini gratedtablespoon of parsley chopped1/4 cup of chopped olives1/2 cup of chopped ham1/2 cup of parmesan cheeseseeds to sprinkle on topLined loaf pan with baking paper. Whisk dry ingredients together and wet (excluding veges, olives and ham) in another jug. Pour wet to dry and fold through. Fold through all vegetables, ham and olives last. Pour in pan, sprinkle seeds on top and bake for 35-40 minutes.[...]



Proscuitto Wrapped Basil Meatloaf

2014-05-14T21:37:42.244+08:00




You guys know that I love my meatloaves. I honestly think they are underrated in the normal home kitchen. There are so many ways to play around with it that I can't stop experimenting and coming up with new quick and easy meatloaf ideas. I can see Asher having this for dinner one night!

We love going to farmers markets. Manning Markets is our go to for our weekly shopping recently. It just seem to carry everything we need. From grass fed meats, to organic vegetables (more for Asher) to one of my favourite coffee... What else can we ask for?

In come naturally smoked chorizo and bacon. No sulphites. Just salt smoked. Amazing. Then we spotted another store that sells smoked chicken breasts and proscuitto. Oh I'm in love.


All I did was to mixed chicken with egg, salt, pepper and fold in some home grown basil. Push it to a loaf pan and wrap the proscuitto on it. It's one of the quickest dinners I have prepared. Everything in the oven and ta dah.. dinner all done when Asher is asleep.


Proscuitto Wrapped Basil Meatloaf 
6 pieces of proscuitto
500 grams chicken mince
1 bunch of basil leaves
1 chopped onion
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
2 eggs
salt
pepper


Mixed egg, salt, pepper, onion and garlic with mince. put mixture into lined bread loaf pan. Pushed it firmly and packed it tight. Carefully (who am i kidding..) place proscuitto overlapping on to the meatloaf. Bake in preheated oven for 25- 30 minutes.
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Chocolate Almond Coconut Slab Cake

2014-05-05T06:49:01.069+08:00

If you come to my house any given day, open my fridge and you will find that I have been baking and experimenting with slices and muffins. I whipped this slice quickly the other day as we were going to a friend's house for lunch. I thought, better to give it away than to store it in our fridge! Hubby never mind though as that means he can just grab and go with whatever he fancies to work. He also said he could eat without the guilt that it is not nourishing his body.Friends asked me how do I control myself given that I have baked goods in my fridge frequently? I was puzzled by that question. I never see that as a self control thing. Rather, it's a "what does my body feel like having". Most of the time, it's water or yogurt with some of my granola. When I bake, I bake to share and to make sure my husband, family and friends eat well. I do tastes my bakes, but I rarely finished everything by myself. I guess I taste and I'm satisfied by it.This recipe comes from Elana Pantry. I think I didn't do it justice because I changed the ingredients amounts. Hence it became more cake and slice like rather than the chewy texture that Elana posted on her blog. Nevertheless, we enjoyed this little cake and it's good for a weekend afternoon treat with coffee.Chocolate Almond Coconut Slab Cake 4 eggs3/4 cup coconut milk1/2 cup of almond meal1/2 cup of coconut flour3 tablespoon of honeypinch of salt1 tsp of bicarb soda1/2 cup of shredded coconut + extra1/2 cup of chocolate chipsPreheat oven to 180C. Line baking slice tray with baking paper.In a jug, whisk coconut milk, honey and eggs together. Then put almond meal, flour, salt, bicarb, coconut and some chocolate chips in a bowl. Pour wet to dry and fold. Spoon into tray and top it with the remaining choc chips and shredded coconut. Bake for 30 minutes.[...]



Extension of Time- Our 5th Wedding Anniversary

2014-05-01T06:19:00.238+08:00

Has it been 5 years?5 years since we said our vows.5 years since we held our epic 3 weddings across 3 countries in 2 weeks?I chose to write this post a little later because... I have to pause. To take it in. While we signed our papers on the 24th April, we maintained that we celebrate our anniversary on the 1st May- simply because it's where our traditional ceremony and church wedding took place. Truth be told though, that we just pick the date when we can take time together so it changes every where when we "celebrate" it.5 years later, we learned a few things. The biggest change this year, is of course the arrival of our son Asher. You could say that between year 4-5 of our marriage, we have to grow quickly. We learned how having a child can strengthen and provide challenges to a marriage. We learned about our weaknesses and vulnerabilities even more. We also learn how to make us a "family". Time will always be our biggest challenge. You would think me being at home means more time (ah, maybe I should document what I do at home one day in a post!), but in actual fact, it means as a couple we can lead even more separate lives than ever. Hubby works, wife looks after the house and baby- when we come together, we talk about our day and what happened.  However, it is very very challenging to sit and have long conversations about our plans and feelings. When we do sit down in the evening, it would be the night when Asher's teeth will bother him, or he decides that he needs more settling than usual to sleep. So we have to learn to adapt. We take long walks with Asher in the evening for around 2-3 times a week. Not only do we get to exercise, but we relish in catching up about what we have been thinking about. As a wife, I make a mental note to really listen to what's happening at his work. Yes, I may not be working now, but that does not mean my husband working life isn't important to me. I listened to his concerns and his excitement (even in computer lingo). I told myself to take in the moment and enjoy being with my husband rather than to make mental lists in my head on what to do next.We decided that on weekends, we will have at least one family lunch outside of the home. It's really lovely to be able to explore cafes and new places to eat. That is one thing hubby and I love doing pre baby and we decided this is one thing that needs to be continued post baby as well. Preparation is everything of course, but thankfully, Asher loves his food and usually can be entertained with his own toys and rusks for 20-30 minutes while we enjoy a meal together.I also learned about myself. I learned that I want my hubby to love me first. This may sound selfish as of course I want him to love our little boy. But sometimes, I would prefer him to look after me. It's so easy to fall down the trap of having the focus all on Asher, than it is nice when he offered me a back rub or to cook me dinner. It took a while for the both of us to realised that we have to look after each other while we look after Asher.Which also means my hubby wants me to love him first. It's hard and I do forget, but what happened to "how was your day" when he walked in the door? Instead, I bombard him with what happened to Asher's day. Even if I do that, I try to stop myself and make a note to really be there and listen to him. I started making different sorts of breakfasts and snacks for him so that when he wakes up, everything is done. He just n[...]



Bacon and Banana Muffins- Elvis Muffins

2014-04-28T06:06:00.070+08:00



So recently, I found out that Elvis was a fan of peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. In fact, it sounded like what I would like to have when I was pregnant! I was reading Make Ahead Paleo and this recipe really appeals to me. Savoury and sweet together.

It's one of those things that you will either like it or you don't. For us, this is a clear winner. The bacon really isn't that strong- it's just a topping, but the salt does brings the sweetness from the bananas a notch.

One thing I am happy with this recipe is the ratio between almond flour, coconut flour and arrowroot starch. I can almost see this as a base for other muffins and cakes. I increased the baking soda to 1tsp from 3/4 and it gave it a beautiful rise which is what I love. I usually find paleo bakes too dense for my liking but the baking soda helped makes it lighter.

Bacon and Banana Muffins (made 10 for us)
3/4 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoon arrowroot starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch sea salt

4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla paste
2 tablespoon of maple syrup
2 bananas mashed
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil

3 strips of bacon- fried and cut in small strips or cubes.

Preheat Oven to 180C. Whisk dry ingredients together and wet ones separately. Then fold wet to dry. Spoon into muffin tins and top it with the chopped bacon. Bake for 20 minutes till brown!

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