Crunchy Coconut Oil Granola

April 25, 2015

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These days with you.

We’re in the midst of a really sweet stage. It’s been just the two of us for 14 and a half years, and in four and a half months there will be three of us. We’re halfway through growing our baby. But for now, it’s all about these days with you.

We were school kids when we met. Holding hands and growing up, messing up and studying for exams. And then I moved out of home to go to University and you started wearing a suit. We did grown-up things, like pay rent and cook dinner and go out to concerts. In the holidays I worked at a homewares store and cafes and I learnt how to save money. Some days when I wasn’t at uni I’d catch the train into the city with you and work from the library. We’d meet for dumplings and spicy pork noodles during your lunch break. Over the summer holidays when I was 21 we went to Paris and Prague and it snowed. We became adults together.

We survived when my big brother died. Mum, Dad, my younger brother, you and me…we survived it together. You picked me up from work and told me David had had a seizure and was on the way to the hospital with mum. You were in the room with mum and I when they told us he wouldn’t wake up. You were there with us when they kept him breathing for hours, hooked up to machines, waiting for his organs to be donated. You took Jackson and I home to my apartment to get a few hours sleep and then took us back in the morning. You waited while I screamed at the top of my lungs in the car outside the Alfred Hospital. You sat beside me outside his room when I didn’t want to be held. And now you reach for me whenever someone says his name, and when we see the colour orange you smile at me. You hold me when I want to be held and tell me you miss him too. You helped me survive.

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Wednesday Breakfast of Figs

April 22, 2015

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Mum and Dad’s fig tree was particularly fruitful this season. On Monday I took some home from my Mornington clinic, where I worked with the folks and now, for Wednesday Breakfast Club, I am enjoying two fresh figs at my new Richmond clinic. Together with yoghurt and muesli, they make a sweet morning meal.

I’ve started consulting from Richmond, which is right near Ben’s office, gradually building up a workload. I’ll need a break from September, as our baby will be making his/her arrival and will no doubt keep me busy. Then I hope to reopen in full force at Richmond at the start of the year, perhaps consulting once a week or once a fortnight, we’ll see. I’ll continue consulting from Mornington as soon as I get into the groove with bubs – as I work with my parents my hours are very flexible and can just duck in for a consult, coordinating with Mum and Dad for babysitting duties. My goodness, it’s starting to feel very real. Tomorrow we hit the halfway mark. And yesterday we had our big scan! I’ll go into more detail at my next pregnancy update, but everything went really well, bubs looks beautiful and healthy and so snug.

Happy Wednesday, friends. We’re off on a road trip for Ben’s work tomorrow after dinner with friends tonight. Bolognaise is on the menu (our friend makes a mean bolognaise sauce). I hope your Wednesday is equally delicious.

 

Heidi xo

Banana, Fig and Walnut Bars

April 18, 2015

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We all need a reliable muesli bar recipe in our repertoire.

I’ve made my fair share of bars over the years, stocking our freezer with my snacking experiments. It’s a favourite past time of mine, one that I get a bit carried away with. But the whole family benefits. Before going to bed it’s a case of asking a question and defrosting an answer. “Do you want a brownie or muesli bar for tomorrow’s snack?” Though there is now precisely zero space in our freezer for ice-cube trays, so we are on the hunt for a good standalone freezer. And so, along with “brownie or muesli bar?” we’re deciding on “chest or upright freezer?”. Please send any recommendations you might have your way. I’m a little lost in our options. Though one question I’m no longer asking is “when will I find my perfect muesli bar recipe?”…

For a fast, peanutty bar I adore Dana’s no-bake version, and after weekend ice-cream escapades, leftover egg whites get repurposed into my cardamom and dark chocolate bars. But neither of these bars were my “ideal, everyday bar”. While the no-bake version is wonderfully simple, I tend to be pro-bake when it comes to muesli bars. And though delicious, I don’t always want chocolate chips in my muesli bar, nor do I always have leftover egg whites. So I kept searching, combining and creating, freezing and snacking. Well, friends, I think I’ve found my ideal, everyday muesli bar.

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Stovetop Granola and Autumn Jumpers

April 15, 2015

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It’s that sweet time of year, my favourite, when the mornings are crisp and cold, sometimes sunny and always invigorating. Everything is undeniably Autumnesque, from the quince in our fruit bowl to my cravings for curries, pasta bakes and soup. It’s gentle weather, Autumn. As long as you’re prepared for it.

Last week I opened the chest at the end of our bed and pulled out our Autumn wool jumpers. They’re pure comfort, and, along with the prospect of porridge, help to coax me out of bed the morning. As soon as I wake I’ll slip on one of Ben’s big jumpers he throws over the chest when getting ready for bed. His larger tops are in high demand now, as this belly grows and anything too tight feels uncomfortable. I just need to be sure not to spill bolognaise sauce over them, which is my constant night-time struggle. Though I do have a few favourites of my own, which I spill food over freely. For example, this green number above, knitted by my mother-in-law a couple of years ago. Armed with woollen jumpers and thick socks, as well as bolognaise sauce (and a bib), these April days are nothing but nice.

To complete this cozy picture I would have made porridge, but today I wanted Greek yoghurt and so I deferred to stovetop granola (recipe link), which I made with almonds, walnuts, oats, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, honey and sea salt. Mid-morning I’ll need to swap my wool jumper for tights and a dress (my standard maternity work-wear), and head into the clinic. And in the afternoon, I get to visit the library and renew one book that Ben is reading and look for others. We’re Jo Nesbø fans in this house and I quite fancy a good crime novel right now. Books from the library… more things making these Autumn days sweet.

 

Heidi xo

My Second Trimester World, the fourth month

April 11, 2015

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Monthly pregnancy posts – not too much, not too little. Hopefully I’ve found my Goldilocks blog posting equivalent. And in case you have a sudden craving for porridge, I refer you to this post. Besides itching to share more myself, I’ve received some lovely emails from people who are keen for more pregnancy posts. I think it’s nice to read what others are going through. So, here I am, sharing month 4 (weeks 14-17) as I enter into month 5.

The past month has been a pretty sweet one, with a definite little pregnancy belly and hurrah (!!) improved symptoms. I’m a little obsessed with my bump. It constantly reminds me that I’m pregnant (which may sound funny but is totally something I appreciate). My growing belly means my little one is growing also. The veins across my stomach and sides tells me that my body is working to nourish bub. They’re like a map to our baby. It’s magical, comforting, warm and exhilarating.

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Easter long weekend with family

April 6, 2015

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We had the most glorious long weekend over Easter. It was a time of home and hot cross buns, Dad’s bread and eggs of the chocolate variety, beach walking and bump growing. She’s grown a lot this week. He or she has grown, I should say. Week 17 has been a big one. I’m still 50/50 about the gender, leaning no way in particular. Though I did have a dream last week that it was a boy, named our favourite boys’ name. He was a little cherub. We’re so in love already.

On Saturday we visited my grandparents for lunch. Ben did a few little jobs, including helping Nana with her iPad Air (she’s the coolest), and we made salad rolls with English cheddar, my favourite. We were gifted a knitted chick that held a chocolate egg, as well as chocolate Lindt bunnies and a darling knitted doll for bubs. We adore our grandparents, and their home.

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Cacao Nut Spread

April 1, 2015

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It’s been a sleepy and sunny start to the week in my world.

I’ve been spoilt with a number of lovely catch ups with friends over the past 4 days, and it’s kept me buzzing. I always get energy from other people, whether friends or clients (and I’ve definitely felt a burst of energy recently, which is common in the second trimester of pregnancy). But then I come home and crash. Yesterday, after a battle with the fax machine at the clinic, I crashed into my food processor and some nuts to create this spread. Followed by the couch.

When crafting this nut butter I fancied throwing walnuts into the mix, as I’m even more keen on getting my healthy fats these days. So into my shopping basket they went, along with some hazelnuts that were on sale. Almonds were waiting for me in a jar at home, as I rarely make a nut butter without my faithful almonds, and together they made a lovely blend. I was going to keep the preparation plain, maybe adding a dash of maple as is my usual style, but then glanced at my jar of cacao powder and felt, in lieu of my morning coffee, that future Heidi would appreciate the energy hit come breakfast time. You know, to make me less sleepy and more sunny, to help keep me bright.

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Jerk Chicken and a BBQ date

March 28, 2015

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It’s been a month of road trips and sleepovers, of weddings and work. After a slow start to the year (conveniently timed with first trimester sickness) things have been a bit nuts. The good kind of nuts, the kind where you have to remember to pack your dancing shoes and have a bag full of snacks. But I’m ready to swap high heels for snuggly socks. I’m ready for home and sleep, for cuddles and quiet. Last Saturday night we stayed in, with sparkling juice, Harriet Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, and a serve of jerk chicken.

When Ben and I were in the USA for three months two years ago we did a lot of good eating. In Austin, it was all about barbeque, specifically, brisket. It was hard to go past that perfect preparation of slow-cooked meat, and if we were to venture away from barbecue we’d invariably find ourselves with a plate of tacos. Tacos and brisket, that was pretty much our Texas diet. But on our way into town from our cute Air bnb pad, we would walk past a store that sold jerk chicken, and the thought of it, in all its spiced, sticky, charcoaled glory, stuck with me. When given the opportunity to receive and try out a Weber BBQ with a new Heat Beads® BBQ Chimney Booster (which is really ace in allowing for quicker barbeque action), I thought of Austin and my long-awaited taste of jerk chicken.

So we made our chicken, while sipping sparkling juice and listening to tunes outdoors. We photographed the bump at 15 weeks and spoke about what we want to do with bub’s room. I said I hoped I felt like chocolate soon because Easter is coming up and that means Lindt bunnies. Ben said not to worry, he’d help me out if I couldn’t manage the task. He’s so supportive. We were home with nowhere to go and it all tasted so sweet.

My high heels are still in the cupboard.

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Carrot and Thyme Dip and some videos of the farm

March 25, 2015

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My whole life changed when my friend Joey introduced me to Transition Farm 18 months ago. I met farmers Peter and Robin, and their bright, gorgeous family, and from November 2013 to July 2014 I farmed and learnt and put my hands in soil one day a week. Indeed I learnt how to grow vegetables, as I predicted, but it spread deeper than that. My knowledge of, and respect for, our health and the earth grew, and I discovered the power (and importance) of our ability as humans to make good choices for our bodies and the planet. Working in an environment of air and fertility and life left me brighter and more connected, connected to everything – everything good, everything I want to be connected to in my life. Including gingerbread skillet cake.

I made some really special friends at the farm, too. Friends who think about the world and live in ways that I like to think about the world and live. It has been life changing, in the most sincerely nourishing way. And while I’m no longer learning at Transition Farm, Ben and I still receive a weekly vegetable box of colourful, textured and thoughtful produce to feed our growing family. Read here to learn more about their community supported agriculture program, but note that it’s only for locals. If you are after something in your area you’ll have to hunt down some good farmers. It’s worth investigating.

Recently, Peter and Robin were interviewed for a short video series. The site who created these pieces, Palate, captured the farm so perfectly. It’s really a stunning visual, and I encourage you to watch it. You’ll receive a lovely snapshot into Transition Farm and gain a greater understanding as to why my life has changed since stepping foot on their soil.

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Week 14, the longest week

March 21, 2015

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At this point I don’t plan on doing a week-by-week detailed update on my pregnancy. While I love reading those posts on other people’s blogs, I fear it may become a little too repetitive or tiresome for some. How many times can you hear that I feel like eating pineapple? And while I don’t solely write for my readers (indeed I really write for myself) I do respect you too much to only talk about what is going on inside of me without giving you cake and food chatter every now and then. I’m sure I’ll find my groove over these coming months. A bit of baby, a little stewed fruit and a few pasta recipes. How does that sound?

Also, thank you for all your suggestions on my recent post. I am outrageously excited about choosing prams (and other things) and have been looking up all your recommendations. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me! I really value you.

So while I don’t plan on doing week-by-week pregnancy posts, I had to talk about this week, the first of my second trimester, because it was a particularly long and slightly eventful one. We went for our second appointment with our Obstetrician on the 10th March, for a quick check-in to see how I was travelling. Here we spoke about my first trimester screening and 12 week ultrasound (everything looks really great and healthy!!), and then we finally settled on a due date.

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