Bring your toaster to work day

July 1, 2015

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I’m up in the city today for a couple of work gigs and a dinner date with a friend. Toast was on my mind after I showed up to work on Monday to see a loaf of Dad’s homemade sourdough in my tray (this batch was made with 30% wholegrain flour! Way to bring in the grains, Dad.)

Anyway, Ben doesn’t have a toaster at his office so I brought my toaster to his work. This girl wanted her morning toast.

Two slices of sourdough, topped with almond butter and sea salt. One with mixed berry jam, the other with maple syrup and cacao nibs. And a weak latte. Oh lordy, do I love my weak lattes. Happy Wednesday!

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ps. I most definitely cannot button up this coat up anymore. The belly keeps growing…it’s awesome.

 

Heidi xo

 

Pregnancy Eats, The Second Trimester

June 27, 2015

I adored my second trimester! Well, from about week 18 when the nausea stopped. It was a time of lightness and sweet anticipation. Food regained a bit of the sparkle it had lost during those first few months, and I took an even greater interest in nourishing this little baby I’m growing.

My previous pregnancy eats post principally focussed on how to get goodness in during a time when you feel like you have an all-day hangover. I was speaking about my personal experience (which happens to be similar to that of the majority of women), in that the first trimester meant nausea and food aversions, while during the second trimester, those glorious middle months, I felt pretty fantastic.

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So what do we eat then, when our acceptance of foods beyond the bread domain returns and we’re enjoying a growing appetite? Whether pregnant or not, I try to encourage my clients to eat intuitively, like when you were a baby yourself. Sometimes (often) this is a skill we need to re-learn, but it’s the best thing we can do… to trust our bodies to know what is best, what food makes us thrive and how much. To really tune in and listen to our bodies. Pregnancy is such an important time to do this.

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Porridge with Blackstrap Molasses

June 24, 2015

It’s not exactly honey, nor as pleasantly sweet as maple syrup, but blackstrap molasses has found its way onto my porridge bowl. The bite is strong, spiced and, yes, a little bitter, but it’s rather lovely. Bittersweet, rather. It’s got gumption.

You see, after questioning my iron stores I looked to increase my intake in a variety of ways. Red meat, sure, I’m having this more often during the week, but plant-based sources, too, which I can eat daily and are rather cost effective. Unsulphured blackstrap molasses, this thick, black, luxurious, tar-like sugar syrup, has been on my mind (and spoon) because of its’ rich mineral content. And though the flavour is unique and perhaps not what you’d naturally crave at 7:45am, I’m quite please to be using my jar for porridge purposes. Something beyond black sticky gingerbread…though that cake is divine.

This morning, I topped my bowl of creamy rolled oat porridge with toasted pepitas, a spoonful of natural peanut butter, sea salt and blackstrap molasses. Porridge with gumption.

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Heidi xo

 

 

 

Bagna Cauda

June 20, 2015

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Butter, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and anchovies. These ingredients are robust and significant in their own right, but together, oh together, they make the most divine concoction…a thin, silky, salty sauce that is a staple in our hungry house. I felt it was high time I posted the recipe here, to tempt you into the world of anchovies. It’s a rich and wonderful place.

I first came across this recipe two days after our wedding. We’d taken the Monday after our big day off and were eating brunch at Proud Mary in Collingwood. Side note, take more than two days off after your Wedding. I saw “bagna cauda” listed as an accompaniment to some sort of egg dish, and a quick google identified it to be a buttery, anchovy sauce. “Huh”, I thought… I was just beginning to appreciate anchovies, for the sharp seasoning qualities and even moreso, their omega-3 fatty acid goodness. Having a jar of olive oil-packed anchovies in the cupboard is a terribly convenient way to get in a dose of these valuable healthy fats. I had started adding them to stews (like this wonderful chicken cacciatore dish) and pasta sauces, but I was not in love with them…yet. And so, after spotting that intriguing menu item I consulted my Italian cookery guru, Marcella Hazan for advice.

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A Quince Gift

June 17, 2015

quince porridge
I awoke this morning to a killer leg cramp. My left calf was contracting and would NOT relax, no matter how I stretched my foot or rested my leg. I have been dealing with leg cramps for a while, it’s a common pregnancy issue, but nothing like this one. I will look into ways to manage cramps better, but if anything it was an exercise in breathing through something your body is doing that cannot be relieved as easily as you’d like. Good practice for September, I suppose…

In other, much sweeter news, my friend Emily dropped by some quince she had poached yesterday as a gift. This morning I knew precisely what I’d like to top our porridge bowls with – toasted almonds and sunflower seeds, dollops of greek yoghurt and spoonfuls of poached quince.

I adore quince, this is no secret. And I presently have three sitting in my fruit bowl, begging to be cooked. Thankfully I am working from home all day today, creating the perfect slow-poaching conditions. After I press “publish” on this post, I am off to turn the oven on and find my vegetable peeler. Have a lovely day, folks.

 

Heidi xo

My Second Trimester World, the sixth month

June 12, 2015

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Week 22

I think the sixth month is from about week 22 – week 26. Calculating where you’re at, how many months based on weeks, is harder than it should be. Maths was never my strong suit.

Growth

I can hear myself repeating the same things each week, but golly our baby has grown! My bump is so much bigger and I just adore it. I’m finding I get quite itchy across the belly, a result of my skin stretching to a crazy cool degree, but applying my body butter twice daily after showers helps. Will it help prevent stretch marks? They say that’s genetic, so I’m not really sure. Perhaps. My mum is stretch mark-free after three big babies so here’s hoping. Though there’s still a tonne of growing and stretching to do, which I struggle to wrap my head around. How can I get any BIGGER?

Food

My appetite this week is a little better, and I’ve found myself excited about food on more than a handful of occasions, which has been nice. I used to care so deeply about food, and since about week 4 of pregnancy I’ve been a bit “whatevs” regarding cooking and eating. The following things got me giddy this week: the ginger cake we made for Mother’s Day, the roast dinner my mother-in-law made on Sunday, the quince I poached (which I served with porridge or yoghurt throughout the week) and a serve of pasta with anchovies. Dad’s bread is always welcome and puts a smile on my face, especially when spread with nut butter and sliced banana.

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A Quick Shakshuka With Leek

June 10, 2015

In the interest of creating a filling breakfast before heading into the clinic to see clients, as well as using the lovely Transition Farm leek I had sitting in the fridge and the remainder of a jar of passata leftover from last night’s reheated meatloaf situation, I present you with this morning’s breakfast: a quick shakshuka with leek.

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Shakshuka with Leek

Grab a small skillet. Sautee diced leek in extra virgin olive oil and butter, plus a teeny pinch of sea salt, until soft. Add some crushed garlic and cook for a further minute or so until fragrant. In goes a couple of glugs of passata. Make room for two eggs, crack them into the spaces, cover the skillet and cook until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Top with smoked paprika and parsley. Serve with buttered sourdough toast and freshly cracked black pepper. Good things.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Heidi xo

Pregnancy Eats, The First Trimester

June 6, 2015

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What you eat during pregnancy is a big deal. At least it feels that way to those of us lucky enough to experience this magic. It’s a time of incredibly mixed emotions and many questions. In my practice as a Dietitian I find that most individuals, whether growing a little person or not, are incredibly confused as to what food is actually healthy. We’re not confident in our food choices, and being pregnant throws a curve ball into the game, with questions like “how much should I be eating?”, “can I eat cheese?”, and “how come all I want is carbohydrates?”

I have comforted a number of friends though first trimester sickness, and guilt for wanting to eat all of the carbs in the world. Though my advice has changed over the years with experience and counseling clients, and now even moreso as I go through my first pregnancy, I have always keenly offered comfort. The mummy guilt starts early, in the first weeks of growing a baby, and I am happy to help ease this because I find guilt to be a particularly unproductive, usually destructive, emotion. Pregnant ladies should be focusing on more important things, like where to find a good pregnancy pillow and what the heck is swaddling a baby?

Here are a few thoughts on nourishing yourself and your baby during pregnancy. I will break it up into trimesters, for ease of reading, with today’s post being principally about the first trimester. I’ll also delve into my own eating habits, as I have received a few requests I do so. Lastly, know that though general advice applies to most people, everyone is different and if you are struggling or are unsure of your choices, please see an Accredited Practising Dietitian for advice (raising my hand over here).

A few quick tips for nausea and food cravings

I wrote some first trimester nausea tips on my dietitian website, as well as suggestions for healthy food craving alternatives, so you can check out those posts for more detail. Personally I found the following strategies most useful: keeping my blood sugar levels steady, eating small amounts often, sipping on fluids to stay hydrated, getting fresh air and distracting myself so as to not wallow in the nausea.

Holy heck I feel like s**t

During the first trimester, as all the hormones rush in, you often experience all-day hangover-style nausea where the only antidote appears to be dry crackers or fries. Beware, this feeling can take you by surprise. I was certainly shocked to experience this kind of hormonally-charged sickness, as it was like nothing I had ever felt and was in no way relieved by a cozy blanket, hot water bottle, soup and time on the couch (as was my usual sick-day protocol). You may also experience super strong food aversions (vegetables, bleh) and a weird appetite (often reduced, sometimes increased) during this time.

But you’re not just feeling sick, you’ve also just discovered you’re growing a baby and are overwhelmed with the incredible responsibility of this task. You want to do the best for your baby, while also managing to make it through the day. That’s often a major conflict. “Want chips, should eat kale…AHHH what the frick do I do?!?!?!”

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60 Years

June 1, 2015

Last week my grandparents celebrated their wedding anniversary. 60 years ago they were wed, in a little church in Hampton. Nana wore a white velvet dress with floral headband and veil, and my grandpa (whom we call “Roo”) wore a blue suit and a smile. Since then they’ve filled their lives with love and laughter, travel and home, tradition and adventure. They’ve had children, their children have had children, and their children’s children have had children. I feel blessed to be giving them another great grandchild this year. The fact that our little one will receive great grandparent snuggles is sincerely special.

When I think of my grandparents, a few distinct memories come to mind. Of campervan trips and Bing Crosby, of multigrain toast with smooth Kraft peanut butter and fruit pillows, of Road To… movies and Adam West as Batman, of blue tiles in their old Dingley home and Roo chasing us down the hall with “the CLAW!!” (his hand), of family KFC takeout nights and dinners of Kai Si Ming, of me taking sips of Nana’s mango banana nectar from the side fridge (perfectly tucked away for a sneaky little Heidi to manage her mischief) and little jubes from the lolly jar, of visiting them at their market stalls and marvelling at Nana’s homemade cards and pin cushions, of nicknames like “Mr Mcgillicuddy (my older brother), “Gorgonzola” (my younger brother), and “Heidle McDee” (me). My grandparents were present and warm and generous with their children’s children. They’re like this with all of their loved ones. To be in their life is a blessed thing.

Oh, I adore hearing tales of my grandparents growing up. Nana on her parents’ dairy farm on Wickham road, Moorabbin, and Roo as a cheeky kid at school in Hampton. Nana’s family had a horse and jinker and after school, if the bread man had come, they would scoop fresh cream onto warm slices of soft white bread with jam. Though Nana Brown sometimes needed a good slosh of gasoline to light their hearth, she knew that oven back to front and could manipulate perfect roly poly cakes. My grandfather was in the car radio business, and has a thing for, you guessed it, cars and radios. I’ll always have a soft spot for jaguars because of him.

Every now and then I’ll ask my grandparents what life was like when they started their family in 1956. Family and history are two of my favourite things and I can hear their stories and devour their pictures for hours. I’ve driven around to two of their houses in Moorabbin, and though they’ve changed, I can picture the little family of five in those homes. I can see my mum arguing to wear nail polish and buy a pair of jeans (it was the 70’s, man). I can see my Uncle racing home to tell on my mum for taking drugs…he had found a stash in her bag. Though they weren’t drugs, they were tampons. I can see Cindy, their long-haired dachshund, who encouraged my Aunty’s love of animals. I can see the whole family sitting around watching television, and, as happened some evenings, an exchange of glances for a sudden mutual craving for one thing: burgers! Roo would drive down to the local burger joint to collect five burgers, no tomato for Nana, please. Though they would always forget and put tomato in anyway. I won’t ever be able to recreate those burgers, but that’s ok. The thought is more delicious.

On the weekend we celebrated the love these two special, funny, sweet people have and the life they’ve created. My beautiful cousin and her son flew down from Townsville to surprise our grandparents, and together, with dear friends and family, we toasted Dorothy and Jack. There were no burgers or roly poly cakes, but we did have cheese, sandwiches, galettes with sour cream pastry, woodfired pizza, apple cake, fruit and chestnut cream tarts and a carrot cake. And a letter from the Queen.

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Chocolate Porridge

May 27, 2015

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I’ve been on a cacao hit this week. It started with the choc tops we ate over the weekend while seeing Mad Max at the cinema. Whoa, that movie was intense, I needed a nap afterwards. Instead we went for a burger. Choosing which choc top to eat was also intense. Usually it’s a clear boysenberry order, but for some reason I’ve been jonesing for coffee and mint chocolate flavours. Well, they didn’t have coffee and ahhhh, I don’t know, I’m usually always disappointed with mint…somehow it never lives up to my expectations and childhood nostalgia. So boysenberry it was.

And since then, my love for cacao has been pretty strong. As a way of indulging this desire I’ve been enjoying a square of Pana chocolate some afternoons and adding raw cacao powder to my breakfast, like yesterday. Chocolate porridge is a pretty neat way to both hit a craving and nourish yourself.

It’s been a while since I’ve made porridge with cacao and tahini, but this morning it felt right. With toasted almonds and sunflower seeds, lots of milk and extra sea salt. Next up, coffee and chocolate porridge, perhaps…

Heidi xo