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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Banana Overnight Oats

March 18, 2015

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This recipe is not wild. It’s not even particularly creative. I mean, overnight oats is nothing new, neither is the act of adding ripe banana to preparations as means of upping its deliciousness. But last Thursday evening, the simple step of mashing a banana into my oat/yoghurt mixture the night before a busy morning left me feeling rather clever. An inquiry on my instagram picture as to whether the recipe was on the blog encouraged me to write it up and share another serve today, for Wednesday Breakfast Club.

This breakfast is sweetly comforting in the morning. It’s the vegemite toast of overnight oats. My love of bananas as a child surely amplifies these feelings of nostalgia, but I’m sure you’ll be affectionate towards it too. Speaking of fruit and children, I have another pregnancy update coming this week where I mention my present desire for all things fruit, as well as my inability to feel full. These oats help tick both boxes.

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“Let’s add some plums”, and other good things my mum does

March 14, 2015

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Those who know my Mum will not be surprised to hear that she has already found us a highchair for bubs at a vintage-goods sale. It’s old and sturdy and she totally had to fight a lady for it. That’s my Mum for you, scoring second-hand gems since forever.

Do you know what I realised the other day? Precisely thirty years ago, my Mum was pregnant with me. And she would have been pretty much at the same stage I am, as our bub will be born one to two weeks before my thirtieth birthday. That makes me feel things, things like affection, appreciation, understanding and connection. She is already such an incredible grandmother and we feel very thankful for her, and my gorgeous mother-in-law too. Our baby is very lucky. Side note, Mum is trying to figure out a Grandparent name that suits her. We will probably just see what comes at the time, what feels right, but if you have any suggestions, please leave them below. Nana, Nanny and anything in the realm of Granny are out for various reasons.

I must say, I’m impressed with how Mum has held off on buying things for the baby. She knows that Ben and I don’t like a lot of STUFF, though we know that we’re going to NEED a lot of stuff…this is a tricky one, which we’ll surely get over soon, but I predict we’ll be fussy for a while. It’s our first baby so I’m rolling with the pickiness and researching mattresses made with organic fibres. Check in about five months time and I’ll probably be like “whatever, who cares”…but right now, I do care. Note this is TOTALLY a cry for help, so please send any recommendations for mattresses, cots, prams, you name it my way! But anyway, this highchair? I’m glad she snagged and gifted it to us. I’m blessed, blessed with a Mum who makes Ben zucchini slice when he’s been working longer hours than usual, who sends little texts to check in on bubs and plan shopping dates with me (so I can buy bigger bras, bigger jeans, bigger underwear, bigger EVERYTHING)…a Mum who buys our baby their first pair of impossibly cute booties from the knitting ladies at Flinders Op Shop.

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Sourdough French Toast

March 11, 2015

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French toast is the perfect choice for those days when you want bread, eggs, yoghurt, nuts AND sweet stuff all at once.

Of course you can have savoury French toast, with bacon and cheese and chives, or you might go down the caramelised banana and coconut route. I’m open to all French toast preparations (let me know your favourite pairings!) But my go-to French toast assembly involves a simple soaking and topping method, using pantry and fridge staples. It makes for a super nutritious and filling meal that satisfies all my French toast cravings.

My Dad, the sourdough scientist, is pretty generous with his loaves, gifting Ben and I one of his creations oh, every other week. If we’ve already purchased a treason loaf from someone else, we’ll freeze Dad’s bread and defrost it on a Friday, ready for weekend egg-eating. Sometimes when Mum or Dad ask if we have bread in the freezer, Ben and I will look at each other and say, in brazen-faced unison, “No”…even though we clearly do. We just can’t get enough. For toast with scrambled eggs, a PB and banana snack, salad sandwiches or alongside soup or salad, there’s nothing better than Dad’s bread.

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My First Trimester World

March 6, 2015

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I have to start this post by saying thank you, sincerely, for all your love and excitement regarding our baby news. My goodness! I could not stop smiling all day, reading the sweet comments on my blog post and Instagram annoucement picture. What gorgeous, warm, sunshine-giving people you are. Ben and I (and bub!) feel the love, so thank you.

I had originally planned on sharing our baby news a lot sooner, like around the 9 week mark. I’m not really one to hide things, neither is Ben, and we both found keeping this secret rather difficult. Actually now that I look back, to almost everyone we saw in person we blurted out the news. I tested positive at 3 weeks, which in pregnancy talk is 5 weeks because you add two weeks on (who knew?!), and then it was a whole month before our first appointment with my Obstetrician (boy did that month drag). By then I was 9 weeks, when I originally thought I’d announce to you guys, but at that appointment I found out that bub was measuring closer to 10 weeks…and I was due for the standard first trimester screening tests very shortly, so we decided to wait a couple more weeks before sharing the news. After 12 weeks your risk of miscarriage greatly reduces, so a lot of people wait for that milestone. My thinking was, the first weeks of my pregnancy felt like they went on forever, so what was two more weeks? Our families knew right away, and we told close friends very early also. But truth be told, I didn’t let myself fully believe it was happening until after my first Obstetrician appointment…or the 12 week ultrasound, really. I know how common miscarriage is and I guess I was trying to protect my heart. Not that you ever can. This pregnancy business…boy are there a whole lot of emotions!! You can really drive yourself nuts. But each morning, when I’d wake feeling like as though I’d had 27 vodka soda limes the night before, I found sincere comfort in my baby hormones hangover. Gagging when opening the fridge or when thinking about vegetables made me smile. The sickness made me happy, and helped me to believe that maybe this wasn’t in my head, maybe this was happening.

People have been sweetly asking if I’ve been feeling well. The answer is, yes and no. Some days are a struggle, as this nausea gets a bit much. At the start I was sicker in the morning, these days it hits about 2pm and lasts until I go to bed. But sometimes it comes on strong in the morning and lasts all day. It’s highly fluctuating, though definitely relates to blood sugar levels. Heck, I’m a dietitian and I still struggle to manage. The nausea is a bit unpredictable. Only a handful of times have I started the day dry retching over the sink. Occasionally I’ll have to stop and dry retch on a walk (there’s this particularly bushy area near my home that smells like capsicum…it’s offensive) or when out and about, but on the scale of “manageable” to “how on Earth can I function?”, I am definitely on the manageable end. Some ladies have it SO rough, it’s unbelievable. I am definitely not one of those troopers (though I certainly do not feel fantastic…yet). Below, in what is possibly my longest rambling post (oh, yes, I haven’t even begun to fully ramble), I go into week to week detail of the first trimester. I kept this baby a secret for so long, I’m now word vomiting the truth of these past couple of months all over your screen. Sorry about that.

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Whoa, Baby

March 2, 2015

I kind of always thought that pregnant women who expressed repulsion at the thought of vegetables were maybe, possibly, just a little bit exaggerating. How can a capsicum make you want to cry, yet a bag of potato chips bring indescribable joy? I just didn’t get it.

Well, for the past couple of months, the thought of zucchini has made me want to barf. I get it. I’m there. I’m pregnant. Now where the heck are my french fries?

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Plum Spelt Cake

February 28, 2015

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My parents were recently gifted a bounty of plums. Pondering what to do with an abundance of seasonal produce is a lovely thing to think on. Mum and I enjoy our recipe-talk emails, “How about this?”…”I like the ingredients here”…”check out her method”. But these plums, so rich and ripe and romantically toned, how were we to proceed? Mum suggested a cake by Nigel Slater for us to have after brunch one weekend, and after a brief glance at the ingredients list (and the recipe developer), I replied, “Definitely.” Eggs and bacon followed by cake… Yes, definitely.

And when does Nigel Slater ever lead us astray?

When does my mother ever lead us astray?

I’ve spoken about my mum’s kitchen abilities before, but she’s the reason I have kitchen confidence. Because of my mum I know to read a recipe well before cooking (maybe a few similar ones, to gain a deeper understanding of what you’re doing), and then follow my instincts. Mum’s tastes and talent are influenced by her visit to Howqua Dale’s cooking retreat one weekend in the 90’s. This fostered her kitchen confidence and encouraged a love for French provincial-style cooking, which is something we in the family are always grateful for, as mum makes the most divine coq au vin and similar preparations. Mum also knows a good cake recipe when she sees one.

Hence, this beauty.

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