Monthly Archives

August 2017

Peanut + Coconut Sauce

August 20, 2017

In recent months, I have become very fond of meal planning. I used to be good at creating meals on the fly, and while I suppose I still am (indeed I can create a very tasty plate with eggs, legumes or a grain), I felt the need to freshen things up, while closely watching our food budget. Writing a weekly list for our dinners helps me branch out of my go-to repertoire and cook more efficiently. I’ll search for bookmarked recipes or Joan and I will flip through cookbooks in search of inspiration (“This looks good, let’s make it a dinner!”, she’ll say to every single picture). I’m now far more organised in my produce shopping, and far less likely to dash to the shops multiple times over the course of the week, overspending and wasting what I haven’t thoughtfully used. It also helps me ensure that our diet is varied and nourishing, taking into consideration our preferences, requirements and cravings. Truthfully, it’s made me love my job of nurturing my family even more than I already did.

I tend to meal plan when Joan is happily playing on her own, when the three of us are in the car with Ben driving, or when snuggling Joan in bed as I wait for her to fall asleep. I’ll take note of what we have in the fridge and pantry, refer to my bookmarked “must try” list of recipes, and assess any particular cravings we may have. I then ask Ben for his “eta”s for the upcoming week, meaning his estimated time of arrival home (as these change day-to-day, week-to-week), and plan our meals accordingly. We mostly eat dinner as a family, however if Ben is due home late (which for us, is after 6:30pm), I’ll feed Joan first. I love eating together, the three of us at the table talking about the day and being silly. I also really enjoy the meals when it’s just us two. For months and months and months (and months and months) I used to remain beside Joan while she slept, both during the day and from around 7pm, when she would usually be tired for bed. It’s only recently that she’s stopped being so wakeful and dependent on me in that regard, so it’s a real treat for Ben and I to sit on the couch together with dinner and Netflix (with the volume playing! And no subtitles!). We both enjoy spaghetti for date nights, so I often put pasta on the menu if Ben’s having a late night. It’s also a meal I know Joan will happily eat, without me needing to eat alongside her for modelling purposes. I save new dishes for the nights she’s not eating alone. When we’re all together, I gravitate towards things that require a little more “action time” in the kitchen, things that need a hot pan and my full attention, instead of simply simmering away for hours in a pot. And rice. Together, we have rice. Rice with curries, rice with dahl and rice with peanut + coconut sauce. I make sure to save these dishes for when Ben is home in time for dinner. There’s something about rice that makes him feel particularly nourished. Many of Ben’s family meals growing up involved rice, so I’m sure that influences his affection. I feel the same way about lentils and tuna casserole, and it warms my heart to know that we’re creating the same kind of associations for Joan.

Earlier this week I planned on making this peanut + coconut sauce for when Ben was working from home. A 5pm dinner meant I was able to take photographs before it became too dark, so, here they are. Dinner photographs are a rarity this time of year. Next week I’m planning on making falafel bowls and a recipe from Julia’s new cookbook. I’m still pondering what else to put on my list.

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Happenings 7.8.17

August 7, 2017

* written over the months of July and beginning of August.

DOING: sitting on our couch. For a little while, Joan was back to needing me close when she slept, but that’s passed (for now). These days I often find myself journalling during her nap, curled up on the couch with a hot drink.

HEARING: the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack (the Keira knightly version), playing via YouTube. I’ve got headphones in and it’s loud. I love loud piano. To think of all the years I yelled down the hall to my older brother, “Stop playing piano so loudly!”. Ha.

LOOKING: forward to Joan’s second birthday. We’re having a party with a small group of loved ones on the day she turns two. There’ll be coffee + breakfast food + cake, as well as balloons and bubbles. Joan has been interested in birthdays for a while, ever since she began associating them with cake + candles (what’s not to love?). Most days, at random moments, she will announce, “Joanie birfday Awwwwgust!”, and I have been itching to throw her a special party with a few of her favourite people.

DRINKING: A turmeric latte (like my previous happenings post, made with this powder I was kindly sent to sample). I drink one of these golden beauties at least three times a week, as I find them supremely warming in this frosty weather. I’ve also been drinking a lot of green tea lately. Years ago I was bonkers for the stuff, but I went off it when I was pregnant with Joan. Green tea is now back in my life, many days replacing my morning coffee *GASP!!!!* I’ve been a coffee lover for a long time, but since coming home from Byron Bay (where I was having two cups most days, mind you), I haven’t wanted it as often. I think this change in desire is mostly due to the fact that I now have dedicated work times, and I’m not simply trying to fit it in here and there. I adore the ritual of making a coffee, the flavour, too, but I REALLY love the buzz it gives me, the boost in productivity. When Joan was younger and napping more often (and for longer blocks), I would fuel myself with a cup of coffee and work while she slept (and I also craved a cup to help keep me awake). These days, I cannot realistically get work done this way. She doesn’t nap long enough (an hour, if I’m lucky), so I cannot properly sink my teeth into anything. Paying bills, organising and writing blog posts, I can do. Work? Nope. So I save it for the hours I have dedicated childcare (which in my case, involves family coming over) and on the weekends when Ben is home. I didn’t realise coffee for me was so inextricably linked to work, but there you go.

WANTING: an outdoor couch. I have my eye on this one. I dream about lounging on it while breastfeeding a newborn next year in the Spring or Summer time…

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