- 3 mushy tomatoes (on their last legs – perfect!)
- 1/8C balsamic vinegar
- A few sprigs of fresh herbs (optional, I used thyme and sage, 1t of mixed dried herbs would be fine too)
- 1/8t sea salt
- 1/16t xantham gum
- 1t agave
- Extra sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Roughly chop tomatoes, and place in a small baking dish.
- Pour over balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt, sugar and throw herbs on top.
- Bake in a low oven (approx 120 degrees C) for at least 1 hour, the longer the better – I left them in for 1 1/2 hours.
- Turn off oven, and if you have the time, leave tomatoes inside until oven cools down. You want most of the liquid to be absorbed by the time you go to blend, otherwise it will be too runny.
- Once tomatoes are at a reasonable (safe) blending temperature, whiz in a food processor with agave syrup, salt and black pepper.
- Add xantham gum and process until sauce thickens.
- Chill in fridge until ready to serve.
- 250g extra firm tofu
- Soy sauce
- Press tofu, wrapped in paper towels or a clean tea towel underneath something heavy (I use a big stack of plates, but heavy books are good too) for at least 2 hours.
- Slice into pieces and marinate in soy sauce. I find the best way is the pour a few T of soy onto a plate, place tofu on top and then flip over pieces so they are all coated nicely.
- Slice into matchstick for little fries if you like, once the soy has had a chance to soak in.
- Grill at 200 degrees C for 6-8 minutes, flip pieces over, and repeat on the other side.
- Season with a little extra sea salt if you have sodium problems like me.
This is a great little snacky-appetizer for two. Viper loves these, and for some reason I find it very attractive when a man will enthusiastically eat tofu. Not when he eats too many of these little chippies though, because I want some too.
Any weird fears you would like to admit to? Go on…acknowledgement is the first step. It doesn’t matter how silly it seems. One of my girlfriends is petrified of cotton wool balls… she actually runs away from them – she says they make her feel physically ill. Something about the squeakiness of them? Anyway, she thought I was nuts for avoiding the car parking building and parking a million miles away from the shops, so I can think she is crazy for her cotton wool craziness. It’s all quite amusing really.
I think Misty has problems. Not only does he think biting me is hilarious, he has now turned his hand (or sticky fingers) to pinching, yes, pinching. Not quite as bad as biting with those sharp little flesh tearing spikes, but painful nonetheless. He even bit his Grandmother while we were in Sydney (not my Mum, my MIL) she was not impressed. It hurts. He thinks it’s a riot.
On the subject of babies (nice sweet, non violent babies) I have a lot of baby oil hanging around my house. What do you do with 5 bottles of the stuff? Misty is 12 months old now, and I think I’ve used baby oil 3 times. I once poured some into the bath, immediately regretting my actions as not only did I have a wet wriggly baby, but a super oiled up slippery wet wriggly baby. Not a smart idea.
I tried to use it as a massage oil, but I find liquid oils annoying. They go everywhere and don’t seem to soak into the skin very quickly.
What to do?
Make some lotion out of it, that’s what.
First up, if you could have any flavour of baby, I would have to go for a chocolate one. Viper loves chocolate covered Jelly Babies, they are a particular favourite.
I’m really not a fan of the Chico Baby though… the concept is good but the execution not so much. I was only introduced to them recently; a crazy Aussie thing I suppose. Just not my thing. Stick to the fruity flavours, and dip them in chocolate, not a chocolate flavoured jelly. Ew.
Anyway, getting off subject.
- I infused half a cup of baby oil with 1/8C cacao nibs and 2t cacao powder. Just chuck the whole lot together in a jar, and leave it for a week, shaking every few days.
- After a week or so, strain the oil through cheesecloth, squeezing out as much of the chocolatey oil as you can (you will lose a little of the oil, so you end up with about 1/3C)
- In a small saucepan combine the oil with an equal quantity of grated beeswax, and 1/8t baking soda.
- Gently heat until beeswax melts, and pour it straight into a jar.
You are limited by your imagination to what flavours you could infuse into the oil – I’ve done vanilla pods, pineapple (chunks of dried) and fresh ginger, mint and lemon.
I find a massage lotion a lot more user friendly, and the chocolate smells so good I might want to bite a chunk out of Misty instead of the other way round.
It’s been so great discovering this little world of healthy food enthusiasts… it’s really inspired my kitchen creations. I used to get in a lot of ‘food ruts’ – eating the same sort of things day in, day out.
Nowadays, I get so excited to create new recipes, or try other blogger’s recipes.
Actually, reading blogs of any description has really got my creativity cranking. I’m having so much fun just making STUFF. For some reason, I have a lot more focus these days. Maybe it’s because the time I have to get a little project completed is usually pretty short. Either when Misty’s sleeping or after dinner is about it… not like ‘back in the day’ before child where I just had too much time on my hands to know what to do with.
I made this washable snack bag as I am so sick of using plastic snap lock bags for Misty’s snacks when we are out and about. So much plastic. This is great as it is a light vinyl-you can wipe it out, or chuck it through the washing machine.
I can’t help defacing things, even with a sewing machine. Angry apple.
I’m always wanting new and different non dairy milk ideas… I’ve made home made almond, coconut and brown rice milks. They were all good, but not great if you know what I mean. Store bought almond milk is not that flash here down under, and it’s super expensive so not really worth it. Home made coconut milk is good for cooking, but not so tasty in coffee or tea (which I drink a LOT of). I actually mix my home made coconut milk with Dr Bronner’s amazing soap and use it as shampoo. It really is wicked knickers stuff.
I stumbled across the idea of tahini milk while reading Gena’s blog. Awesome. Tahini is one of my favourite things, and I love mixing it into soy milk with a touch of agave and cinnamon already. I whipped up the recipe and it was love at first sip. Great on it’s own, or over cereal.
I had about a half cup of this recipe left over (the barley) I chucked it in the freezer, not wanting to waste it. After returning from Sydney to an empty fridge, I pulled it out to feed my hungry beast. I was being a lazy Mama and didn’t want to spoon feed it to Misty, and was bored so I decided to bake it into something.
Baked Barley Fridge Scrape:
- 1/2C this recipe
- 1T ground flax seed mixed with 3T water to make a flax egg
- 1/8t baking soda
- 1/16t baking powder
- 5t coconut flour (I reckon chickpea flour would work well too, the texture might be a little different, but would be good)
- Combine all ingredients.
- Spoon into a lined baking tray (a mini muffin pan would be great but I don’t have one, so I used a tiny loaf pan – 10cm in length)
- Bake for 30 minutes at 170 degrees C.
- Turn off oven, take the bake out of the pan and flip onto a cooling rack upside down.
- Put back into oven (which is turned off) and let the bottom dry out a bit until the oven had cooled down completely.
Seemed to go down a treat. Fruit, flaxy and easy to hang on to – no Mama spoony needed.
Anything new/creative/fun you’ve made or discovered recently?
- 1/4C coconut flour
- 3/4C brown rice flour
- 1/2t baking soda
- 1/4t baking powder
- 3T maple syrup
- 2T cacao powder
- 1/8t salt
- 1/4C non dairy milk
- 1 1/2t lime juice
- 2 bananas, mashed with a fork.
- Combine all ingredients, place in a lined loaf tin (or whatever shape you like, my loaf tin is 20cm in length- you can chop this into bars)
- Bake for 12-15 minutes at 170 degrees C, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. (If you under cook it, it’s like a gooey brownie)
I cut the cake (it’s not really a cakey texture, more dense and ‘bar’ like but let’s just call it a cake) in half, and spread with Cho-fu chocolate pudding. I stacked one half on top of the other and covered with the remaining pudding. Decorations: plastic babies optional.
If I wasn’t going to frost it, I’d make some of this, chop into chunks and fold through the mix before baking. The chunks stay kind of gooey, so it’s like ‘fresh outta the oven melty chocolate’ every time. Awesome. The plain cake (sans chunks or frosting) is Misty’s favourite breakfast, served with plain yoghurt (a fav of mine too).
We kind of went with a theme of “SnugglePot and CuddlePie” for the party – for those of you outside of Australia, these little characters are an Australiana type thing, based on a children’s story book by May Gibbs written in the 1920s.
These are gum-nut babies… there is one boy and a girl – we thought it a fitting theme as Misty and Mopsy were born on the same day.
I actually found some retro Cuddlepot and SnugglePie fabric at a thrift store, with all of the illustrations on a cotton drill type material. I made Mopsy a patchwork blankie for her birthday out of it – forgot to take a photo though, doh.
The babies live in the gum nuts from the Eucalyptus tree. The illustrations are inspired by the native bush lands in Western Australia where May Gibbs played as a young child.
Think the cake went down ok. Not sure what happened to all the plastic babies. Hmm.
Misty actually fell asleep and snoozed right the way through the ‘cake bit’ – I think he has inherited his Mama’s partying style – go too hard, too early on, and end up sleeping through all the good bits. Hmmm. Don’t peak too early.
I eat a lot of fruit. A lot. Perhaps a little too much? How much is too much? I don’t care, I love the stuff. Today I had an apple, a pear, 2 bananas, 6 prunes, and sculled a bunch of the fruity beverage featured below. That’s a pretty normal fruit day. Viper hardly ever eats fruit. I don’t get it; I don’t feel right if I don’t get in at least a couple pieces of fresh fruit a day. Misty is working on a couple of chompers at the moment, so apart from the grizzlies, he is off his usual solid fare. Bring on the smoothies – he is guzzling back a tasty combo of banana, pineapple and coconut milk as I type. Chunks of frozen watermelon seems to be helping those sore gums too.
My thing is pineapple at the minute. Oh yes, we have entered the pineapple-kick territory. As the pattern goes with my fruit consumption, I tend to go too hard, too fast. I get excited and go overboard. With pineapple in particular, this can have horrible results. Enter the sliced and diced mouth and tongue. Those tasty fibres are sharp. I have found blending it up helps this problem, and opens up a new world for pineapple creativity without the bleeding mouth.
I made this for Misty and me the other day… and am now looking at other ways to use up copious amounts of pineapple juice and puree I have hanging around.
The beauty of these recipes are that canned pineapple if just fine to use if you don’t have access to tropical fruit as I do… just try to use the varieties that don’t contain added sugar.
Photo from week in Sydney… this was at an amazing water front cafe called the Boathouse at Palm Beach (for those in the know, near where ‘Home and Away’ is filmed. No, I didn’t run into Alf… ‘stone the flamin’ crows!)
Use for Juice:
Pineapple and Mint Kombucha
I’m totally digging home brew Kombucha… so delicious and ridiculously easy once you have the appropriate fungi. Thanks to Kaitlyn from The Tie Dye Files for the how-to guide.
- 1/2C pineapple juice
- 2t lime juice
- 1 litre of brewed Kombucha
- Handful fresh mint
Purpose for Puree:
Pineapple Fluff Sprinkle
I use this sprinkle to add texture to things like tofu pudding, yoghurt, ice cream or oatmeal/cereal combos. Love the crunch of buckwheat, and the coconut flour is so good when it soaks into any kind of liquid. You could use any kind of fruit puree if pineapple is not your thing – apple, mango, peach, pear, apricot. All good.
- Pineapple puree (225g pineapple blended with 1/4C water)
- 1C raw buckwheat groats
- 1/2C coconut flour
- 1/4t sea salt
- 2t coconut oil, melted
- 1-2T liquid sweetener, depending on your sweetie preference (I used apple juice syrup concentrate – agave, rice syrup, even maple would all be fine)
Combine all ingredients, either place in a dehydrator or do what I did and spread on a lined baking tray for 1 hour at 120 degrees C. Lower to 100 degrees C for another 30 minutes. Turn off oven, leaving tray inside until it has cooled down completely.
Pineapple Fluff Sprinkle with toasted pepitas and Green Monster Tofu Pudding (recipe coming). Crap picture as this was a night time snack, and there is no light.
Fruit consumption? Big, non existent or in between? Fresh/dried/canned frozen? Fruity thoughts?
Sydney really is ridiculously beautiful.
I’m so glad to be back in Queensland though. Uncomplicated, consistent, cruisey Queensland. It is my home now.
Misty is my hero. He is the most chilled out groovy dude I know – still smiling after being dragged from car to bus to plane to ferry. I cracked the shits before he did.
Some people really need more fruit in their lives.
I am so glad to be home with Boosty, I missed her a lot. Even if she did chew through 8 tennis balls in 5 days.
Even if people laugh at you for decorating a birthday cake with spinach, plastic babies and chocolate flavoured tofu frosting it still tasted delicious and didn’t melt on a 30 degree day.
Well said. Well said.
- 1/4C barley (pearl)
- 1 coconut milk
- 3/4C pureed pineapple (canned is fine, just look for one with no added sugar)
- Pinch sea salt
- Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, and reduce to a simmer, stirring every now and again.
- Wait until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed (maybe 20-30 minutes) turn off heat, pop a lid on the pan, and let the barley soak up the rest.
- Puree in a food processor.
- 2 bananas, each sliced into about 6 pieces diagonally
- 2t coconut flour (dessicated coconut would work too, but coconut flour is just magic)
- 3t agave
- 2T water
- Squeeze of lime juice
- Mix agave, water, lemon and coconut in a bowl.
- Toss banana through, coating well.
- Heat a fry pan with a little coconut oil, cooked slices of banana for a couple of minutes each side until golden brown.
- Let cool a little before serving (they are actually really good if you chuck them in the fridge so they harden up even more – we did that today as it was so hot outside, I couldn’t handle the thought of eating warm food).
Sorry there is no food involved in this post – I’ve been meaning to write Misty’s birth story for 12 months, so his birthday was motivation enough to complete it. Sorry to all those who are squeamish/not interested… this is all about me and Misty and that’s all that matters.
It all started with an eggplant.
Well, kind of.
I had got to the end of the list of ‘natural methods of induction’ - you know the ones – eating spicy food, walking, driving down a bumpy road, eating pineapple, certain yoga poses, and so on, when I discovered that apparently eggplant parmigana was one of the “sworn by” tricks to get baby moving. I like eggplant anyway, so decided to give it a crack.
Oregano and basil are the key ingredients (supposedly) which will encourage bubs to get a wriggle on.
Anway, Viper and myself were sitting down to our baby-inducing Italian meal when we received word that our Sister-in-Law, Netsky was going to be induced. Randomly we were both due around the same date – both first time baby ovens. We knew we were having a little boy, Netsky and D-Max however were awaiting a surprise.
We decided to light a candle for Netsky and our little niece or nephew who would soon enter this crazy world. A glass of wine was also called for (my midwife said a wine might relax me enough to go into labour, hey, I wasn’t going to argue with that!) So we toasted the impending birth(s), ate our eggplant and went to bed.
2am. Ouch. Go back to sleep, probably just a cramp.
20 minutes later. Ouch. Hey, there goes another one.
I lay there wondering if this was it. I had had the odd niggle for the previous few days, but nothing consistent. These tweaks were beginning to form a pattern.
4am. Up around the house, pacing – bracing myself against each wave. Such a bizzare pain, contractions cannot be explained to someone who has not experienced one. Closest I can get to a description is a really bad cramp that starts in your back, wraps around your front, tightening and squeezing, reaching a peak and then ebbing away gradually. My midwife liked to call them ‘waves.’ Suppose that sounds nicer than a ’holy gosh golly gee that really really hurts like a mumma F*&^in vice squeezing my lady bits.’
4:45am. Wake up Viper. Tell him he’s is not going to work today. We are having a baby.
Put on dressing gown with big hood, drape it over my head and make a big pot of raspberry leaf tea. Try to sip away at it, everything (including water) makes me want to yak. Viper doesn’t know what to do, so he does the only thing he knows – puts on records. He makes some outstanding choices that just fit the mood perfectly.
I sit on the couch, watch the sunrise over the deck and listen to Tracey Chapman’s album of the same name. I hadn’t listened to it in years, neither had Viper – he had no idea why he put it on, but it was amazing. I can’t listen to ‘Fast Car,’ without crying now – just hearing it brings back the emotions of the day like a ‘wave’ dumping down on my head. Love it how music is such a sensory experience like that.
For the next few hours, I paced, braced and peed. Every time I had a contraction, I needed to pee after it. The midwife said the baby pushing down on my bladder (felt more like he was stomping on it). Boosty followed me around and around the house as I paced, and bewteen contractions I literally spaced, lay on the bed and zombied out. It was pretty surreal.
So many phone conversations with the nurses at the hospital. Wait 2 more hours, then come in. It was already 12pm, I felt like I had been going for days. 2 more hours? You’ve got to be kidding. Take a Panadol, they would tell me. Panadaol? You’ve got to be kidding. I’ll give you a Panadol. Viper decided to go to the pharmacy and get some anyway (I think he just needed to feel like he was doing something to help). While he was gone, I noticed I was bleeding, and that was it. As soon as Viper returned, I said, ‘We are going to the hospital. Don’t argue with a contracting woman.’
Let me tell you, having a contraction in the car, sitting down at a red light is not fun. Although we only live about an 8 minute drive from the hospital, it was the longest 8 minutes of my life. Not good, not good. Viper dropped me off at the door to the hospital, and peeled off to get a park. The labour ward was on the 3rd floor, so I had to take the elevator, which was crammed full. And I was having a contraction. Pretty funny to think about it now; at the time I was not laughing. I was putting all my energy into trying not to scream every obscenity under the sun, and hoping I wouldn’t wee myself.
Finally, to the labour ward! Hurrah! Why do they have those dumb sliding doors where you have to push a button and wait for someone to open it? Yeah, yeah, security, I know – right now I think I’m your biggest threat. Squawked out my name to someone, and they showed me to a room… pacing continues. Can barely think let alone try and explain anything to the midwife.
Turns out I was 8cm dialated – the midwife said she was about to send me home even before checking me as I seemed too calm to be that far along. Calm? Really? Woah, you must come across some pretty crazy ladies in these parts. Someone in the next room sounds they they are being brutally murdered. Or they are a wounded wilder beast. Either one will do.
Viper returns. I barely noticed. He said he kept asking me questions, and trying to talk during the whole thing. I have no recollection. He says, ‘yeah, you were definitely off in another world.’ I prefer to think of myself as keenly focused on the job at hand. Probably the first time in my life I properly focused on anything, but hey, better late than never.
Anyway this is turning in to a mega post, so I’ll get to the good bits. My waters broke. It was disgusting. It stunk and made me want to vomit. Sorry.
I felt the urge. You know? The urge. I needed to push. At this point, I kinda got scared. I was worried I didn’t know what to do. That seems crazy to write now, because your body just does what it needs to do, but I remember feeling frightened.
Basically, Misty had a huge head (he gets that from Viper, ha) so it took awhile working on getting him out. Countless positions and the constant disappointment of actually feeling him coming down down down – not quite far enough – then sneaking his way back up again… it was exhausting. We also found out at this point, that Mopsy had been born – I was so far from caring at this point – but it is pretty awesome that these two little cuzzies were born 2 hours apart. Apparently Viper was all excited yelling, ‘They had a girl!’ I grunted, ‘I don’t f&*9ing care.’ So rude. They have this regulation at the hospital that after 1 hour of pushing, they call in the doctor to assist (read: forceps and other hideous instruments of baby torture). My midwife was awesome, and fought for me, saying – give me 2 more contractions, and we will have this baby out.
I don’t know how or where that extra bit of energy was dredged up from but we did it. I now know why my midwife called the stage where the head is out, “the ring of fire.” There was a bit of confusion on that last push as the midwife yelled, ‘thatta girl!’ at me, and Viper thought she was saying, ‘it’s a girl!’ – we had found out at the 12 week scan that Misty was a boy. Viper had a momentary panic that we had a daughter, but that was quickly rectified. Confusion sorted; I was in shock. A screaming slippery thing was placed on my chest and I didn’t know what to do. Through all that focus and physical exertion, I actually had forgotton I was having a baby. I was so intent on getting this thing out of me, that the fact it was my son never crossed my mind.
Viper said at that moment, my face just went from one extreme to another – intense pain, to shock, to amazement.
Best moment of my life. I welcomed my baby boy.
Happy birthday dude. You rock my world.
So I’m leaving.
Off for a adventure in New South Wales… Sydney here we come… birthdays, bubbles, beach, family, friends, catching up, eating, swimming wine drinking, sharing, laughing, walking, and just enjoying are all on the cards I hope. I’m not sure if or when I’ll be able to post, so I’m not being a hater, I’m just hanging with my family. I’ll try and put up some pictures, stories, whatever when I get near a computer.
…random graveyard wandering
A few things:
- I think I’m going to have kitchen withdrawals. It’s so weird for me not to use my kitchen at least 3 times a day for some sort of creating. I’m nervous about making Misty’s birthday cake in unfamiliar territory – am I a weirdo? I’m stressing about where I’m going to make the cake. Creep.
- Misty hates meat. Seriously, every time I give it to him, he picks around it, eats every thing else off his tray, and then drops the meat piece by piece onto the floor and laughs at it. I’ve resorted to trying to sneak the meat in – hiding it in a meaty version of my sorta socca, with some polenta thrown in as well. Boosty enjoyed it. Viper said, ‘You’re making him a weirdo hippie kid,’ rude. I’m trying to give him meat… he won’t take it.
- Listen to your intuition. Mine has been spot on as of late, but I still have trouble tuning in. Go with your gut, mine rarely fails me; I just fail to tap in and harness it.
- If something lovely happens, however small or seemingly insignificant, do something good to thank the universe for it. Karma, paying it forward, whatever you like to call it, pass on that good energy as more will be created with these actions.
- If in doubt, doubt start crying. People are always nicer to the crying lady with the cute baby.
I’m a snuggler from way back.
This was my first snuggly – it’s a flannelette pillow case that was made for me by one of our neighbours when I was super little. Me and my sister both got one – I’m not sure how/why but I’ve hung onto it for all these years, and now Misty has inherited it (a pillowcase and a record collection, that’s about all of value we have to bestow on Misty, poor dude). I think it’s kind of a cool synchronicity that this pillow case has both pink and blue koalas, and I ended up living in Australia, meeting an Australian boy, and then giving birth to a baby Australian. The fortune-telling snuggle pillow case. Ooooky spooky.
Back to the snuggling. I’ve always been obsessed with pillows. I usually carry one around with my when I’m at home, especially in winter, and snuggle it into my belly when I’m sitting down. I have a special bedtime pillow which I sleep with in the fetal position. Viper named that one ‘Clutchy’ as I sleep clutching it so tight. Viper says, ‘I wish you’d love me as much as you love your Clutchy,’ and ‘I could be your Clutchy sometime if you like’ Nah, Clutchy rocks my world, dude.
Misty has inherited the snuggly/clutchy gene. Maybe he was infused with all the snuggly-ness while in utero – being pregnant means you NEED some sort of Clutchy at night just to get in a decent position; I needed a Clutchy between my legs, and one to Clutch. He loves pillows and cuddling into them. He especially loves the koala Snuggly. He grabs our couch pillows, throws them on the floor and launches himself onto them. An energetic snuggler. Before he goes to bed at night, he gets to watch, “In the Night Garden,” as it gets him in the zzzz-ing mood. He lies down on the floor in front of the TV, with a pillow and quietly watches. Too cute.
I wanted to get him something snuggly orientated for his birthday. I looked at a few options – little tiny fold out couches, beanbags (no way, not with a dog and son that like to eat little things ie beans) nothing was right, nothing was snuggly/groovy/special enough. Everything just seemed cheap, nasty, boring and just another thing to add to land fill in a few years.
It’s hot where we live, even in the middle of winter, a light doona (duvet, throw, quilt, cozy blanket, whatever you call them) is all you need. Misty has a nice feather one for the colder months, so the piles and piles of baby blankets we were given as presents aren’t really a necessity. I didn’t want to throw these out, or donate them, they were gifts so I needed to find another use for them. I also had a bunch of pillow inserts that were on their last legs – too ratty to donate, didn’t want to just throw them out and again add to waste.
So, I made my own Snuggly/Clutchy for Misty. Cost me about $1.50 in some groovy retro fabric from a thrift store, and some velcro.It’s just a big pillow case (2 seams) with some velcro sewn in at the top, so you can still take out the blankets etc and use them if need be. (Sneaky storage, love it).
Yip, seems to be a winning Snuggly. I think Viper is going to be jealous. Anything science fiction, and he starts to dribble. Geek.
Maybe I’ll have to make Viper his own special Snuggly. He’s the only one left without one. Yes, even Boosty has one out in her little Boosty Box (Boosty Box and Boosty Snuggly both made by Viper, he’s actually a really good sewer – his Mum’s Mum’s Mum was the seamstress for the Queen’s Mother if that makes sense? It’s in the genes).