7 months of gratefulness & a lovely Chia Strawberry Jam which tastes like spring 

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Enjoying a spring day in San Anton Gardens in Attard

When I started writing this blog post last week, I was sitting on a bench next to a pond in San Anton Gardens, breathing in the lovely smells of flowers, feeling a mild spring breeze in my hair and watching the birds fly in the sunshine. Now I finish it sitting it in the same spring sun next to the sea with my darling Zoe playing happily away in her pram next to me. Have I ever imagined mummy life like this a few months ago?? Nope, I definitely haven’t. Sometimes I even think it’s too good to be true… And while I know from my fellow mummy friends that in a few weeks things might change drastically when our babies start to crawl and walk I’m even more devouring these quiet, peaceful moments in the now:) .

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Chilling in Gozo with my parents. Zoe loves the sea just as much as we do.

A few days ago our little sunshine turned 7 months. Yes, of course she still wakes up at night and interrupted sleeps are part of my life, and yes, even though Zoe is a very happy and content baby, she also cries at times but all in all I must officially say I’m a freaking happy and grateful new mum and I fall in love with being a mummy even more every day. Who would have ever imagined the love I would feel? The worry when Zoe sleeps so deeply that I have to check her belly breathing (yes, paranoid. I know)? The joy when she cracks a huge smile as soon as I open the door to her nursery in the morning? But also the peace and tranquility when she’s nursing or napping and allows me to have a bit of time to myself, to sit next to the sea like now and to give me a chance to breathe, think, reflect and to feel happy, free, inspired and open. Have I ever sat on a bench in a past just enjoying the moment and being grateful so much?

A baby definitely changed my perspective on many things. I take each day by each day. Each night by each night. I try to go inside myself more often and listen deeply to myself: Am I happy? Am I doing the right things? Am I taking the right decisions? I’m a strong believer in the sayings “Happy mummy – happy baby” and “You have to be happy to make others happy” so I try to live accordingly to them.

What I’m definitely learning at the moment is to put ourselves first. Not to always please others, always doing others a favor, learning to say no – it’s a hard lesson for me but I’m getting better. I also think much more about my own childhood than ever.  How our parents raised us and what a great influence it makes later in life. Recently my parents came to visit us in Malta and for the first time I was consciously aware of how incredible it must be to see you own child have their own baby. The gift of life is something so incredible and I catch myself more and more reflecting on it. What will our future be like? What will our children’s future be like? Every topic on sustainability, be it protection of nature, saving the planet from too much rubbish, overfishing of the sea, politics, wars, terrorism, diseases like cancer on the rise.. The list goes on and on. Every time my head starts spinning by all these thoughts I gently remind myself that all we can do is be aware of the now, be grateful for every moment and every day and trying to be happy, sharing the happiness and enjoying the little joys of life to the max <3 . Yoga has helped me learn this over the last years and little Zoe teaches me to do it even more! I remember my dear friend saying at our wedding ceremony “Shine brightly, together” and I think it’s important passing this on to our children.

So I try not to be nostalgic that our little baby girl is growing by the day, that all our favorite outfits are getting too small (yes, I know – I have to sort them out!), that she’s slowly getting too heavy for long walks in the baby carrier, that I can’t see, cuddle and kiss her non stop when she’s in her big new stroller.. – stop! No! I try to do exactly what she does – enjoying to see and learn new things everyday and enjoying the moment of life you’re right at NOW 😊

Which finally brings me, of course, also to eating and enjoying to cook lots of wonderful spring foods Malta has to offer right NOW! Be it citrus, artichokes or strawberries.. The fruit and veggies in the spring are just as fresh as inspiring and just as delicious as easy to prepare! As most of you know I’m a big fan of easy cooking and all these ingredients can be transformed into lovely meals without spending hours in the kitchen. Be it a nice fennel citrus salad, steamed artichokes with a parsley egg and lemon dip or the recipe for yummy and healthy strawberry chia jam which I’m sharing with you today!

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Tastes like spring! Strawberry Chia Jam

Strawberry Chia Jam

Probably all of you know the benefits of the super food chia seeds by now, but to sum it up briefly, chia seeds are a great source of plant protein, contain Omega 3 and 6, have a positive effect on cholesterol levels and help digestion. They can help you you lose weight (even more if you use this jam instead of normal one!😉 ) because they have a low carbohydrate, are rich in natural magnesium, contain many essential nutrients and can therefore strengthen the immune system. As always I try to get organic whenever I can, for my superfoods I love the products of my Austrian friends of Green Panda but of course any chia seeds will do the job. You can take black chia, white chia, the whole seeds, ground seeds – they all work the same. Chia seeds have binding properties which makes them perfect for puddings (recipe here), jams or in baking.
If you don’t have strawberries at hand you can also try other berries like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries etc. You can add different notes of flavors likes orange blossom water, rose water, vanilla, cinnamon – play with it!

What you need…
(for a small jar)

As a rule of thumb 2 cups of washed and chopped fruit plus 2 table spoons of chia seeds work very well. For a thicker texture add a bit more chia. 

  • 2 cups of washed and chopped strawberries (or other fruit)
  • 2 table spoons of chia seeds
  • 2 table spoons of orange juice (alternatives: lemon or lime, rose or orange water)
  • Agave or maple sirup according to your sweet tooth (honey for the raw version is nice too)

What to do…
Mash or roughly chop washed strawberries depending if you like your chia jam rather fine or chunky. Heat them up in a small pot on medium heat, I added some blueberries which I had to use up but only strawberries are fine, too. Add a bit of fresh orange or lemon juice, the sweetener of your choice and let it simmer for a few minutes until it reduces and gets nice and thick. Turn of the heat. For a raw version simply blend it all in a processor instead.

Now add the chia seeds and let it stand for a while. The longer it stands the thicker it gets but I’d wait at least 15-20min. If you’re hungry and want to eat your fresh jam right now – go for it and enjoy it some home baked bread or simply brown toast with a lovely cup of tea! Alternatively store it in a jar in the fridge and use it as a yummy topping on your breakfast or on your greek yoghurt as a snack. It even goes well with a  nice goat cheese and with these temperatures it would also be a lovely topping on some banana or chocolate ice cream (recipe here).

Hope you enjoy it and have a lovely new month ahead! For regular food inspiration don’t forget to follow my Facebook fan pay  or Instagram.

Big love & thanks for reading, lovely people
and don’t forget to shine brightly❤

N xx

P.S. I’m also taking new clients for private cooking classes, and an exciting workshop on yoga and healthy food for mummies is in the works so watch this space or get in touch with me for more info.

 

6 months nostalgia & some cosy Curried Cauliflower Soup

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Thumbs up for our first 6 months with our little sunshine

Oups, this month I’m a little late for my monthly new mummy recap… sorry! But hey – it’s only a week since our little sunshine has turned 6 months, and now that I’m sitting down reflecting I can only say: what an exciting first half year it has been. With quite a lot of changes lately… Our nights which were usually quite chilled out (Zoe only woke up once for a quick feed, if even) turned into very interrupted sleep, Zoe was sick for the first time, we therefore called off our holiday, I got sick myself and looked after a sick baby for the first time (all natural with homeopathic remedies and lots of TLC) and just recently she’s sitting in highchair and – I can’t believe that I’m writing this: we finally started her with solids! Ohhhh how hilarious her face expressions were to look at!!!

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The day has come! Our little mouse is starting with home made baby food❤

Isn’t it crazy that something simple like eating can turn into such a big deal? For the last few weeks I kept postponing and postponing it.. I read the later you start (with 6 months at the latest though), the less prone they are to allergies later on and of course this turned out to be my favorite excuse. The truth: even though I’m really into food I also didn’t WANT to start with it earlier! My little baby girl, eating? No more breastfeeding wherever and whenever we need to? How impractical! I must confess, I got very very VERY attached to nursing my sweet little mouse. The idea of introducing her to solids made me somehow realise that it’s only one of the many first steps into her independence. Was I ready for it? Was I ready to put her out of her little cosy babybay into her big cot? Was I ready to introduce her to our now stroller and not only carry her around in our beloved babycarrier? Am I ready to move her into her own room? The list goes on and on and I want to shout out a big loud NO, but the reality is that our sweet little babies, as much as we love them as they are, grow. Every month, every week, sometimes every day something changes and there is nothing which will stop them. It’s the beauty of watching a new life grow and as soon as we get to used to one phase, you can only be sure that the next new phase is just around the corner. Well, life is constant change, and it only makes us grow. Never a dull moment with a baby!!😀

Lately, as winter has finally arrived in Malta, too, I’m really into soups again for dinner. My friend J and I try to keep up our healthy mummy cooking Mondays and soups turned out to be the big star. You can eat them all week and if you’re lucky enough to have some leftovers they are great to freeze and use them when you don’t feel like cooking on another night. Together with some freshly toasted brown bread (I love home baked  bread e.g. rye bread which we’ll make soon on another Monday or this gluten-free bread from one of my favorite blogs My New Roots ) and a nice bowl of greens it makes the perfect comforting weekday dinner. Even better with a glass of red wine and a bit of yummy chocolate on the sofa later on of course! (Did anyone say staying home every night is dull?? Well I can’t agree so far LOL!)

Curried Cauliflower Soup

So easy, yummy and healthy!

Curried Cauliflower Soup

As you know I mostly post about my healthy cooking adventures on my nadisunshine FB page and Instagram several times a week (check it out for inspiration if you aren’t following me yet:) ). The soup star of the month was definitely my curried cauliflower soup and I promised to post the recipe here on the blog, so here you go!

It’s super easy, very tasty and the ingredients are sooo good for you. Cauliflower, just like its siblings broccoli, turnip greens, cabbage and kale, is a cruciferous veggie with tons of health benefits. It’s boasting with vitamin C (amongst many other vitamins and minerals) and is known for it’s anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting, heart boosting benefits and is great for digestion. It’s available locally and on top of that very inexpensive. Paired with curry, turmeric and ginger which are all well known for being great for the immune system (more info here and here as well as my recipe for a Flu Fighter Turmeric Drink which I posted in the past) this soup is not only yummy but an absolute boost for your body and health.

What you need

  • 1 cauliflower, washed and chopped 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • garlic cloves,peeled and chopped
  • 1/2-1 thumb sized of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
  • ca. 1l of vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of dairy free milk or alternatively 1 potato to make it creamy
  • High quality salt (I use Himalayan or local sea salt) and fresh pepper (if you want it a bit spicy take a fresh chili alternatively)

To garnish

  • Make a tray of oven roasted cauliflower by simply roasting another head of chopped cauliflower with coconut oil, curry, turmeric and salt for about 30-40min on 180°C. (This is also a great topping for a salad or a filling for a wrap or sandwich.)
  • Alternatively keep it easy and simply use some fresh coriander

What to do

Heat up the oil in a pot and fry chopped onion, garlic and ginger on medium heat. Add the chopped cauliflower and dust with the spices. Now cover with stock and let it cook gently until it’s soft (20-30min). If you decided to make the soup creamier with a potato also add it with the cauliflower. If you decide for the dairy free milk add it rather towards the end of the cooking time.
Purée the soup  with your hand blender. You can either make it very smooth or keep it a bit chunky which is nice, too. Careful when you blend the soup, the yellow of the curry/tumeric makes bad stains😉. Finish with salt and pepper to your taste. If you opted for chili, add it with the other spices in the very beginning.

Serve with some roasted cauliflower or simply freshly chopped coriander on top, some nice brown bread and a big bowl of greens! Bon appetite:)

Until next time have a good month and don’t forget to follow me on my FB and Instagram lovely readers! I’m curious myself what new baby adventures I’ll have to blog about😉

Big love❤
N xx

 

A 5 month recap & a simple, wholesome veggie soup

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Seems like at least every 6th of the month, when Zoe turns another month older, I finally kick my a** and sit down to blog. It’s a nice opportunity for myself to reflect and recap, to rethink what inspired my, when I was struggling or what particularly went well…

The highlight of the last month was definitely my birthday. Yep, I’m 36 now and I must say it doesn’t feel bad at all. Actually I must even say that I even think this was my loveliest bday ever! I’ver never felt so happy and content within myself.. I got married to the love of my life, we’re blessed with our cutest baby girl, we’re all healthy, live in a safe place, have a wonderful family and circle of friends and don’t have any financial problems. Not only marriage and motherhood but also the current events around us like wars, refugees and young people around us who get cancer, – they all remind me everyday how lucky we are and how grateful we can be. It makes me reflect even more often and reminds me to be aware of all these little things which we often take for granted – until something happens. Let’s not wait too long, let’s practice this gratitude every day and enjoy the wonderful moments of our life as often as we can!! Life is full of them:-) Be it a ferry ride in the lovely winter sunshine to Valletta, when you get your ID card without any hassle, when my hubby Paul sends me an unexpected love message, when baby Zoe manages to turn from her belly to her back (maybe 1 out of 10 times atm😉 – how I admire her for her persistency!) or when people I meet somewhere tell me that they read my blog and really like it, like this morning at our parentcraft reunion at hospital.

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New ID card – check – whoowhoo!

One of the many moments I’m always super happy is our weekly post-natal yoga class at freemyme in Sliema. I’ve been mentioning yoga on my blog many times and I won’t get tired of recommending it to anyone, wherever you are as it’s just creating such a wonderful, positive energy – not only for me, but also for Zoe, I can truly feel it when we do our asanas (poses), the way our day goes after, how well she sleeps etc. I can only recommend it to any mummy of a baby! Once they start crawling it’s too late so better use the chance to do it now:)

Little Yogi

Little Yogi

What I also appreciate and experience a lot these days is the wonderful bond of mummy friends. I remember when I was pregnant I was a bit worried as most of my friends, although some of them have small children, are working full-time and I was scared to be alone all the time once the baby is born. As usual, there was no reason to worry. There is something true about the saying Cross that bridge when you get there. The universe will always offer plenty of opportunities to grab, be it new friends you make in one of the many baby classes, former parentcraft participants but also acquaintances you knew before but became closer, now you share the adventure of being a mummy. It’s beautiful to observe how these relationships can grow and it can never do any harm to either share your worries, provide an ear to listen to someone or simply do something fun together with the little ones. So thank you to all of you out there❤

This week I visited a new-mummy friend who just gave birth to a little gorgeous baby girl. With loving memories and almost a bit nostalgic I was thinking back of these first special weeks and how loved and pampered I felt when friends came to visit me and brought me food, sweets or anything else around. As a dear friend and yoga teacher of mine always says Love is a circle – it was time to give back! So, I decided to make a big pot of hearty and vitamin packed veggie soup with my freshly delivered organic veg from Organic House (thanks to Ruth, who comes for home delivery every Wednesday!), some replenishing wheatgrass (thank you to my GreenPanda friends for your latest parcel!), a taster of my Earl Grey Orange porridge in a jar and of course some sweets and tea. The soup was rather simple, still my friend really liked it and asked me for the recipe so I tried to sit down and write it down. So there we go…

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New-mummy-goodie bag

Wholesome, hearty veggie soup

This recipe doesn’t contain any specific amounts as you can just take equal amounts of different saisonal vegetables, so just play with it. I’d always recommend to include potatoes to make it more filling but if you don’t have any at hand you can always add some small wholemeal pasta, cooked brown rice, or any other grains like quinoa buckwheat or millet later. Talking of these grains, it’s always handy to have some prepared in the fridge so you can use them for soups, warm breakfasts or salads during the week. Even different kinds of beans will work and give you a nice portion of protein like canellini, chickpeas, you name it!

So this time I took equal amounts of potatoes, fennel, leek, carrots and chard but like any other leafy greens only add them for the last couple of minutes when the rest of the veg is already cooked. We don’t want to lose these lovely vitamins! Experiment and get what’s seasonal and local. Anything else will just work as fine (think pumpkin, broccoli, kale, peas, beans etc.)

What you need..

Equal amounts of veg (as described above)
1 filling ingredient carb or protein (as described above)
Water
Olive Oil
Bayleaf
Rock or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Herb & flower mix (I took one of my favorite Austrian organic mixes from Sonnentor called guardian angel – check it out if you speak German, unfortunately their English language version doesn’t seem to work at the moment) but you can also add some of the spices separately like coriander, ginger, mint, garlic, orange peel, cumin, curcuma, sage, paprika, rosemary and sage amongst others.

What to do..

Start with prepping all veg, wash, chop and trim them all in nice bite sized pieces. I personally like to scrub organic veg thoroughly instead of peeling as the skin contain many precious minerals and vitamins. Heat up a generous splash of olive oil on medium heat and start frying the hardest veg, add herbs, add the rest of the veggies (apart from the leafy greens) and fill it up with water so the veg is covered. Cook gently for about 30min, stir occasionally. Taste a bit and season. Last but not least add your pre-cooked grains or beans if you chose to add them.

To make it a bit more decadent add nice shavings of parmesan or a poached egg.

Bon appetite & feel the good energy flow in your veins and dummy:)

I guess that’s it for today! Wishing you all a lovely new month ahead & happy 5 month to our little sunshine Zoe – we love you to the moon an back!

Nadine xx

4 months, a new life & the rediscovery of Thai food

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H is for Happiness (115)

Today a year ago I found out I was pregnant.
Today 4 months ago our sweet little mouse Zoe was born.

4 months in which she hasn’t stopped bringing joy, giggles and love into our house and hearts.
4 months full of new situations, questions, occasional worries, unexpected grins and sudden attacks of love that you’re not sure if your heart is about to break of it.

Words can’t describe how happy I am to have her in our life.

Yes, it’s definitely true that your life is changing dramatically as a mum. Maybe not for everyone.. especially not if, like many women here in Malta, have to go back to work after 4 months (that would be now for me!), often full-time and have to leave their baby in a nursery or, if they’re lucky with nanna (Maltese for granny). But even then, your life will never be the same again as it used to be before. The nights are sometimes interrupted with night feeds and if not you can’t believe it that your baby is so quiet so you just have to go there and check if she is still breathing. Sounds crazy? I know! But suddenly there is this big love and sense for responsibility in you which I’ve never known before. This little human is totally dependent on you, and the way how it trust you is just heartbreakingly beautiful. Today was Zoe’s first baby swimming lesson. Imagine her, floating in a pool, so huge for her in comparison to an adult, but totally relaxed on her back with only my hands supporting gently her head and spine. This is real trust. Do you trust someone that much?

Suddenly you get lots of flashbacks to your own childhood. You start to understand the unconditional love of your parents and how much they care for you. A baby not only shakes up the parents’ life but it has a huge ripple effect. On grandparents, siblings who become proud aunties and uncles, friends – be it girls or guys – who suddenly show you completely new sides of their personality, be it insecurity, softness, affection.. Why? Because they are overwhelmed with the same feeling. The magic of a baby.

Of course a baby is not everybody’s cup of tea. And some people might fade out of your life because you can’t continue your life as it used to be. No more boozy dinners or dancing at festivals on a regular basis, several yoga classes a week and time to hang out after. Your priorities change, but change is good and makes you grow as they say.

Unfortunately also cooking lost some priority for me in my life these days. I’m mainly thinking quick and easy now, and if things can be cooked in bulk, stored for several days or be frozen so I don’t have to cook from scratch everyday. I only realize now, how much time I dedicated to cooking! Thinking that I was into simple food already, I only start realizing now how many trips to different shops for different ingredients it took and how many hours of inspirational reading and the cooking as such I had in hands (next to a bottle of wine of course!). Anyways, this is a new chapter and it’s time to adapt.

One of my recent (re)discoveries is Thai food. I’ve been into Thai food for ages but somehow lost touch with it over the last few years. Now, by coincidence (concretely leftovers from our New Year party inspired me), I came back to it and fell in love all over again!

So let me share our favorite dish these days:

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Thai fried rice 

What you need…
(Serves 4)

  • 1 onion
  • 1 thumb sized ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 ts of soy paste & 1 ts of chili paste (thanks to my friend Hardy for the recommendation!)
  • sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • fish sauce (skip for a vegetarian version)
  • 2 limes
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (I prefer brown)
  • Approx. 500g of chopped veggies (I took peppers and spring onions with the chicken and zucchini with the beef but you can experiment with all kinds of veg)
  • Approx. 500g meat (I took chili and maple sirup marinated chicken strips one day, some beef filet strips the other day and even minced beef another time – worked great with all of them. For a vegetarian version skip the meat or fry some tofu cubes)
  • Fresh cilantro

Heat up the sesame oil in a big pan and start frying the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Add the pastes and mix it.

Add the meat and stir fry it, add the vegetables and sauces and stir fry for another 1-2 minutes. Crack the two eggs on top and mix it all up.

Add the cooked rice and stir. Add some more of the sauces to taste (careful with the fish sauce as it’s quite intense) and another bit of sesame oil.

Serve with lime slices and fresh cilantro on top.

Dinner is ready! (And of course I still have a glass of red wine with it:-)

With these basics you can make any a huge variety of fried rice versions. You can even replace the rice with rice noodles if you want to. Swap the veggies, change or skip the meat as long as you have the rest of the other ingredients.  

So for now, let me go back focus on my little princess who by now woke up and is patiently sitting on my lap and I hope it won’t take too long to blog to you again. So long, keep on following my FB page which is updated more regularly as it’s simply easier and quicker these days than sitting down to write a whole blog post.  Still love it though I must say😉

Wishing you all a very happy new year, filled with good food, giggles and love!

N xxx

H is for Happiness (168)

PS Photos of my pregnant self by the talented Angela from H is for happiness

Exploring our new life & some lovely discoveries on the way 

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..for a review on The Villa Kitchen in Attard (Malta), scroll down

Yesterday, our little sunshine Zoe turned 2 months. Yes, 2 months already since our sweet baby girl was born and has put our world as we knew it upside down! It’s simply incredible how fast time is flying, how much can change in such a short time and yet feel natural and right…

Maybe the journey is not so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. 

Well, I’m definitely discovering this new ME. Being a mummy, being responsible for this wonderful little creature of life, but also to my new role as a mummy wife, a mummy friend, and soon also a mummy without a “normal” job anymore. Yes, sadly my work for SOS Children’s Villages will come to an end next year – but, hey – again – who knows what it’s good for, what new adventures and possibilities are waiting for me?? Of course it’s a lot of change at once and sometimes these changes feel overwhelming. But then, as always, I try to turn every challenge into something positive.. and maybe some of these things might be helpful for others of you in similar situations.

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This new mummy ME

Yes, nothing in your life is as it used to be. There are all these new things to learn, to do, you lack sleep and time for yourself, your partner and all the things you liked to do (like cooking for example – hahaha!!). But when these things start to stress me out I take a deep breath, look at Zoe and become aware of this incredible love and the miracle of life.  The rest I can work on…

No more time for yourself? I’m a big believer in the saying “You have to be happy to make others happy”. So I asked my husband for two outings a week. Be it a gentle restorative yoga class or a healing massage for my aching shoulders and back (hello, night feeds!) – I think us mummies deserve it and have to full right to ask for these little breaks if somehow feasible. For the times he can’t make it (that’s life) we started introducing a babysitter two weeks ago (heart breaking at first but also very liberating). I’m telling you, these are the little things which keep me sane, healthy, relaxed and happy so I can spend all the love and energy on our little bundle of joy just as she deserves❤

No more time to cook? Yes, I know – I actually love to cook. But I only realize now with how much peace and time I used to cook. In the past, after I finished work, I had plenty of time to think about new dishes to try, to go to different places to get ingredients, invite friends for dinners and brunches or to just spend an evening in with some red wine, cooking and experimenting with new things. Well, not for now and the near future I guess😉 But you know what? It doesn’t always have to be like that. Things in our kitchen are getting more simple (even though I always thought I do simple food but still). So when Zoe is napping during the day and I (occasionally) have some energy left, I started cooking bigger batches of food (think soups, sauces, roasted veg) which can be stored or frozen and heated up whenever we need it and we’re too exhausted to cook (which is most of our evenings, ha!)

Also, I use the opportunity and free time to eat out more often! Like this we get a good walk, social time AND – food. Thank god there are some really nice affordable places around here like Mint, Gabbana, Pure, Grassy Hopper just to name a few. So keep your eyes open and also reach out to other people! Babies are a great topic to start a conversation, which brings me to my next point…

No more social life? Yep, even though a baby keeps you busy you suddenly have a lot of free time to spend with your baby. Many of my mummy friends with older kids confessed to me that they got very bored at home, started feeling lonely and thus felt depressed at some stage which isn’t of advantage for anyone, your baby, your partner and yourself.

This challenge is even more difficult if you’re expats like us with no family around and most of your mummy friends go back to work very early (as it’s common here in Malta and many other countries unfortunately). So what to do?? I for myself started reaching out and researching for new activities from the moment I felt recovered from birth (maybe 3-4 weeks after). And you would be surprised how much you find! Why not staying in touch with some people you met at pregnancy yoga or your parentcraft course? Call a mummy-friend which you haven’t seen in a long time and see if you still get along or even better now, that you’re both in the same boat? Also try to stay active. We did a lovely Baby Massage course which Zoe loved and my hubby and I now use the techniques every night for our evening routine. Also, we’re attending a Baby Sensory course where we all learn lots of fun activities to help and strengthen our babies senses (think sounds, colors, textures etc.). In January we want to start with mummy and baby yoga and swimming classes and there is much more to check out in the new year! Just don’t overdo it, otherwise you start feeling overwhelmed which is the last thing you want. For me personally two activities a week are enough but everybody is different of course… What counts in the end is that courses are lots of fun and also a great opportunity to meet new people! Of course you won’t always resonate with all (just because we’re all mummies doesn’t mean you’ll be friends with everyone) but you will surely meet some lovely people on the way which might become good friends one day:)

So this is it so far.. my first conclusions and learnings from the first two months as a mummy! And of course this wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t share something culinary with you in the end. This time it’s a review about a lovely place which I discovered after one of my baby sensory classes in Balzan. The Villa Kitchen in Attard (Malta).

The Villa Kitchen

The Villa Kitchen

Actually I’ve heard about this place several times and I’ve been wanting to check it out in a while. I was never sure if it’s only open temporarily or only in summers but now that I’m in this area every week for our class, this was the chance to check it out! The Villa Kitchen is on the grounds of the beautiful Villa Bologna with their stunning gardens. Also The Veg Box, a small shop for organic vegetables, run by the sweet Emanuela, can be found there. So think gorgeous old Maltese buildings, olive trees, pink Bougainvillea flowers, small patches of vegetables of all kinds and lots of space, peace and quiet. A haven so to say. You can access the Villa Kitchen either from the pottery shop which Villa Bologna is known for, or through the big iron gate of The Veg Box if you have a pram like me.

Very often this is all a place can offer: location. Not with The Villa Kitchen. Run by Marina, a lovely lady who’s originally from Sweden, this place is boasting of charm. It’s very cosy and informal. More like your auntie’s kitchen/ living room (or like you wish it would be in your dreams – ha!)
When we arrived a friend of Marina, Patricia, stood in for her and gave us a super warm welcome. After our first moments of delight having found this place and hungry as only breastfeeding mummies can be, we immediately asked for food which is always different there every day. Patricia offered us freshly cinnamon buns from the oven and told us that she was just preparing a fresh quiche with kale from the gardens for lunch. Of course we wanted all of it! So we started backwards. Cinnamon buns and coffee to start with and quiche with fresh salad for later😀 The babies got fed first and then happily dozed off into their nap while we entered foodie heaven. Not only the buns with their yummy caramel crust were exquisite, but when we spotted the pumpkin risotto and lampuki (which was prepared on order) on the table next to us of course we couldn’t resist trying that either. Accompanied by freshly baked bread there was absolutely NO other place in the world we wanted to be right then! It was simply a feast.. the quiche warm and with a lovely creamy inside, the home-baked bread, still warm with some lovely olive oil, the fresh rucola salad from the garden topped with edible savin flowers, the risotto rich and creamy with hints of curry and sunflower seeds – it was all so simple, yet original and presented in such a pretty way with a big portion of passion and love for what they do. Cooking simple home-made local food.

Marina, a big well done! you’ll definitely see me around more often and I’m more than happy to spread the word for you.

Foodies, don’t miss this place when you’re visiting Attard and don’t forget to combine it with a walk in the wonderful San Anton Gardens.

Big love,

N xx

The calm before the storm.. 

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Dar-Tal-Kaptan Gozo

Dar-Tal-Kaptan B&B, Ghasri Gozo

It’s already a week ago that we went to Gozo for our last little weekend trip before baby arrives and I don’t want to miss the chance to praise the cute gem which we found in Ghasri:  B&B Dar-Tal-Kaptan. Don’t miss to scroll down further for a yummy smoothie recipe and lots of book tips and recommendations how to help pregnancy the natural way.

Review B&B Dar-Tal-Kaptan
From the moment of your arrival, the hosts Peter & Warren spoiled us with their friendliness, a super cosy home with spacious rooms and lots and lots of attention to detail all over. The rooms are all decorated in different themes (ours was Serenity <3) and offer lots of privacy and comfort. We had our own little kitchenette with water, teas, coffee and a bowl of fresh fruit in the fridge waiting for us. The views from our room and own terrace were just lush and green and perfect for a daily gently yoga session in the morning. Blissfulness and calm are the words which come up my mind when I remember these moments…

Breakfast let my foodie heart beat faster. Next to all the usual things like cold cuts and cheeses, fresh fruit and veg, yoghurts, muesli etc Warren made us a different healthy smoothie with interesting combinations in his Vitamix and freshly prepared eggs every day. When you decide to just chill and read at the pool like us (see book tips below), you’ll get cold flavored water with fresh herbs from the garden (think rosemary and lemons) and a little surprise during the day like slices of frozen melon (such a simple and yummy idea!) or an organic apple sorbet.  Peter and Warren are always up for an interesting chat when you feel like it but give you total privacy at the same time. With joy I remember inspiring conversations about food, yoga and traveling…:) It was the perfect place for us to just relax in their wonderful garden, paddle on a lilo in the refreshing pool or reading on a sun bed in the shade and enjoying the sound of the palm trees in the wind and the green around us.

To guarantee absolute relaxation the B&B generally has a no child policy but when you book all 3 rooms you can bring children which we’ll definitely try to organize with our friends in the future.

Thanks for an absolutely wonderful weekend, guys! We’ll surely remember it forever and will try to come again soon:)

The Calm Before The Storm Smoothie
Of course I also had to recreate a bit of a twisted version of Warren’s smoothies, so here comes a yummy new recipe for a healthy smoothie.

Next to lots of goodieness from organic wheatgrass powder (alkalizing), cinnamon (good for digestion), I added my chocolate pregnancy vitamin protein powder, so if you’re not pregnant please take raw cacao and a protein powder of your choice instead (e.g. pea or hemp)

Chocolay green smoothie

What you need..
(1 portion)

  • 1/2 a banana (if you don’t have one at home, I always keep chopped up frozen ones in the fridge – you never know when you feel like the next raw banana ice cream hehe..)
  • 1 cup of milk of your choice (I used organic brown rice but you can take almond, soy, oat or even organic cow’s milk if you drink it)
  • 3 tablespoons of chocolate protein powder (I used this pregnancy powder throughout the whole pregnancy which was great, but you can also just use your favorite protein powder and add 2 teaspoons of raw cacao)
  • 2 tablespoons of wheatgrass (or any other greens like spirulina, chlorella etc.)
  • 2 pinches of cinnamon

What to do..
Easy peasy – put it all in your blender, mix for a minute and enjoy:)

 

Books and other pregnancy tips

Book tip: Bountiful, beautiful, blissful

Book tip: Bountiful, beautiful, blissful

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation
This book is pure bliss and positivity for the bump, heart and soul, even if you’re not into yoga and mediation – I promise. Recommended by my lovely Prenatal Yoga Malta teacher Sarah at the wonderful freemyme in Sliema.

The Gentle Birth Method: The Month-by-month Jeyarani Way Programme
Lots of helpful tips about visualization, relaxation, nutrition and especially holistic recommendations for each week e.g. which areas of the body to work on with reflexology. Talking of reflexology: if you’re lucky to be in Malta go and get some appointments with Cat from Butterfly Therapies, nothing makes you calmer and more centered:)

Die Hebammensprechstunde (freely translated “Consultation-hour with a midwife”)
Recommended by German speaking friends this book is like the bible of natural oriented midwives. Full of tips about herbs, teas, essential oils, homeopathy etc. So so happy I listened and bought it! So far in German only which is a real pity – maybe I should approach the author and propose to market it in English speaking countries😉 Many of the herbal tea and oil mixes you can even buy in pharmacies in Austria and Germany so I asked my mum to send me some. But at least I found some good sources for homeopathy and essential oils here in Malta as well if you’re looking for some get in touch with the lovely homeopath Ashley from Tigne Holistic Centre or the always helpful Charlene from Soap Cafe.

The New Contented Little Baby Book: The Secret to Calm and Confident Parenting
Only in the beginning stages and partly a bit extreme but I get the idea of introducing a routine and will maybe take out some elements (some others definitely not😉

This list of recommendations would not be complete without mentioning Robert Grech from Osteopathy Malta who helped me several times with an existing hip issue which came up again during my pregnancy and was sorted out completely within a few appointments. Yep, you don’t have to suffer physically, just because you’re pregnant – just get help and do something against it!

Also, thank you to Dini Martinez, a lovely friend, yoga teacher and experienced doula who travels the world with her family on a sailing boat (check out Sailing Yoga Family) for holding a great workshop on pregnancy and birth a few months ago which was really inspiring and helpful, too!

Last but not least I also want to say that I’m really impressed and positively surprised by the 7-week-parentcrafts-course organized by the Malta Midwives which is available for free at Mater Dei Hospital. I didn’t expect a lot and took out heaps and heaps of great information. Keep up the great job ladies!

What a network of wonderful people I have in my life, aye? Feeling really blessed and grateful to have you all here on this little island❤

Now all I can say is that I’m super excited and I hope all these preparations will help our big event ahead and maybe help some of you, too. Of course you can never really be fully prepared and everything can always go differently all the time but in the end I think it helps to know what’s gonna happen, what you can do to help to do it the natural way and to tell yourself you prepared yourself as good as you can.

Let’s just hope it will all go well with the final spurt, birth and afterwards and I’ll definitely keep you posted.. One thing I know for sure, it was an amazing process and experience so far and I’m super grateful for all the love around me (you know who you are!), all the things I learned so far and look forward to the new chapter ahead!

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the blog or the nadisunshine FB page.

 

Lots of love & good vibes, especially to all the other mummies to be out there❤
N xxx

Shhhht! Why has it been so quiet in here? About magical surprises, love and of course food.. 

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Yep, I confess I’m guilty. I haven’t been blogging in quite a while and while some of you might not have noticed as my nadisunshine Facebook page (give LIKE it if you haven’t done so yet) is still regularly updated, some others might have noticed a break in posting my own recipes here, on my blog. First, sorry for that! Second, I had a very good excuse for it:) The reason, how it often does, lay in my belly. Not a bad gut, nor a sudden lack of appetite – nope, it was a very simple but also magical reason: nadisunshine is getting a baby❤

Next to this wonderful miracle I also got married to the love of my life recently (which was planned long time before) so you can imagine lots and lots of changes were suddenly coming up in our lives! Not only the idea of becoming a parent, a big life change ahead etc. but also it really affected my big passion of food and cooking. If you still wonder why, let me explain my journey of the last months a bit…

How it all started..

About a year ago I was looking for holistic approaches to boost my fertility in a natural way after we didn’t get pregnant for a while. My research lead me to traditional chinese medicine (TCM) and after joining some free online fertility summits I decided to join a  programme with a TCM practitioner in London starting in January 2015 for three months to bring my body in the best shape possible in a natural and holistic way. Also I knew I would be busy with preparing our wedding in June, so a baby wouldn’t be in the focus of my attention for the coming months ahead. It would rather be a preparation to get my body in best healthy shape for a baby after the wedding. As the story goes something typical happened! Many people often told me you’ll get pregnant when you least expect, just don’t focus on it. Ha, if that was so easy! But yep, I can only confirm it! Two weeks before I was about to start my programme (imagine lots of traveling, parties and Xmas drinking) I fell pregnant and I didn’t even realize/ think of it for a few weeks! Well, but it happened – just as everybody said!

The first trimester – an adventure

Slow cooker beef chili with lots and lots of vegAfter consulting with my TCM practitioner I decided to do the programme anyways as it’s also highly beneficial for the first trimester in pregnancy which is the most risky part of pregnancy normally. Sounded perfect, but then the tricky part started.. Next to a specific herb mix which my TCM practitioner sent me regularly, I had to change my diet drastically. I was very lucky not to suffer from nausea ever (Yay! Thank you universe!) but I was very, very tired for the first three months. Not the best conditions for putting my usual diet upside down! For optimal fertility and pregnancy TCM believes in  keeping the body warm.  So no more raw juices and smoothies, salads etc as according to TCM they are cooling down the body. But this wasn’t even the hardest part for me… In TCM meat, especially red, long cooked meat, ideally grass fed and organic is the wonder weapon for fertility and pregnancy (so think stews, broths, thick soups, casseroles etc). On top of that I was told to have it every day! At least some bone broth. Phew! You have no idea how hard that was for me… It was. Really and truly harder than I ever thought. All my cooking and shopping routines, creating new recipes and inventing new creations – all was suddenly stuck! The only chance I had was – like in the very early days – to consult my mum via the phone regularly, get input and explanations, ideas and recipes to try (bless her!). I had to research different types (and names!) of meat and moreover find a trustworthy butcher here in Malta (not so easy like at home in Austria where organic local meat is available very easily). Not such a cool task when you work and feel dead tired all day anyways.

Home made bologneseHowever, I somehow mastered it and at some stage kind of got used to it and I must say I think it was really, really worth it. My tiredness improved and I had a very pleasant and easy pregnancy. My test results were always great and while many mummy friends almost couldn’t believe how well I was, even my hubby and I got used to all the warming and strengthening kind of food we had all winter when it’s getting really unpleasant here in Malta (yep, you read right – it’s damp, cold and houses are horribly insulated and without central heating). Once again, as always in life you do get used to new circumstances.. I made lots of soups with bone broth, bolognese, Greek dishes with beef and aubergines, got a slow cooker for chilis and still always sneaked lots and lots of good veggies inside. As you can tell from the list above minced grass-fed beef was the easiest for me to handle.

Back to the (veggie) roots

Soon my first trimester was over and I decided to not continue with the programme as it’s unfortunately quite expensive. Anyways, it was definitely worth it, I learned a lot and always – aways! – felt in the best of best hands for any question I had, be it pregnancy or diet related. I felt energetic and strong, safe, protected and well taken care of and so did my hubby who thankfully always supports and appreciates me and my interest & experimenting in healthy cooking:)

Well and now, already in my third trimester and meanwhile married to my big love with a beautiful baby bump I must say it was a really interesting ride so far! Being pushed in cold waters to change was once again really good for me.. I learned new things, adjusted and now found a new, healthy middle way. I now understand from the TCM perspective that meat can be a very powerful and strengthening medicine (there is a reason why after birth and when you’re sick as a child you were given bone broths) and I learned that as much as I love raw food, juices, smoothies and salads it’s not the most beneficial when it’s cold outside and especially when you’re planning to get a baby what you want in your belly is a warm, cosy nest for your little one. Once again I was reassured in buying local and seasonal (normally your local foods fit the temperature you need, meaning they have a cooling or warming effect) and pushed to learn more about food as a medicine.

The end.. not quite yet

Well, now we’re in the middle of summer here in Malta and it’s steaming hot outside. So obviously I’m back to a lot of raw foods, salads, cold soups and juices – but now it makes sense as my body desperately needs to cool off. In exactly 6 weeks we await the arrival of our little one and I can’t tell you how excited and at the same time nervous I am. For the first time ever my life is full of question marks.. who will our life be with a baby? Will I still love my life as much as I do now? How will it affect our wonderful relationship and how will my life change career wise? All I can do now is surrender to the change ahead and trust in the universe – and as always, believe in the fact that change means development and growing❤

I really want to thank my lovely hubby for being so sweet and patient and always being there for me…
My mum who is always giving me advise and ideas and mainly unconditional love..
My dad for his incredible generousity and endless interest in me and my life..
The universe for sending us our booboo (baby’s nickname as we still keep the gender a surprise)..
My wonderful friends for always being there for me (and sometimes gently pushing me back to blogging😉
And all the lovely people who still follow my blog and like my Facebook page (with numbers growing even though I didn’t even blog anymore!) – I promise, I’ll try to keep up with it again!

Now back to cooking..

Fig energy balls

Enough chit chat – now finally back with a recipe which I loved a lot lately as it gives me an immediate energy kick on top of many healthy benefits (mainly iron, proteins) which baby and I need a lot of these days…

CHOCOLATY FIG ENERGY BALLS

What you need….
2 cups of dried figs (chopped and soaked)
1 cup of dates (chopped and soaked)
1 cup of cashew nuts
1 cup of ground almonds
1 table spoon of cacao nibs & raw cacao each
1 tea spoon of vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

What to do…
Start by soaking the dried fruit for a few hours or over night. If you only have a normal processor like me this is crucial not to damage your gear (even though it would be the perfect excuse to finally get a Vitamix, I know😉. Drain the chopped and soaked fruit and put them in the blender with vanilla essence, raw cacao, pinch of salt until well combined. It’s fine if there are still some chunkier pieces inside. Add the chashew nuts until they are broken in small bits. Then add ground almonds  until you reach a consistency which is nice to roll into balls (you will feel if you need a bit more to make them stick better).  In the end add the cacao nibs, give it a last mix (by hand) and roll the mix into little balls. Store in a box for at least a week. This makes quite a lot so spread the yumminess with your friends:)

Enjoy & sending lots of love,
Nxx