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

Welcome back with a cool & refreshing melon soup!

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Summer is full on here in Malta and it hits me with guilt that I haven’t been writing for 1,5 month. Sorry for that! I’m sure you know these times when things are going crazy with work and private stuff and without knowing time is just flying like a jumbo jet and suddenly 6 weeks have passed. Well, this is what happened to me.

Also, I have to confess, the recent heat here in Malta makes my culinary desire a bit weaker. It’s just too hot to stay at home and experiment in the kitchen and find the pleasure in reading recipes, coming up with new ideas or sitting in front of the laptop for some blogging. All you want to do is finish work and jump in the water.

HOWEVER, it’s time and finally there’s a new dish I just tried out two days ago which I would like to share with you! It’s a cold melon soup, based on a recipe which I found on yummly.com and changed a bit to my own taste. It’s a super quick, very refreshing and unusual taste.

cold melon soup with ginger & lemon pepper

All you need:

  • 1 honeydew melon (I’m sure also sugar melon is fine)
  • coconut milk (not the thick one from the cans but the one which comes in a milk carton)
  • 1 lemon
  • bit of ginger (depending on taste)
  • salt
  • lemon pepper

What to do:

Peel and chop melon, get rid of all seeds, squeeze juice of a lemon, finely chop the peeled ginger and throw everything in a food processor. (If you have different attachments use the one which you normally take for making smoothies. ) Add salt depending on taste, some lemon pepper , whizz and taste how you like it. When ready put it in nice glasses and serve it as a light and cooling dinner with some oat crackers or as a starter of a light menu.

What’s your favorite cold soup? Let’s share for inspiration!

pumpkin with lemon pepper & fresh orange. the favourite of this year’s soup season so far..

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sprinkle with fresh coriander and enjoy!

what you need
proper piece of an orange maltese pumpkin
same amount of potatoes
1 big onion
6 cloves of garlic
thumb size piece of fresh ginger
lemon pepper
salt, peperoncino
250ml water & vegetable stock
1 tin of coconut milk
fresh juice of 1 orange
olive oil
fresh coriander
2 handful of prawns
pine nuts

what to do
cut the veggies into little pieces. chop the onion and ginger and fry it with olive oil on medium heat. add the garlic and veggies and roast slowly on medium heat. fill up the pot with water and a bit of vegetable stock, coconut milk let it simmer until potatoes and pumpkin are soft and tender (approx. 25min). season with lemon pepper, salt, peperoncino and fresh orange juice.

chop up the garlic in thin slices and roast them in olive oil until nice and fragrant. add the prawns until they turn pink. now add the pine nuts. chop up the fresh coriander. now puree the soup. put them in bowls, sprinkle with the garlic prawn mix and top up with fresh coriander.

ENJOOOOOOOOOOOY 😀

jerusalem artichoke soup. a cosy recovery soup.

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after a great fun night out today’s task is just to recover and relax. nothing to do, nobody to meet, just me and my love chillaxing all day long and trying to recover from last night 😉 after some hours on the balcony and a nice little nappie my food senses reawaken, too.. so why not make a nice soup for a cosy night at home? perfect for recovering and giving some energy back to our tired bodies. and it’s quick to do it!

on thursday i got some nice jerusalem artichoke from the veggie man. (at home we call it topinambur). it’s very tasty, has a fine special flavour and makes a great soup:
300g jerusalem artichokes
100g potatoes
onion, garlic
fresh parsley, celery greens
veggie stock, white wine, some milk/cream cheese

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

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

Vegetarian Yoga Retreat Recipes. Nadisunshine goes Gozo.

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Nadisunshine goes Michelle Bartolo Yoga Retreat

Nadisunshine goes Michelle Bartolo Yoga Retreat

Before we all dive into the yearly xmas craziness it’s time to share some of the recipes I cooked at Michelle Bartolo’s yoga retreat in Gozo earlier this month. Whenever you feel like you’ve overindulged, which happens to most of us at this time of the year, take a day or two (or three ;)) in between to balance it out again and get rid of all the acidity and toxins in your bodies. Keep it really light, avoid all processed sugars, dairy, alcohol and caffeine and stack up on veggies, fruits and grains. Start your day with warm lemon water, prepare yourself some healthy meals, drink lots of teas or water, do some yoga and mediation in the morning and/or evening and give your body and soul a little axtra love and time to recover.

Thanks again to my friend Michelle for giving me the opportunity to bring my cooking to you lovely yogis and yoginis! It was a pleasure to meet you and cook for you all 🙂 If you’re interested in one of Michelle’s retreats, check out her website or Facebook page. I’ve been to many of her retreats in Gozo and can’t recommend this gift to yourself enough.

But now let’s get started with some of the healthy recipes of our yoga weekend.

Basil Booster - Nadisunshine goes Michelle Bartolo Yoga Retreat

Boosting Basil Smoothie
(serves 2-3)

What you need….

1 apple
1 orange
2 hands full of fresh basil
1 TS of maca powder
1 TS of spirulina or wheatgrass
500ml of water (or coconut water)
A tiny bit of coconut oil

Optional: if you like to give it some extra protein add some hemp or pea protein powder

Wash the apple and basil, peel the orange. Start filling the blender with the softer ingredients and then add the harder ones on top, like this it blends easier. Top up with water, add the rest and blend until smooth. 

More smoothie inspirations you can also find in my blog post Soulful Smoothies

 Morning muesli mix - Nadisunshine goes Michelle Bartolo Yoga Retreat

Morning muesli mix with with pomegranates & oranges

Making your own muesli mix is not only a healthy breakfast option but also very convenient in daily life. Get a big jar and prepare the mix once, it will last you for several weeks and you always have it handy in the morning 🙂

What you need….
(amounts depending on the size of your box, play with it!)

Oats (about 50% of the box, that’s the base)
Chia seeds
Whole almonds
Flax seeds
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Goji berries
Dried cranberries, mulberries, apple etc. (whatever you have and like)

Possible superfood additions
Cacao nibs
Maca powder
Baobab powder
Bee pollen

Possible toppings:
Cinnamon
Coconut flakes
Raw cacao powder

To prepare it:
A tiny bit of oil (I use cold pressed flax seed oil cause of the great amounts of omega 3)
Fresh fruit (I mostly try to go for local and seasonal)
Hot water or dairy free milk

What to do…

Mix all ingredients in a big box or jar (apart from the toppings). When you want to have breakfast, take out 3 table spoons per person in a little bowl (seems little but soaks up nicely), top it up with hot water or dairy free milk, let it stand for a bit (10min minimum, no maximum) and finally add some fruit, a drizzle of oil and toppings of your choice.

As I said, play with the mix – you can add or skip ingredients and see what you like best. Only the oats and chia seeds I wouldn’t skip as they are the base for a nicely soaked up muesli. Enjoy and have some great energetic mornings!

This recipe with some extra info you can also find in my blog post Our special morning muesli mix 

Nadisunshine's choco chia seed pudding

Nadisunshine’s choco chia seed pudding

Glutenfree choco chia pudding
(1 portion)

What you need…
1 empty jar (e.g. from jam, about 200ml)
2 table spoons of chia seeds (black, white or mixed, they all work fine)
Daily free milk like coconut or almond
1 small handful of goji berries (also other dried fruit works fine)
Some drops of organic vanilla essence (you can also play with different essences like
Orange blossom water or rose water another time 🙂
1 tea spoon of desiccated coconut
1 tea spoon of raw cacao
A tiny bit of your favorite natural sweetener like raw honey, agave sirup or maple sirup
Pear (or any other fruit you like) & cacao nibs as a topping

What to do..
Use any old jar with a lid. Mix the chia seeds with the milk and add all other ingredients apart from the pear. Close the lid tight, shake it well and let it rest for at least 60min. Shake it a couple of times in between to avoid clumping. If you find a clump, loosen it with a spoon/fork. After 30min you can already see how the seeds swell. The pudding gets thicker and thicker over time. I normally even put it in the fridge overnight so I have it ready for bfast.

As a result you’ll get a creamy pudding which can now be served in any kind of way. I warmed it up for you in the morning which is nice and comforting, especially in fall and winter. Garnish with pear and sprinkle with cacao nibs and enjoy your probably healthiest pudding ever! 

Chia pudding can also be a yummy desert or snack at any time of the day. Some more info and a different chia pudding recipe you can also find in this blog post

Curry & Coconut Butternut Squash Soup - Nadisunshine goes Michelle Bartolo Yoga Retreat

Butternut squash coconut curry soup
(2-3 portions)

What you need…
1 butternut squash
1 can of coconut milk (thick)
Curry
Tumeric
Cumin
Some ginger
A tiny bit of cayenne pepper (careful, it’s super hot!)
Yeast free vegetable stock
Best quality salt (I prefer pink Himalayan salt)
1 table spoon of coconut oil

For the topping:
Mixed seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin)
Coconut oil
Quarter of a lemon
Tamari Sauce (the healthier alternative to soy sauce)

What to do..
Peel pumpkin, remove the seeds and chop up roughly. Melt the coconut oil in a pot and start roasting the pumpkin. Top up with stock, coconut milk and add all spices. Let it simmer on medium heat for about 20min (or until soft). Switch off the heat and puree directly in the pot with your hand-held blender. If it’s too thick add a bit more stock. Season to taste with salt.

For the topping heat up a small frying pan on medium heat and start roasting the seeds with a tiny bit of coconut oil. After a little while squeeze the lemon and add tamarin but just enough so it’s soaked up. You don’t want it too liquid. Turn off the heat and sprinkle on the soup.

Additionally you can also roast some butternut squash slices in the oven and use them as a topping for your soup or on a nice side salad. I always love a bowl of greens with my soup. Just coat squash with a bit of coconut oil, sprinkle with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and roast it for about 20min at 190°Celsius.

More soup recipes you can find here…

Nadisunshine goes Michelle Bartolo Yoga Retreat

If you wish any other recipes of our weekend retreat, just let me know and I’ll happily post them at a later stage!

Lots of love & sunshine and may you get healthy and happy through the festive season!!!

N xx

Cooking class with Claire Borg in Victoria. A little charming piece of Gozo

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I love cooking classes. They are inspiring, you learn new things, share your thoughts and experiences with other foodies and try new things outside of your own box. Claire’s cooking classes in the heart of Victoria are so much fun. It’s all mentioned above and so much more. It’s like a little piece of Gozo. It’s authentic, unpretentious and delicious. It’s casual still professional and foremost charming. For me coming to Gozo always means popping in at Mojo’s (her restaurant/cafe) in Victoria but from now on also attending on of here classes. That’s a promise.

Tonight’s class had a focus on beet root. We made a delicious soup of beet root with green apples, beet root relish, beet root pickles as well as a beet root Valhornona chocolate cake.

Thank you and keep up the great work, Claire!

More info on Claire’s classes, her cooking and her restaurant on her blog Claire Borg

Thai delights!

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One thing I sometimes miss here in Malta is proper ethnic food. Having lived in Vienna before we moved here, we were really spoiled with choice of food from around the world. Vienna’s loveliest food market, the Naschmarkt, was 5min around the corner and you could find anything a foodie’s heart could wish for.. Lebanese, Jamaican, Creole, Indian, Turkish, Japanese of the best quality – you name it.

Malta being quite a small island in the Mediterranean (thus called “the rock”), naturally offers lots of delicious places with Mediterranean dishes but all in all less variety in food. What I miss the most here is a proper, genuine Thai restaurant (yes, Thailand is one of my favorite places in the world. Also, because of it’s kitchen which also led me to attending some courses and trying to cook Thai myself).

Anyways, the search for a cosy, casual place for genuine  Thai food is over! In the middle of Gzira, just next to the road, where you’d never expect it is a small little bar called Times Gone By (for the Maltese readers, it’s just opposite Azzopardi’s fish shop).

Surprisingly you don’t only find a huge variety of over 40 foreign beers and a super friendly host, but also some really amazing Thai food. Don’t expect a fancy, pretty restaurant, it more looks like a bar in an old antique shop, but the atmosphere is great and the owner Ferry welcomes you with a big smile and heart. But the secret lies in the kitchen. Ferry’s wife is from Thailand herself and therefore really nows what she does. Our Tom Yum and Tom Ka Gai soups were like in Thailand: fresh, spicy and super yummy. Also the mains (we had a red curry and Thai noodle salad) were just delicious. All fresh, tasty and only leaving you with the thought when you can make it again next time. The belgium beers to accompany our meal were the perfect match. Also, the prices are really good (32 eur for 4 courses and two beers).

Cut the long story short: whoever in Malta likes genuine Thai food in a relaxed environment, check out Times Gone By.
Ferry, we’ll definitely see you again soon!

Times gone by - Thai food, Gzira, Malta

ราตรีสวัสดิ์ or good night 😉

Love, Nxx

P.S. Please note that Times Gone by will soon move to a new location. So better check their Facebook Page to go to the right place whenever you wish to check it out.