Category Archives: Health

Zoe’s box – OR: Why we love organic food

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All toddler mums know how hard it is sometimes to make sure that your young and old beloved ones as well as yourself get three healthy meals a day. In between sniffles, theething, working or like in my case studying, constantly alternating culinary preferences and tidying up the mess of a little tornado several times a day, moments of inspiration come often too short, while standards are rising to ensure good health through good food to our little darlings!

What I have experienced since I’ve become a mum is that time has gotten more precious than ever. I am simply neither able nor willing anymore to spend hours and hours in the kitchen like I used to do back in the days in my childless free time evenings with wine, music and often friends. Nowadays, when Zoe is in bed, evenings are sacred time for talking to my hubby, resting and recharging batteries thus nowadays our meals got simpler and less time consuming. What has never changed though is my deep belief into the quality of food, even more so since I started studying to become a Holistic Health Coach for Integrative Nutrition. The saying “You are what you eat” is definitely true, and what we don’t want, neither for us nor our children, are nasty pesticides, herbicides, toxins, preservatives or additives in our bodies. And no, EU regulations about allowed pesticide levels are sadly not protecting you enough (read the recent article One in every five vegetables contains illegal amounts of pesticide if you haven’t done so yet). Next to clean air, water, cosmetics and cleaning products, food is one of the biggest sources of what our bodies absorb, so we better be aware and take good care of what we put on and inside ourselves.

zoe-greens

She has no clue how happy it makes me to see her eating green stuff!

Buying organic has therefore become second nature for us. It’s the cleanest produce we can get and allows me to put my anyway constantly worrying mummy-mind at rest. As some of you know from my Instagram and Facebook Feed, Incampagna Malta, amongst others, is one of our favorite suppliers for organic produce. They offer a wide variety of local and Sicilian vegetables and fruits, herbs and free range eggs but also a great range of other organic products from small suppliers who run small and sustainable businesses. Their greatest asset: they know every producer in person and have a relationship with them. This builds trust, also for us as consumers. Ordering works easy peasy via their website/ per email and the only thing you have to do after is waiting eagerly for the delivery of your box. When it arrives, we know our weekly fix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is sorted. Be aware to keep your diet’s majority with fresh fruit and veg, add your proteins via legumes and/ or organic dairy and meat if that’s part of your diet, chose whole grains or wholemeal products for your carb intake and don’t forget your healthy fats, plenty of water and of course and most importantly, vitamin L(ove) ❤

But now, let’s have a look into Zoe’s box, which contains a lovely range of many of the yummy and gorgeous products which have become dear to us over the last months and a little inspiration what to cook with them.

zoes-box

Don’t you just love surrounding yourself with things which are good for you?

Vegetables, like delicious, creamy avocados, sweet carrots, fennel, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, jerusalem artichokes, chard, brussel sprouts, leek, pumpkin and more. The saying “Eat a rainbow” is particularly true when it comes to vegetables. The more colours you incorporate on a regular basis, the more variety of vitamins you can ensure you receive. Zoe just loves digging into a soft avocado, often mixed into a nice salad with juicy tomatoes and a tangy dressing of freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Another great staple dish is a simple veggie gratin e.g. potato with fennel and jerusalem artichokes (but it works with any veg, just play around). Just slice all veg in thin slices, put them in a baking dish with some cream (we usually use a vegan alternative like rice or oat cream), some grassfed butter, nutmeg, herbs of your liking and a hint of Himalayan salt and pepper and then bake it for about 60min. If you like you can add breadcrumbs and/ or organic cheese, nuts or seeds on top for the last 15min. Fresh aubergines make a lovely parmeggiana bake  and carrots and/or pumpkin are great additions for one of Zoe’s favorite lentil stews which I’ll describe further down.

Fruit, like wonderful seasonal winter citrus like lemons, mandarines, oranges and blood oranges. Citrus fruit provides tons of vitamin C and is particularly great to strengthen our immune systems in the winter months when most bugs are around. Great fact to know: foods rich in vitamin C also help our bodies to absorb iron rich foods! Zoe loves her sweet mandarines as a snack, little pieces of blood orange and its juice for her porridge or chia pudding in the morning. Lemon juice is simply amazing in dressings, e.g. over steamed chard, broccoli or spinach but also for immune and metabolism boosting lemon water in the morning (for Zoe with a hint of great quality honey 🙂

Legumes, which provide most of Zoe’s protein/ iron intake. If you want to reduce your meat consumption, legumes and beans are great plant based alternatives. Lentil stew with red lentils, cumin and different veggies is one of Zoe’s favorite dishes (you can find our recipe here) or you can make a great warm lentil salad with brown or black lentils, cumin, coriander and roasted carrots or pumpkin. Chickpeas (Incampagna even has black ones!) are a great staple for homemade hummus or curries which we like to make with lots of different veg, mustard seeds, turmeric, curry powder and coconut milk.

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Nope mummy, I am not sharing my avocado with you!

 

So yes, like sceptics say, going organic may be a bit pricier, but in my opinion it’s so worth it. It puts my mind at rest to get the best quality with highest levels of nutrients without all the toxic nasties, it supports sustainable and nature friendly farming, and on top of that it never gets boring as constantly changing seasonal produce excites culinary creativity and makes me try new things.

Until next time lots of sunshine, love & healthy food
Nadine & Zoe aka avocado queen 😉

 

P. S. If you feel like you need some support improving your own or your family’s life to a healthier lifestyle, feel free to get in touch for a first free Health History consultation!

Empty plate, happy mama 😍

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Zoe eating one of her favorite dishes, barley pilaf with butternut & some homemade pesto.

Becoming a mum and feeding my little daughter really changed my relationship with cooking and food. Healthy eating has been important to me for many years but cooking for a toddler is a different story. Feeding a 1,5 year old can sometimes be very frustrating, especially if you make the best, clean and healthy ingredients as well as cooking up a nice meal a point. It can be very depressing if you spend lots of love and thought into nice meals and they don’t like it or just don’t feel like eating because of whatever reason. Especially evenings can be challenging sometimes.

What I learned from all these challenging situations is:

✔️Lower my own expectations (sometimes sadly but truly just pasta with butter and Parmesan works),

✔️Don’t be too hard on myself (it’s ok to want to play more and cook less and therefor make meals easier and simpler)

✔️It’s ok to get help (be it by our lovely babysitter, family when they visit, healthy places to eat out or the occasional take away like sushi etc)

✔️Moderation is key, so if the majority of my daughter’s diet is great, wholesome and healthy why not also let her little tastebuds explore the occasional “nasty” exception just like I have it myself (e.g. A nice piece of cake or ice cream)

✔️Keep cool, mindful and don’t stress out. Having a mess, lots of leftovers and no more enthusiasm for the rest of the evening is ok. Bring her to bed (she won’t starve!) and then enjoy a big glass of wine and your favorite TV series.

✔️ Timing is key. Giving Zoe dinner by 6pm somehow catches her in a better mood and if it’s paired with a phase where she has good appetite she is actually even demanding food with a vigorous Nam Nam and eats like a very cute little horse 🐴 😜❤😍

I want my daughter to develop a healthy relationship with food. And, I want to keep my own healthy relationship with food and my sanity. So if it means less fancy, less time effort and more simplicity while still eating a clean and wholesome diet for most of the time, so be it ❤ Walk the talk – one of the big things I learned during my course with Integrative Nutrition to become a Holistic Health Coach. Amen to that 🙏🏻😉

Maybe one or the other mum can relate to all this and find something helpful or comforting in this post. This all might sound really obvious to many but to me it’s a big deal to let go off all my own expectations and pressure I sometimes put on myself 😜

With all this in mind I wish you a pleasant and relaxed eve!

Love,

N xxx

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Life with my 16 months old toddler & a lovely Lentil Stew

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A few days ago, our little sunshine turned 16 months. 16 incredible months full of surprises, laughs, first times, clueless moments, love bursts, – sometimes exhausted and tired but always happy and grateful ❤

By now our mouse call us Mama, Papa, says Brumm Brumm, toddles around the living room (still holding on cupboards, sofas and chairs, she’s a careful one!), leaves a trail of mess where ever she goes, gives kisses, loves her softies with a passion and loves reading one of her many books on her blue sofa. She’s super chilled, sometimes a bit clingy, but always smiley and happy and she sleeps like a pro (there’s no day where I’m not grateful that I went through that sleep training with Daniela Sleep Coach last September).

My daily inspiration when I feel things are getting too much

Desiderata has been hanging in our bathroom door for many years.. it’s still my inspiration, especially when I feel things are getting too much..

Life has changed tremendously by becoming a mum and so have I…  I’ve never been so content and grateful but sometimes also exhausted and overwhelmed. Being a mum put my life upside down and living in another country away from our families doesn’t make it easier.  But I love it and wouldn’t change it for a thing, even if it sometimes means putting my own plans, ambitions and goals on a lower priority. Simply because I am not able to do everything at the same time anymore. My multi tasking skills seem to have disappeared when I gave birth and I slowly surrender to the fact that they might not come back anymore 😉 My first priority is Zoe and our family, then comes nothing for a while and only then comes my course to become a Holistic Health Coach which I still enjoy doing very much (just finished my second exam last weekend – whoowhoo!). It’s a fine line though sometimes to juggle everything and I often wonder how working mums are coping, or, even more challenging, single mums handle their daily life with a 16 month old toddler who becomes more lively and demanding every day! I honestly have no clue but my deepest respect goes out to all these women as well as the stay at home mums (and dads) like me, cause being with a child all day is often more exhausting than a work day might ever be LOL.

time for more self love

One of my 2017 resolutions: Time for more self care & self love this year. Carve out some time in the morning for some yoga home practice.

However, priorities shift and so finally do my expectations towards myself. I try to find peace and to let go more often… More surrender and self love, less pressure and comparison are my big resolutions this year. How often did I feel under pressure the last few months when I felt I’m running out of time, I could never keep up, when I didn’t manage to do everything I wanted, didn’t cook all the lovely meals which I’d love to cook, write all the blog posts which I have in my head and start with all the new projects which I have in my head.. but at the end of the day, we only have 24hours a day and when I spend time Zoe I want to be present and enjoy the moment. So, this is the time in my life for her. And there will be a time for other things again, probably sooner than I can now imagine she’ll be in school and I’ll remember these days with nostalgia ❤ So please accept my apologies for not blogging that regularly anymore! But I promise I will still share the occasional recipe and keep you posted with (hopefully) inspiring healthy meals and articles on wellness and health via my Facebook and Instagram 🙂 In the end this, my passion for healthy food, is what inspired me to start my Health Coaching course!

But enough for now, here comes another, of course toddler approved favorite recipe for a Lentil Stew. Zoe has been eating it since she was about 9 months and love it just as much as her daddy and I do. Lentils are a great source of plant protein, great for digestion and especially in winter a real comfort food. I usually cook the same dish for all of us and only add salt for us adults in the end. As usually this is a very versatile recipe, instead of red lentils you can also use brown lentils or a nice mix of beans and lentils. Just note that you should soak all other lentils (brown, green) and beans over night as they might cause bloating and gas otherwise. The longer you soak them, the better. It’s also beneficial to add some bay leaf for the same reasons. Also, please note that cooking time is the shortest with red lentils so if you are tight on time, just go for red lentils. You can add all different kinds of veg, but I usually like the potatoes to add some carbs and substance to the stew. Leafy greens like spinach, kale or chard can be added towards the end of the cooking time and if you want to give it even more substance serve it with a batch of nicely roasted potatoes as a topping like I did on the photo.

Lentil Stew with Roast Potatoes & fresh lime

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Lentil Stew is a real crowd pleaser and great for batch cooking

What you need
(serves 4)

  • 3 cups of red lentils (washed) or other lentils and beans (soaked over night)
  • 1 onion
  • Some garlic
  • 1 TBS of Coconut Oil
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • Ground cumin & coriander (about 1 tsp each)
  • Vegetable stock (invest in a good, low sodium one, without preservatives and other nasties)
  • Water (roughly the double amount of legumes and maybe later some more depending on how thick you want your stew)
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • Optional: 1-2 handfuls of leafy greens (spinach, chard, kale)
  • Highest quality salt (if you cook for children add it separately later)

Optional toppings: roast potatoes, fresh cilantro

What to do…

Peel and chop the onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots (or other veg you use). Fry onions and garlic on medium heat in coconut oil and add the chopped vegetables when they get nicely golden. Stir for a bit and then add the lentils (or other pre-soaked legumes) and spices. Pour in the water and some vegetable stock and let it simmer until the lentils get nice and soft. Red lentils take about 30min, other lentils and legumes more. Just let it simmer until it’s all nice and soft, you never want to eat legumes when they are not fully cooked. If you add leafy greens, add them for about 5-10min in the end.

Serve with a slice of lime/ lemon and enjoy your meal together:)

With lots of love, peace & good health for 2017 ❤
Nadine xxx

Cannellini Bean & Basil Dip, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and life with our 13 month old toddler

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Do you know that feeling of losing touch with time and space? Days and weeks keep flying by, mornings playing, afternoons at playgrounds, weekends with friends and suddenly you realise, oh my god – it’s end of October already! Since Zoe is born this happens even more to me and funnily, despite life passing by in super pursuit mode, it feels so full and filled with fun and adventures all the time, that a few weeks can seem very long at the same time, too!

Every day brings something new, faster crawling techniques, climbing up new objects (yay, mummy – look, I can sit on the living room table!), the start of new funny conversations while we walk up and down the hill everyday, new ways of making faces (her latest is leaning her head to the side and giving me the cheekiest grin from down there), moments of laughing our heads off together and moments of desperation cause someone just does not want to eat dinner for some reason. No, – there is never a dull moment with a toddler 😀

Life of a toddler is endless adventure <3

Life of a toddler is endless adventure ❤

There is something about that feeling of being wiped out and tired, but also satisfied in the evening , when your baby is finally in bed and you can lie down on the sofa for 15min before making dinner for yourself and hubby who usually comes home from work too late for Zoe’s bedtime. Yes, being a mum is hard work, but I love it. And I more and more admire all women in the world who juggle two or more children, who work or who don’t have families around, like us, to help. In contrary to the past, when I didn’t have a child but of course made up views on maternity leave, working and stay at home mums,  – now this has all changed.

In my opinion, whatever works is right. I understand mums who can’t wait to go back to work because they feel they get crazy at home, I feel for mums who have but don’t want to go back to work because of financial reasons, I totally understand mums who give their child to their grandparents a lot because they are close and I admire those who decide to put their career on hold to focus on their child, cause it’s all they ever wanted. I got rid of all my pre-assumptions and I wish everybody could be open and respect whatever way. Being a mother is often very stigmatised in today’s modern world. Whatever you do, there will always be someone who thinks the opposite way would be better and believe me, there’s nothing more annoying than having to defend yourself why you chose this or that route for yourself. No matter if it’s towards men (rarely), women (more often) and especially towards other mothers (most) – there is no right or wrong. There is no competition. Nobody is perfect and we all love our children and try to do the best we can, all in our different and beautiful ways ❤

But of course we all know these moments of self doubt. When we ask ourself if it would be better another way, if we try hard enough, if we work hard enough, when we think all mums we know do so much better, look so much cooler and are so much more successful than ourselves. I always try to remind myself, looks can be deceiving. Especially with social media these days, when everything looks oh so perfect and great, everyone so stylish and pretty. But I can only tell from myself and also my close mum friends around me: we all have dark moments, doubts, fall backs and disappointments. We need to cry, to rant and to talk things through before we get crazy. What would we do if we weren’t there for each other? And who could understand better than all the other fellow mums who walk in very similar shoes?? I for myself promised myself these days to be more gentle with myself and try to be aware of it when I feel under pressure. To embrace all insecurities and losses. To be open and honest about them and trust in fate and the universe, that all things happen for a reason and are important for us to grow..

As some of you know, I’m currently studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) to become a Holistic Health Coach. Their core concept is so simple and it so resonates with me. You can have the perfectly healthy food on your plate (they call it Secondary Food), if your main areas of life like relationships, physical exercise, career, spirituality (called Primary Foods) are not in balance you still won’t feel happy and healthy in your body. As Joshua, the founder of IIN often says in his lectures (he’s a really nice, calm and funny guy): “You can eat all the kale in the world, but if you hate your job and/or spouse (for example), guess what? The kale won’t do anything for ya.” It’s really fun to go deeper and learn more about all different kinds of diets, but above all to learn so many interesting things about health coaching, how to improve your life and dig deeper into your own self and take care of your own happiness. I guess it’s a never ending journey and I really enjoy the course so far! At the moment we are practising the first part of a Health Coaching Programme, called Health Histories. So if anyone of you is interested in being my guinea pig, please drop me a note on nadisunshine@me.com or PM me on my Nadisunshine Facebook page – of course it would be totally free of charge 🙂

So, enough talking for today. Let’s get to the yummy and healthy recipe for this month.

cannellinibasildip

Cannellini Bean & Basil dip & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Today I wanna share with you how to make a super easy Cannellini Bean & Basil dip & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. Both are the perfect addition to a Sunday brunch, a hearty bfast or an ideal snack or light dinner. I paired them with my favourite kind of breakfast eggs and some home baked bread, the Life Changing Loaf of Bread from the wonderful blog My New Roots. (It’s a beautiful seed bread which is so incredible nice and easy, please do yourself a favour and check it out if you’ve never heard from it.) This bean dip is a wonderful healthy staple in our fridge and a great source of protein for toddlers and adults alike. And much better for you than the store bought cream cheese! Give it a try 🙂

What you need…
(for a nice bowl for 4)

  • 2 cans of cannellini beans (rinsed)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 hands full of fresh basil (washed & dried, stems removed)
  • Good quality salt (e.g. Himalayan, sea salt etc.)
  • Cumin
  • Olive Oil
  • A couple of cloves of garlic (peeled & sliced)
  • 1 box of  cherry tomatoes (washed)

(As always preferable go for organic & local ingredients whenever you can)

What to do…

Preheat your oven around 180 degrees Celsius for the cherry tomatoes (I roasted  at the same time as I baked the bread  – energy saving, aye :). Put  tomatoes and garlic in an oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil,  salt and pepper. Roast them until the look nice and wrinkly (I had them in there for around 30min).

For the dip, put all ingredients in your food processor. I like to put lighter ingredients on the bottom (herbs) and heavier ones (beans) on top as they mix easier and blend until you reach a nice smooth consistency. Use a bit more olive oil or add a splash of water if it seems to thick. Season to your liking.

Serve with nice home-baked bread or some organic rye bread (there are a lot of nice flavours on the market. I like the brand Biona). Both, the dip and the roasted tomatoes keep for a few days in the fridge.

Of course you can always play with the ingredients and I encourage you to do so! The nicest combinations come out of experimenting – so don’t be shy to swap beans (black beans, butterbeans, chickpeas), use different herbs (cilantro, parsley, fennel green) or spices (harrissa, dukkha, ..) – there are endless varieties!

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Until next time I wish you all a wonderful month ahead, that you’re gentle, open and forgiving to yourself and others and maybe also find a little moment for self reflection about your own Primary Foods in your life ❤

If you feel like a little nadisunshine spark every now and then, come and visit me or drop me a note on my FB page or Instagram. I always love hearing from you!

Big love, lots of sunshine & yummy food,

N xxx

 

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

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.

Zoe

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