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thoughts, reflections and relief.

Sydney really is ridiculously beautiful.

I’m so glad to be back in Queensland though.  Uncomplicated, consistent, cruisey Queensland.   It is my home now.

Misty is my hero.  He is the most chilled out groovy dude I know – still smiling after being dragged from car to bus to plane to ferry.  I cracked the shits before he did.

Some people really need more fruit in their lives.

I am so glad to be home with Boosty, I missed her a lot.  Even if she did chew through 8 tennis balls in 5 days.

Even if people laugh at you for decorating a birthday cake with spinach, plastic babies and chocolate flavoured tofu frosting it still tasted delicious and didn’t melt on a 30 degree day.

Well said.  Well said.

the beginning of Misty Man

Sorry there is no food involved in this post – I’ve been meaning to write Misty’s birth story for 12 months, so his birthday was motivation enough to complete it.  Sorry to all those who are squeamish/not interested… this is all about me and Misty and that’s all that matters.

It all started with an eggplant.

Well, kind of.

I had got to the end of the list of ‘natural methods of induction’  – you know the ones –  eating spicy food, walking, driving down a bumpy road, eating pineapple, certain yoga poses, and so on, when I discovered that apparently eggplant parmigana was one of the “sworn by” tricks to get baby moving.  I like eggplant anyway, so decided to give it a crack.

Oregano and basil are the key ingredients (supposedly) which will encourage bubs to get a wriggle on.

Anway, Viper and myself were sitting down to our baby-inducing Italian meal when we received word that our Sister-in-Law, Netsky was going to be induced.  Randomly we were both due around the same date – both first time baby ovens.  We knew we were having a little boy, Netsky and D-Max however were awaiting a surprise.

We decided to light a candle for Netsky and our little niece or nephew who would soon enter this crazy world.  A glass of wine was also called for (my midwife said a wine might relax me enough to go into labour, hey, I wasn’t going to argue with that!)  So we toasted the impending birth(s), ate our eggplant and went to bed.

2am.  Ouch. Go back to sleep, probably just a cramp.

20 minutes later. Ouch.  Hey, there goes another one.

I lay there wondering if this was it.  I had had the odd niggle for the previous few days, but nothing consistent.  These tweaks were beginning to form a pattern.

4am.  Up around the house, pacing – bracing myself against each wave.  Such a bizzare pain, contractions cannot be explained to someone who has not experienced one.  Closest I can get to a description is a really bad cramp that starts in your back, wraps around your front, tightening and squeezing, reaching a peak and then ebbing away gradually.  My midwife liked to call them ‘waves.’   Suppose that sounds nicer than a  ‘holy gosh golly gee that really really hurts like a mumma F*&^in vice squeezing my lady bits.’

4:45am.  Wake up Viper.  Tell him he’s is not going to work today.  We are having a baby.

Put on dressing gown with big hood, drape it over my head and make a big pot of raspberry leaf tea.  Try to sip away at it, everything (including water) makes me want to yak.  Viper doesn’t know what to do, so he does the only thing he knows – puts on records.  He makes some outstanding choices that just fit the mood perfectly.

I sit on the couch, watch the sunrise over the deck and listen to Tracey Chapman’s album of the same name.  I hadn’t listened to it in years, neither had Viper – he had no idea why he put it on, but it was amazing.  I can’t listen to ‘Fast Car,’ without crying now – just hearing it brings back the emotions of the day like a ‘wave’ dumping down on my head.  Love it how music is such a sensory experience like that.

For the next few hours, I paced, braced and peed.  Every time I had a contraction, I needed to pee after it.  The midwife said the baby pushing down on my bladder (felt more like he was stomping on it).  Boosty followed me around and around the house as I paced, and bewteen contractions I literally spaced, lay on the bed and zombied out. It was pretty surreal.

So many phone conversations with the nurses at the hospital.  Wait 2 more hours, then come in.  It was already 12pm, I felt like I had been going for days.  2 more hours?  You’ve got to be kidding.  Take a Panadol, they would tell me.  Panadaol?  You’ve got to be kidding.  I’ll give you a Panadol.  Viper decided to go to the pharmacy and get some anyway (I think he just needed to feel like he was doing something to help).  While he was gone, I noticed I was bleeding, and that was it.  As soon as Viper returned, I said, ‘We are going to the hospital.  Don’t argue with a contracting woman.’

Let me tell you, having a contraction in the car, sitting down at a red light is not fun.  Although we only live about an 8 minute drive from the hospital, it was the longest 8 minutes of my life.  Not good, not good.  Viper dropped me off at the door to the hospital, and peeled off to get a park.  The labour ward was on the 3rd floor, so I had to take the elevator, which was crammed full.  And I was having a contraction.  Pretty funny to think about it now; at the time I was not laughing.  I was putting all my energy into trying not to scream every obscenity under the sun, and hoping I wouldn’t wee myself.

Finally, to the labour ward!  Hurrah!  Why do they have those dumb sliding doors where you have to push a button and wait for someone to open it?  Yeah, yeah, security, I know – right now I think I’m your biggest threat.  Squawked out my name to someone, and they showed me to a room… pacing continues.  Can barely think let alone try and explain anything to the midwife.

Turns out I was 8cm dialated – the midwife said she was about to send me home even before checking me as I seemed too calm to be that far along.  Calm?  Really?  Woah, you must come across some pretty crazy ladies in these parts.  Someone in the next room sounds they they are being brutally murdered.  Or they are a wounded wilder beast.  Either one will do.

Viper returns.  I barely noticed.  He said he kept asking me questions, and trying to talk during the whole thing.  I have no recollection.  He says, ‘yeah, you were definitely off in another world.’  I prefer to think of myself as keenly focused on the job at hand.  Probably the first time in my life I properly focused on anything, but hey, better late than never.

Anyway this is turning in to a mega post, so I’ll get to the good bits.  My waters broke.  It was disgusting.  It stunk and made me want to vomit.  Sorry.

I felt the urge.  You know?  The urge.  I needed to push.  At this point, I kinda got scared.  I was worried I didn’t know what to do.  That seems crazy to write now, because your body just does what it needs to do, but I remember feeling frightened.

Basically, Misty had a huge head (he gets that from Viper, ha) so it took awhile working on getting him out.  Countless positions and the constant disappointment of actually feeling him coming down down down – not quite far enough – then sneaking his way back up again… it was exhausting.  We also found out at this point, that Mopsy had been born – I was so far from caring at this point –  but it is pretty awesome that these two little cuzzies were born 2 hours apart.  Apparently Viper was all excited yelling, ‘They had a girl!’ I grunted, ‘I don’t f&*9ing care.’  So rude.  They have this regulation at the hospital that after 1 hour of pushing, they call in the doctor to assist (read: forceps and other hideous instruments of baby torture).  My midwife was awesome, and fought for me, saying – give me 2 more contractions, and we will have this baby out.

I don’t know how or where that extra bit of energy was dredged up from but we did it.  I now know why my midwife called the stage where the head is out, “the ring of fire.”  There was a bit of confusion on that last push as the midwife yelled, ‘thatta girl!’ at me, and Viper thought she was saying, ‘it’s a girl!’ – we had found out at the 12 week scan that Misty was a boy.  Viper had a momentary panic that we had a daughter, but that was quickly rectified.  Confusion sorted; I was in shock.  A screaming slippery thing was placed on my chest and I didn’t know what to do.  Through all that focus and physical exertion, I actually had forgotton I was having a baby.  I was so intent on getting this thing out of me, that the fact it was my son never crossed my mind.

Viper said at that moment, my face just went from one extreme to another – intense pain, to shock, to amazement.

Best moment of my life.  I welcomed my baby boy.

Happy birthday dude.  You rock my world.

random tid bits before I take off

So I’m leaving.

Off for a adventure in New South Wales… Sydney here we come… birthdays, bubbles, beach, family, friends, catching up, eating, swimming wine drinking, sharing, laughing, walking, and just enjoying are all on the cards I hope.  I’m not sure if or when I’ll be able to post, so I’m not being a hater, I’m just hanging with my family.  I’ll try and put up some pictures, stories, whatever when I get near a computer.

…random graveyard wandering

A few things:

  • I think I’m going to have kitchen withdrawals.  It’s so weird for me not to use my kitchen at least 3 times a day for some sort of creating.  I’m nervous about making Misty’s birthday cake in unfamiliar territory – am I a weirdo?  I’m stressing about where I’m going to make the cake.  Creep.
…random recipe to come soon.
  • Misty hates meat.  Seriously, every time I give it to him, he picks around it, eats every thing else off his tray, and then drops the meat piece by piece onto the floor and laughs at it.  I’ve resorted to trying to sneak the meat in – hiding it in a meaty version of my sorta socca, with some polenta thrown in as well.  Boosty enjoyed it.  Viper said, ‘You’re making him a weirdo hippie kid,’ rude.  I’m trying to give him meat… he won’t take it.
 …won’t eat meat, will eat a plastic butterfly. deliciously random.
  • Listen to your intuition.  Mine has been spot on as of late, but I still have trouble tuning in.  Go with your gut, mine rarely fails me; I just fail to tap in and harness it.
… random flower photography while stalking the streets with Misty Man.
  • If something lovely happens, however small or seemingly insignificant, do something good to thank the universe for it.  Karma, paying it forward, whatever you like to call it, pass on that good energy as more will be created with these actions.
… just plain random.
  • If in doubt, doubt start crying.  People are always nicer to the crying lady with the cute baby.

New News.

New things….

New discovery.

I was very excited to find coconut flour (New discovery #1) that doesn’t cost a million dollars.  I have been wanting to try it out for ages, but couldn’t justify spending $17 for 500g (!)  Apparently, my local health food store (read: my favourite store, visited by myself and Misty almost innappropriately frequently) has found a new supplier and has managed to get the price down.  Hooray.

My next New discovery was something of a happy accident (not that kind).  I always grind up my salt and flax seeds in the same pestle and mortar.  I don’t clean it in between.  Yes, I am very lazy BUT I discovered that the flax/salt combo is both delicious and nutritious when sprinkled over pretty much anything.  Get your Omega 3s while you are hardening your arteries – two birds with one stone baby.

This New recipe is a work in progress.  Sorry.  It’s almost there;  I was surprised how good it was first time off the bat, a few more tweaks and it’s yours.  I just like to take unattractive photos.

New obsession.

The New recipe incorporates my New obsession.  No, it’s not chocolate.  Not really – it does contain cacao but that’s where the similarities end.

New shoes.

Misty is walking everywhere these days.  I have to start putting shoes on him because I think people are looking at us and thinking, ‘huh, dirty hippies – look at that child’s feet – disgusting.’  These New shoes are pretty tough; not strictly “New,” (they were a gift)  but they only fit his grubby feet now.

Old is New again = New project.

Don’t you just love it when you find something you lost/forgot about?  It’s like having something New all over again.   Another happy accident (no, get your mind out of the gutter) was stumbling across this retro pattern as I packed up our book cupboard. Also because the pattern is literally OLD (can you tell? Complete with some little old nana’s sewing notes scribbled on it) and I am going to create something fresh and New based on a groovy classic.

 

New snack.  (From New recipe that is not quite right, but good enough for afternoon tea).

I love it how if you say any word over and over again it starts to sound really weird.  Then you start to think about words, and how a certain sound that we make with our mouth has a specific meaning.  Then I think that I think too much.

What’s new with you?

 

easy healthy eats for a weekend away

I thought I would kill two birds with one post and recap some weekend fun with recipes for our weekend eats.

I’m telling fibs with the following pretty picture, as these Cheesy Corn Fritters were actually consumed cold on the ferry as we made our way to Stradbroke Island.  Intended as a snack for Misty, Viper ended up eating at least half of them.

Cheesy Corn Fritters:

(Egg, gluten, nut and soy free)

(If you are making these just for adults totally crank up the seasoning, add some chilli flakes and extra salt/pepper/herbs for bite)

  • 1/3C sweet corn kernels
  • 1/3C root vegetable puree (I used sweet potato, but pumpkin or potato would be fine)
  • 1/3C grated cheese
  • 2T flax
  • 3T milk ( I used rice milk)
  • 2T brown rice flour
  • 2T chickpea flour
  • 1/8t baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1/8t ground coriander
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1t fresh or dry herbs (I used fresh chives)
  1. Mix ground flax seed and milk together.  Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together, and combine with flax ‘egg.’
  3. I cooked these by the spoonful in a hot pan for 2 minutes either side, then placed them on a lined baking tray.  10-12 minutes at 180 degrees C helped them to firm up nicely.
  4. Serve with a nice dollop of sour cream or guacamole (sweet chilli sauce is great for grown ups).
The weekend was a chance to hang with our favourite people –  friends and family including Misty’s cousin who was born just 2 hours before Misty entered this crazy world.  I was literally mid-push when we found out that Viper’s brother and wife had had a little girl.  Pretty crazy stuff – I love random life quirks like this, always a fun story to share.
2 brothers, 2 identical strollers, 1 of each flavour baby.  Crazy.
We call them Misty and Mopsy.  They are destined for some grand adventures together I’m sure.
I made up a batch of ‘Snozzies’ for a vegetarian option on the barbie.  Misty ended up chowing down 1 and a half of these for dinner, he’s just started walking, so must have worked up an appetite.
I also used my new favourite cabbage dish in a salad combination.  I chucked in a bunch of asparagus spears in the last 5 minutes of roasting, and added some thawed edamame and cooked sweetcorn.  The whole lot together, chilled, with a dollop of Sweet Potato Mayo for luck, was pretty delish as salads go.
Yes, I know you’ve seen this before, but trust me – when you wake up feeling a little ‘dusty’ (read: one too many red wines) this cereal at the very least wakes up the taste buds.
This trip away was a little different for us – it’s a bit of an adjustment being responsible for another human being; there’s definitely a lot more planning involved these days.  I used to be able to get away with wallet, mobile and lip gloss in my bag – plans were never concrete and would spontaneously change at the last minute.  Didn’t matter, I was a pretty talented couch surfer.  Now it’s more like ‘Have we got enough nappies?  Wipes?  Bottles?  Rusks?  Toys? Changes of clothes?  Sunscreen?  Hat?  Pram? Car seat? ‘ (!)  Yeeeesh.
There are no more ‘half-day-and-night-long’ sessions at the pub – we have to be home for dinner, bath and bed before 7:30pm.  Let me tell you childless folk out there a little something: there is no such thing as a hangover once you have offspring – it doesn’t matter how blurry around the edges you are the next morning, you gotta get up and be a parent – no ifs or buts about it.  That little smiley head is enough to have me leaping out of bed at 5am anyhow –  way more effective than a couple of Panadol and a serving of grease.

stunner of a stay

Short but oh so sweet.

A weekend island getaway, complete with family, friends, babies, beer and music (among other things).

Straight out front.

These were sampled, smooshed and smeared.

Stairs were discovered.

Sandy times.

Smooches.

Sweet ride.  Real sweet.

SNACKS: (vary seasonings according to your tastes)

Balsamic Baked Chickpeas

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 t sea salt + extra salt for seasoning after baking
  • 1-2t garlic granules (optional)
  • 3-4T balsamic vinegar (I like it vinegary)
*If you marinate the chickpeas over night, the flavour is much better, but no stress if you don’t plan ahead.

  1. Toss chickpeas in vinegar, salt, garlic.
  2. Place on a baking tray that has been misted with olive oil spray.
  3. Bake for 1 hour at 150 degrees C – keep and eye on them and stir/rotate every 10 minutes or so.
  4. After 1 hour, turn off oven, leaving chickpeas inside to cool completely (helps dry them out further)
  5. Sprinkle with more salt (mmm) and a crack of black pepper for luck.

Munchies sorted.

Strange beachy plant specimens.

Homeward bound… sleepy time.

see ya real soon (maybe)

I’m excited.

We’re going here tomorrow:

North Stradbroke Island.

Just lush.

Last time we went here, it was a tad different (read: no child).

(read: many beers)

You don’t need beer goggles to appreciate that this place is beautiful.

I’ve been cooking like a crazy woman, creating a little stash of goodies for us to take along.  This time we are not going to survive on beers alone.

Yes, that’s right – I’m going.  I’m going, and I’m leaving you with just these photos for company.

When I get back from the white sandy beaches, warm blue waters…having had my fill of delicious food, cold beers and reggae tunes, I may fill you in with some recipes.

If I decide to come home.

I’m not sure what we were doing either.

Lord of the Bars

So, you’ve seen the movie.

I only remember the first one.  The other 2 are a bit of a sleepy daze… I think I fell into a sugar-induced coma after eating too many lollies.  I don’t really dig the fantasy genre.  Or science fiction.  Viper loves both.  We make it work; it can’t always be rose petals and sweet guitar serenades (particularly as he can only play 3 songs on the guitar, which he repeats and repeats and repeats, ah bless).

At least now, if someone has no idea about New Zealand, you can just say “Lord of the Rings,” and they will know what you are talking about.

The movie does look nice, but the real New Zealand is better:

Green is good.  Makes me happy.

I reckon this tree is older than Yoda.

Tiny man or huge rock?  You decide.

Way better than the movie.

According to Viper, to explore this wild and unspoilt land, you need much sustenance to fuel your intrepid journey.  He likens the satisfying power of this next recipe to that of “Hobbit-food” whatever that may be.   See the movie, now eat the bar.

Oaty Fruity Filler Bar:

My slightly more interesting version of these Friendly Fruit Bars – again, these would be very suitable for kiddies, just omit nuts if you are giving them to a baby/toddler (choking risk).

This recipe is kind of fool-proof.  You can make it how you like it.  Super fruity?  Blend extra fruit and have a nice thick fruit filling layer.  Like it a tad nutty?  Just add more nuts, it’s really that simple.  Don’t be afraid to play around – I would call myself an intuitive cook (just a fancy way of saying that I can’t stick to a recipe) Mistakes are good in the kitchen – it gives you the opportunity to work out a different flavour combination, method or technique.  Learn by DOING.

  • 1/2C dried fruit
  • 1C whole oats
  • 4T apple puree
  • 1T cinnamon (I’m crazy for the stuff, feel free to use less)
  • 1/4C walnuts
  • 1/2t sea salt
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t vanilla extract (optional)
Chose your dried fruit.  I went with what I had on hand (no, really?) apricots, prunes, fig.  Admittedly, not the most attractive when blended (see evidence further down) but tasty nonetheless.
Blend
Scrape out blended fruit “paste” and set aside.
I always blend the fruit first, as you don’t need to be too picky cleaning out the food processor – any bits of fruit left will just be blended back in the the oats (mmm fruity oaty).
Pulse your oats, apple, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and baking powder in a food processor.  The finished texture is up to you; a few oats left a bit chunky is nice for texture.  You could blend 3/4C oats, and fold in 1/4 cup of whole oats if you want, that’s the beauty of it, play around.
Spread half of your oaty mix into a lined baking tray.  Push down firmly.  Spread over your fruit paste.
Sprinkle over nuts.
Spread over remaining oaty mix, push the whole lot down firmly.  As it is a pretty crumbly mixute, I just sprinkle over the rest of the oaty mix, and kind of squash it together.  It doesn’t matter if you have gaps or holes – this is not a fussy appearance-driven bar, it’s all about taste.  This is what I like to call “rustic” food (this was a trick used in the cafe I used to work at – if something wasn’t perfect looking, we would just call it “rustic” – covers a multitude of sins).
Bake at 180 degrees celcius for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven.
This recipe was made in a 20cm by 10cm loaf pan.
I think Gollum is angry, ‘cos I won’t give him any of MY “precious” bars.  Ha.