Saturday, 28 February 2015

On the Seventh Night

And lo, on the seventh night, they all slept in their own beds, all night. It's a little soon to be claiming victory, so I don't dare say this above a whisper, but you guys, she's sleeping through. I will post in depth about what we did, (in short, we night-weaned with cuddles from Dad) once I'm certain this isn't a fluke! But 11 hours, straight through. We stayed up and watched House Of Cards, had a glass of wine, and STILL got 9 hours of uninterrupted kip. A week ago this seemed impossible - I still feel like it's too good to be true!

We also got a new HUGE mattress to make room for little babies.

A little snack.

And lots of reading on a sunny almost-spring day yesterday. Happy Saturday!!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

How to Beautifully Kit Out Your Kitchen, Without Spending an Absolute Fortune

I love our kitchen. I love spending time in it, and I love our things. It's pretty well kitted out, for us, and we've done it slowly over time, without dedicating a huge budget. Here are my thoughts on creating a kitchen you'll love, that works well for your needs, affordably.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Courgetti and Other New Words

So, I've jumped on this particular bandwagon:
Just got an inexpensive manual spiralizer, and I have to say, courgetti is tasty! The little one wasn't impressed, but it's quite fun to use and makes a change, anyway. I'm pretty convinced that spiralizers are a fad, and in 20 years we'll all think it's 'very 2015', but I can enjoy a fad now and then. I've got ombré hair, haven't I? I'll spare you a recipe, because really, you can google it and find about a billion. This is just courgette (zucchini), cooked with a little garlic and olive oil, and some nutritional yeast to make it extra vegan.

Fun, right? Now, what else can I spiralize...?

In other news, F. likes to kiss pictures of dogs, and hang out with our real dog. Her vocabulary is blowing my mind, and she's so affectionate. This age is lush, and it's going so fast. Just for my own record, her vocabulary currently includes: eye, nose, teeth, toes, ear, dog, Rufus, Buddy (Hey Buddy! Hi Rufus!), cat, monkey, bird (ALL the birds), bee, shoe, hat, poopoo, momma, mommy, dada, daddy, bathtime (bath-ti), snack (nack!), tea, NO, bread, nana (banana), apple, pear, juice, porridge (sort-of), blueberry (boo-baby! boo-booboo!), baby, two (all counting is the number two, as in two, two, TWO!!), bear, book, Peck Peck Peck (her favourite book), choo choo, night night, booby, hot, OUT! (to Rufus, at dinner. Oops!), uh-oh, hello, hi, thank you, bye bye, done, all done. I'm sure there's more - it's just amazing watching them grow and learn. It's like a huge, complicated, unbelievably time-consuming science project.

Ok, me too - all done.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sunday, Supplements and Summer Rolls

I gave up caffeine years ago, but I still really enjoy a mug of bitter barley coffee or decaf.
Much to my surprise, so does she.
Been craving summer rolls since I saw them last week on Oh Dear Drea. My fillings were tofu, grated carrot and turnip (I love turnips so much, especially raw), basil and mint, greens from the farmer's market and sprouts.

They turned out rather beautifully if I may say so myself! Not suited to today's weather, but I wanted them BADLY. A little fiddly, but fun and not at all difficult to make.
And lastly, I'm in love with our new Omega oil. I took a DHA supplement derived from algae during pregnancy and the first year of breastfeeding, and I would again, but it's quite expensive and in tablet form. So, I have been on the lookout for an Omega 3 supplement that we can all have (especially the babe), that is easy to take and doesn't taste bad. A helpful nutritionist at Whole Foods recommended this oil, and I'm so glad she did! It has a mild nutty flavour that I don't find offensive in the least - we have it on our porridge for breakfast. The ingredients look wonderful, and it isn't too dear. Win, win, win.

Basket Hat

This is the goofy creature with whom I share my days:

The whole time, she's going "hat! hat!"

Still trying to night wean, and it's hard guys. My husband is the point man on this project, and he's doing amazingly. The first night she only woke up once, but for two hours, and then last night was a disaster. She was up almost hourly for cuddles with Dad. On the one hand, I think she has started to realise that boobs will not be forthcoming, on the other hand, she still hasn't worked out how to sleep without parental help. Rome wasn't built in a day, though, and it's a start. Not sure how to continue with the work week looming, but we will muddle through. Wish us luck!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Basic Spelt Waffles

We have waffles fairly frequently - I'd say I make a batch once a week, which can also give us leftovers to freeze if it's a weekday. Thought it only fair to post my basic, basic, basic spelt waffle recipe, although I can't take full credit for it. The original proportions were from Vegan Brunch, just stripped down to make it weaning-baby-friendly. F. loves them - lately she's been reverently whispering 'bwead', and even attempting to say blueberry, but it comes out 'boobooboo'. At which point I die. Without further ado:
2 cups of non-dairy milk, in our house usually hemp or soy
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons of neutral cooking oil, like canola
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
2 cups spelt flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Spray oil for the waffle iron
Mix up the wet ingredients, mix up the dry ingredients, mix 'em together. Use a light touch with the batter, so it doesn't get tough. I find spelt flour can vary in texture quite a bit - if it's too thick, add another tablespoon of milk. It shouldn't be as thick as muffin batter, but slightly thicker than pancakes. Cook as per your waffle iron, generously using the spray oil between batches.
You could use some proportion of white flour if these are too whole-grainy, but I admit I like them that way. The babe usually has hers with nut butter and fruit, and I have maple syrup!
Top tips:
Let your waffle iron pre-heat properly. This only makes, like, 8 waffles in my Cuisinart. You can't afford for 2 of them to be duds.
While the iron pre-heats, let the batter rest for a few minutes. It's better behaved that way.
Don't overfill the iron. I'd rather have cute frayed edges than messy, overflowing, burning awfulness. Been there.
In the event of a waffle iron disaster, they make pretty decent pancakes with a little more milk. Again, it's happened to the best of us...
That's it! Embarrassing basic, but healthy enough to be in our regular rotation.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

So, What Do You Do All Day?

We dance (in our pajamas, to Otis Redding).
We get into trouble.
We cook (in the big kitchen, and the little one).
We run around the city. (No, I don't always wear the baby anymore. Heavy! Re: stroller, why get it in black when it comes in BRIGHT ORANGE??) 
(London, we love you really. Cape Town was just a fling.)

We play dress up.

We rest, finally! 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls

Look, they aren't bakery style, but if you've got some leftover pizza dough - why not make cinnamon rolls! Refined sugar free, unless you glaze them, and ready in 15 minutes. Not too shabby.


Leftover pizza dough (the batch was made from 500g "OO" flour, 1 teaspoon yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 325 ml warm water, and about a tablespoon olive oil - this was roughly a third of the resulting dough, two days later.)

2 Tablespoons melted vegan margarine

2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup


Roll out your pizza dough (about enough for one pizza) into a rectangle. Spread on the margarine and syrup - you'll have too much of both in all likelihood, but you can eyeball it. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Use more than in the pic above - I just didn't take a pic after because I use my fingers to mix it all together, like fingerpainting.

Roll and slice, bake for 10 - 15 minutes on 180C (350F). Boom, cinnamon rolls. Check them at 10 minutes, just in case, because they can go a bit hockey-puck if they bake too long. If you want to glaze them, by all means use an icing-sugar and soy milk glaze, but I quite like them plain, and obviously then they are ok for little ones. This was the last batch, made with whole grain dough:

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Herbs for Weaning

I'm hoping to dry up the girls over the next few weeks, so I've made myself a simple weaning tea; e
qual parts dried sage, peppermint and lemon balm, brewed strong and taken 3 times a day. We are weaning as gently as possible, so engorgement hasn't been much of an issue. Still, I'm trading in my fennel, nettle, raspberry leaf and blessed thistle for now. Some other widely recommended herbs for weaning, that aren't too obscure, are spearmint, parsley, thyme and sorrel.
Sounds delicious, right? Will incorporate into my cooking as well. Apparently peppermint tea has quite a weak effect, and sage can be quite strong - but I much prefer that taste of peppermint. One of my favourite baby care brands, Earth Mama Angel Baby, make a No More Milk Tea if DIY isn't your thing.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Eats and Sleeps

Peppermint tea. Finally ok to have, as I'm trying to wean. It can reduce milk supply, so should be avoided by new moms.

Chickpea "tuna salad" on seaweed sourdough, with sprouts and avocado. I think the little miss is coming out of her picky phase a bit, fingers crossed.
Co-sleeping is the best. Co-sleeping is the worst.


A snack while me and my man both worked at the kitchen table, me on coursework, him on work-work. Too. Much. Technology.

Part of my grand weaning plan: hot, frothy (soy) milk. She loves it! And I think she enjoys having it from a mug like a grown-up. She calls it tea.

Her "tea".

And another boobless nap. Just gotta keep going. Getting her down for a nap used to be one of my easiest tasks.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Valentine's Brunch at The Gallery Cafe, London

We're not big into Valentine's Day, but my husband and I happen to have met on February 14th, in a cheesy club in Soho. So we try to do a (very) little something to mark the occasion. This year, my love thought we should go for brunch at The Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green. The menu is almost entirely vegan, save for a couple of dairy options, and the profits go to charity. Pretty cool.
Almond Latte.

English Breakfast. Now we're in the depths of the British winter, we're back on the stodge. I had a mild panic after I ordered, thinking I should have gotten the pancakes, but this was good too. I get too excited to make a good decision at veggie places - can't handle all the choices!

Adorable brownie bite - fudgey and delicious.

Cupcakes and muffins - all vegan! I didn't ask about the croissants, but I should have. A vegan croissant is a very rare spot indeed.

So, yeah, I know it's dumb, but Happy Valentine's Day. Now go eat some chocolate.