Tuesday, 16 August 2016

We Love Spain

Hi! What's happening, Internet. We went to Spain to visit family, just outside Bilbao. Took a million photos that I have yet to sort through, but in the meantime here are a few from my trusty 5C.

Some murals in Plentzia. I had to be an Instagram girl and get our pic in front of it. Awesome beach there, by the way. Someone had made these little sand pools by the waters edge, and all the toddlers were loving it. I love the beaches there - it doesn't matter if you've got stretch marks, varicose veins, spare tire, whatever, Spanish women are out in their bikinis. 80 or 8. I was casually chatting to another mom, who happened to be topless and was rocking some post-breastfeeding boobs. Beach + body = beach body. I'm always covered up, because I'm lame.

More mural.

She got to spend a lot of time with this guy. Heart-eyes.

Going a bit feral. She was naked for the better part of a week.


There are playgrounds every two blocks, it seems like. Really fantastic for families. This Snow White has a bit of the Madonna about her, no?

Father/son siesta.

The siesta continues. He's actually gone off the charts size-wise now, and his delicious chubbiness seemed to delight older Spanish ladies. Quite rightly. And he's on food properly now. So much food.

Gotta love a good washing line.


Yet more mural.

Me and the boy.

Random corner in a bar. Continental Europe always makes me want to plant geraniums.

A snack on the grass in a rare clothed moment. Papaya and hemp seeds.

More public art in Bilbao, right by the Guggenheim.

Yeah. Wow.

I like this lettering.

And last but certainly not least, some fountain frolicking. Right outside the Guggenheim is an amazing playground, because of course there is. AND some crazy fountains for playing in. I'm not sure I've ever seen her happier. The world is her playground.

Hopefully I will get around to posting some more soon!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Everything Bagel Salt Rip-Off

So, I didn't invent this. I was given a jar as a hostess gift, and soon found I couldn't live without it. The operative word here is "everything", because it now goes on everything. Anyway, I gather you can purchase this delightful stuff in the US, but we don't live there - I find these proportions do the job quite nicely:

Everything Bagel Salt

1 cup coarse sea salt (however coarse you like it - I ground mine a touch finer in the mortar and pestle.)
1 tablespoon caraway
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion salt

Here it is on some golden beetroot on toast. 

Also good on tomatoes, or avocado - basically anything on toast. In other words, everything.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Love as an Anchor

There's a song I love, Prescilla by Bat for Lashes, do you know it? She's talking about a friend settling down to start a family, who wants to "comb a brush around their heads in the morning / to be needed, simply and with meaning."

With "love as an anchor, before the courage is gone." Because it takes courage, this motherhood gig. And love is an anchor.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Snapshot - Pea Podding

Just to say that I'm pretty sure that pea podding is the most wholesome toddler activity there is.

She thinks it's pea "popping", and softly says "pop!" as she pops them in the bowl. It's pretty delightful.

That's all! Happy Monday! 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Lacto-Fermented Daikon (that my toddler loves)

I've mentioned before that my kid can't get enough of these fermented radish pickles. This isn't a recipe, as much as a method - I obviously didn't invent this (if it were a song, it would be 'Trad'), but I'm asked about it frequently enough that I thought some of you might like a how-to? They are unbelievably tasty, considering how simple they are. I just plonk the jar on the table to have with dinner, or with bread and veggies and dips for an easy Sunday lunch. The three of us (you know, who eat solid foods), can get through a jar in one sitting. Sound good? Ok!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Miso-y Peanut Dipping Sauce

Another recipe?? I've gone all industrious on you! No, this is just a little one - a simple (but completely addictive) dipping sauce for those gorgeous rice-paper rolls we're all making now that spring has finally sprung. Whenever I make something that my guy really loves, 9 times out of 10 it has miso in it. This has miso in it:

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Wild Garlic Pesto

Can you get wild garlic where you are? This time of year I can find it at my farmers market, but I understand that it's easily foraged for in the English countryside, if you know where to look (smell?). But for me, purchased is just fine. It looks like grass, and tastes like strong garlic - we're a garlic-loving household, so that's just fine too. Made this pesto today to go with a barbecue and we couldn't get enough. I didn't plan on posting about this, so forgive the photo quality, but it's so good I couldn't resist -  I'm not going to be humble, this is killer:

Friday, 15 April 2016

Scenes From Our Table

Spring! How about some flowers?

Ranunculus. My favourite, I think. Besides all the others.

I had to move some stuff around so that breakable things were out of reach, which means she can now get to the cookbooks. She especially likes to look through the Ms. Cupcake book, and ask 'shall we make that one? Shall we??'

She also likes the colourful Mexico cookbook.

This is a pudla, which is a savoury chickpea flour pancake. Here with veggies inside, pickled chickpeas on top, and some hot sauce. Chickpeas forever. I made the table runner. I hadn't even ironed it yet, just wanted to see what it looked like.

A brunch. French toast and banana. There was more banana, but SOMEBODY ate it all.

A dinner. Stir-fry and edamame.

Another dinner. Can every night be taco night? Not joking.

And some fabric from my stash that I'm going to turn into table linens (because we don't have enough). Thinking of selling some extras on Etsy - what do you think, do people buy napkins and runners? I could wax poetic about them; I love things that are both pretty and practical, and a little old-fashioned. (I have an intense love of vintage slips for the same reason. Often I see some girl with a clingy, unflattering dress situation and think, 'you need a slip, young lady'.) Here's a better look at that runner, still un-ironed:

The fabric was from a remnant I snagged at The Cloth House quite a while ago. Notice the book? Some men bring home flowers, mine gets me a book called 'Healing Foods'. That's love, folks. Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Rye/Chai Aquafaba Waffles

Remember when I was all in a tizzy about vegan meringue? Well, I've been experimenting with the magic ingredient, Aquafaba, in something we actually eat on the reg: whole-grain waffles. You know I love to make waffles; they're treaty and fun, freeze really well, and if I use good flour, pretty healthy too. But whole-grain flours can be a little dense, a little heath-food-y - I'm finding that aquafaba makes them noticeably lighter and fluffier. Result! So here's my first contribution to the Aquafaba recipe cannon, and there will definitely be more where this came from (watch out Buckwheat, I'm coming for you). These ones are easy to make, aromatic and eminently brunch-worthy, with no refined sugar. Yum:

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Dealing With Toddler Pickiness, A Year On

It seems like a while ago now that I was first tackling some pickiness with my (amazing, strong-willed) girl, and to be honest, it seems to come and go. Right now it feels like we've turned a corner, but I'm sure that it's just going to be an ongoing thing. Current thoughts and tactics:

Friday, 1 April 2016

Getting Back on the Mat

The sun is shining, and I'm sick of being sick. I'm sick of being tired! Maybe it's just the natural end to that stay-in-bed postpartum period, or maybe it's spring, but H is 10 weeks old, and I feel like getting fit again. There was a time, before we had kids, that I went to yoga every single day. I had joined a gym when we temporarily didn't have a shower in our flat, and was really making the most of it. So it was that hardcore gym-bunny vinyasa flow yoga too. I felt awesome. I felt strong. I'm not necessarily looking to lose weight (I'm back in my normal clothes already. Did I mention H was a big baby? I did??), but I want to feel strong again. But, um, how do I do this with little ones underfoot? I'm not sure how this is going to work out, but here's my grand plan:

Step 1: Just get the goddamn mat out. Get my favourite leggings on. Take my shoes off. If you build it, they will come. H is happy in a bouncer for a little while, usually, so I just need to plan to take this sliver of time, every day. 

Step 2: Involve F. On the days that she's home with me, maybe we can do yoga together? Our initial crack at this was a partial success. She really had fun, and it was so cute to see her doing down dog and warrior pose. But her attention span got the better of her, and soon she was making us a pretend picnic of chocolate cake to eat. Even so, a handful of sun salutations is better than nothing, surely?

Step 3: Refocus my diet. Not because I'm 'dieting', but because those little indulgences make you feel like crap when they become habitual. Caffeine and sugar have snuck back into my life, not everyday but enough to make me crave more, and I need them gone again. So goodbye for now vegan cupcakes! It's not you, it's me... And it's not like I need to be some Iron Woman, normally I think it's fine to indulge - but parenting two small children, one of whom is huge for his age and exclusively breastfeeding, is physically demanding. It's a marathon. I need stamina! Snacks lately have been protein-y (probably because of the aforementioned milk chugger), lots of nuts and seeds. F recently discovered that she loves pumpkin seeds, so we need them in the house all the time now.

Step 4: If all of the above goes well, and we are practicing daily, I might look into getting an audio-led yoga practice CD or something, and a child-sized mat for F. It could be our fun thing in the morning! We'll see though.

Just an aside, don't put Kombucha in your smoothie, even single fermented. It makes it 90% foam. Whoops!

Any tips for me? Anyone maintain a daily practice with kiddos about? What works?

Battle of the Vegan Pregnancy Books

I've had two vegan pregnancies, and I've got 3 books on the subject - so that makes me an expert, right? No, really these are just my thoughts on a few of the books out there on having/enjoying/surviving a vegan pregnancy. 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Leftover Love: Curry Ramen

I am pretty much living on noodle soups these days, they are my absolute favourite thing right now for a weekday lunch. Fast and healthy, and cozy, and yum. I like to throw them together with whatever I have on hand, leftover or fresh, so here's an idea to use up some leftover veggies!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A Long Weekend, A Living Kitchen

She kicked off the 4 day weekend with Peppa and George, naturally. Opted to stay in pyjamas for most of the morning.

While we got the house ready for guests! 

I was telling my sister-in-law that we had a Kombucha explosion (yeah, that happened. Rite of passage?), and she said that we had a "living kitchen". I thought that was a lovely turn of phrase, and a lovely thing to say in light of the mini-disaster that prompted it! Anyway, that's my new goal, a living kitchen.

Easter Sunday, my old stand-by Jambalaya and a new roasted veggie salad with basil sauce. 

Living kitchen? Certainly a full kitchen. 

Apple crumble for dessert, which I didn't photograph. It was nice though. 

I won't lie, I love it when people bring us flowers. I broke my big vase last year (boo), so sometimes I have to break down nice arrangements into a few smaller bunches. It works, and then we have flowers EVERYWHERE. 


Marks and Spencer's apple hot cross buns are accidentally vegan, FYI. 

Talking poetry with my father-in-law. 

And she finally, FINALLY, ate an avocado. My avocado. That I really did want. So I was happy, but still kind-of hungry.

So we had a good time. She ate too much chocolate, and played with her cousins, and stayed up too late - basically the toddler equivalent of a 4 day bender. And the boy, I'm almost too scared to report, started sleeping through. Success, all around!