Healthy Salted Date Caramel Sauce

I’ve been loving my healthy treats lately, its been a strange thing for me, because I don’t really like sweet treats.  The things you will like during pregnancy might startle you and make you worry about who you’re turning into!

I’m usually a rather nice person, and I watch Carl eat something in one sitting, but lately I’ve felt a lot of resentment towards the fact that he can’t control himself and eats most of my special really dark chocolate, in such a short period, where I try to make every block last and practice self control.    I actually went to bed angry thinking about the fact that I didn’t have a little block of chocolate, the irrational anger is real guys.  We think pregnancy is tough on us, but what about our poor husbands, or partners just getting caught in the crossfire of our irrational emotions or maybe they should just leave our special treats alone!

This salted caramel date sauce is amazing! I’ve been using it in everything! Seeing as I’m trying to eat 6 dates a day for a better labour, and my blender doesn’t want to properly blend in the dates in any of my smoothies;  This sauce is my special way of sneaking in delicious dates into my diet, that feels so decadent, but is so much better for you than normal caramel sauce.  I’ve been using it in my overnight oats, overnight coconut porridge, for my frozen salted date banana bites, as a dip for fruit, swirled into banana nice cream and as an extra special something to my rooibos latte.  The possibilities are endless!

HEALTHY SALTED DATE CARAMEL SAUCE

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates, if they don’t seem soft, or you have a bad blender soak them in warm water for 15 minutes and discard water.
  • 1/4 tsp ground Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 or more non dairy milk.  If you like it a little runnier add more milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp caramel extract – optional, but adds extra caramely goodness.

Directions

healthy salted caramel

Blend everything together in a blender until its smooth and has reached your desired consistency.   Serve with apple slices, or refrigerate

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an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ Pretty clouds over lions head.

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^^ Probably our last hike at lions head.

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^^ Raw beetroot ravioli stuffed with sunflower cheese.

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^^ Pretty succulents.

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^^ Roses popping out.

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^^ A walk on the promenade.

Hello friends! How are you doing? Did you get up to anything this weekend.  We had a horrible weekend where nothing wanted to work out, I almost got knocked off the trail on lions head thanks to the trail runners not worrying about anyone else, and to top it off it was such an insanely hot day before 10 that I started feeling like food in a microwave just slowly cooking away getting radiated.  I’m really not looking forward to Summer back in Africa, but I’m trying to survive by having my eye on the prize.

What I ate: 28 Weeks Pregnant

I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy is flying by, I feel like I need to update and talk more about it before its all over and the lack of sleep thanks to a cute little newborn makes me all crazy and frazzled.

I’ve cut a lot of food out of my diet since finding out I’m pregnant, I’ve figured out what works for me and what doesn’t work for me one bit.  It all seems to be paying off, because I’m feeling great, have a lot of energy, I’m sleeping wonderfully and all my tests keep coming back great.  A couple of things I’ve cut out is; sugar, the big bad culprit we all know is bad for us, but we just can’t get enough of it, I actually wasn’t eating that much sugar before we went to Ireland, but as soon as we arrived in Ireland it was like I just had to have all the sugar.  All those delicious first world treats and candy I’ve never tried before had to be consumed.  I don’t regret my Irish sugar binge one bit, but I’m so glad I’m off sugar again, it just makes me feel so much better and my skin just feels wonderful! I’ve also limited my fruit in take to 3 – 4 fruit a day.  I got rid of most gluten, but kept rye bread in the mix, but I started getting severe heartburn from it from just one bite, so no more bread for me.  I’ve started sprouting most of my grains and legumes for easier digestion, personally I never knew brown rice could be sprouted, but wow, does it improve the taste!  and I’ve cut out soy, unless its fermented. Here is a look at what I’ve been eating.

BREAKFAST: Around 8 am

Gluten Free Overnight PorridgeIron rich Overnight Oats

I tried having a smoothie for breakfast, but it really just doesn’t work for me.  It doesn’t fill me up or keep me going for long, also the consistency really gets me on an empty stomach.  Instead I’ve been sticking to my Iron rich overnight oats or Grain free coconut flour overnight porridge filled with chia seeds, ground flax and hemp seeds.  I top both of these with fruit and coconut yogurt.  Its so good and keeps me going till around 12 pm – 1 pm.  Overnight porridge is just so convenient, you add all your ingredients in a jar, shake it up and leave it in the fridge overnight.  You wake up to a delicious, no hassle breakfast.  Convenient.

Snack: 12 pm

Green smoothie

I don’t really feel snacky, the porridge really keeps me full and satisfied for a long time, but around 12 pm or 1 pm, I start feeling a bit of a hankering for food. I either have a green smoothie or a couple of spoons of my favourite oh mega peanut butter or nuts.

LUNCH 2 pm

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Kale salad to go

^^ Look how well it travels.

I don’t really stray to far from my trusty kale salad for lunch, its so easy to make. I usually make a big salad that last me the whole week, it keeps well and transports amazingly in a lunchbox.  The kale salad consists of  kale chopped finely and massaged with lemon juice, sprinkled with salt and an avocado smashed in.  Topped with beetroot, carrot, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, peppers, roasted pumpkin seeds and lightly fried tempeh or walnut and mushroom meat.  Other lunches I have;  a nori wrap filled with sprouted beetroot hummus and vegetables.  So yummy and filling.

Snack: 5 pm – 5 -30 pm

vegan protein shake

Like clock work I have my green protein shake at this time.  I’ve started adding moringa leaf powder to it for added benefits.  Moringa is just the best.

DINNER: 6:30 pm – 7 pm

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Amazing lentil soup

For dinner I’ve been having my Moroccan lentil soup, a coconut flour base pizza, with homemade sugar free Iron rich BBQ sauce topped with a lot of veggies.  Burrito bowls made with cauliflower and broccoli rice, walnut meat and other veggies.  and a lot more.

DESSERT:

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I usually have one block of 85% or darker, dark chocolate or Frozen banana bites with date salted caramel.  I use the salted date sauce in my protein shake for extra date goodness.

Drinks : not mentioned is all the water I drink!  I drink a lot of water some with lemon in it some just like that and occasionally I’ll have a rooibos tea latte.  My dinners change, but breakfast and lunch stays the same!  Not mentioned: I do take prenatal vitamins!

That’s just a quick peak into what I’m eating while pregnant.

 

 

Baby Bump Update 28 Weeks Pregnant

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Hello Third Trimester!  I can’t believe I’ve made it to the third trimester, I feel like this pregnancy is just flying by and I’m just sitting here trying to enjoy it as much as I can.  I know a lot of woman if not all hate pregnancy, but I’m loving it! Growing a healthy baby is an amazing feeling, sometimes a little bit alien and weird, but mostly just amazing!  Feeling my baby kick inside me and sometimes flip around like a tiny gymnast is a wonderful feeling, the baby has even started kicking for Carl, not on demand, baby still stops kicking as soon as Carl touches my belly, but when Carl starts talking to baby, the kicking continues.

28 Weeks baby bump

Symptoms : I’ve been really lucky and I haven’t had any serious symptoms throughout this pregnancy (knock on wood).  Maybe its because I’m feeding my body only good nutrients, not having any sugar and cut down on gluten, but I feel great! My mood has been a little iffy, I sometimes get irrational anger towards Carl and the weird things he does at dinner table.  I’m sleeping pretty great and wake up feeling refreshed, I really hope it stays that way! Baby seems to sleep at night and kick the living daylights out of me during the day.  I also made the decision not to have anything to do with stress, and not seeing any negative people that make me feel bad until this baby is born.  Its been one of the best decisions I’ve made, I’m putting my baby’s health and my health first, and I’ve seen the positive way I feel since deciding this.  I want to continue staying, healthy and strong ;physically and emotionally for my home birth in December! I’ll see you negative Nancy’s in December!

Cravings: I haven’t been craving anything really.  I’m eating healthy meals, often.  I did find the most amazing all natural peanut butter, that’s made with all natural ingredients, including flax seed oil that I haven’t been able to get enough of.  Its just amazing!  I recommend oh mega peanut butter to everyone! Its just amazing!

Exercise:  I’ve been exercising every day for 30 – 40 minutes.  Light Cardio, some weight training and Pilates during the week.  On the weekend Carl and I like to go for a hour and half hike or walk.

Looking forward to:  I’m looking forward to getting the nursery ready!  I can’t wait to get into our new place to get painting and setting up for baby.

28 Weeks pregnant

All in all, I’m feeling pretty great about the pregnancy, birth and becoming a Mother.  I’m really excited to hold my baby in my arms and make our earthly adventure even more exciting.

 

an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ Nature, always impressing me with its vibrant display of colour.  We should all plant bougainvillea as a fence, it will make the world so much prettier.

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^^ Found this pretty flower on the ground.  Just look at that colour.

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^^ Walks in Tokai forest.  They are planning on felling all these trees.  It brings a lot of sadness to my tree hugging heart.

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^^ Mesmerised.

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^^ Find beauty everywhere.

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^^ We found a log to sit on to enjoy our little picnic lunch.  Kale salad and almonds for me and a rye bread sandwich for him.

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^^ Enjoying his sandwich.

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^^ You know your husband loves you if he is willing to carry a heavy stump back to the car, because with a little work this stump will be turned into a side table.  Thanks Carl!

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^^ Pretty flowers on a walk to the waterfront.  A contrast of colours.

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^^One of my favourite photos! Feet in the forest.

Hey friends! What did you guys do this weekend?  We’ve been preparing for our move in 2 weeks and trying to buy everything at just the right moment so it will be delivered on the day we move in! Hopefully it all works out perfectly, otherwise this pregnant lady will be sleeping on the floor! We decided to go to Tokai forest before they start felling, so we can walk around the forest and be happy amongst all the trees.  I’m really sad that they want to cut down all the pine trees in Cape town for fynbos, but that’s just because I’m horribly allergic to it and it feels like Cape town is slowly trying to kill me, but we are only planning on staying here for a year or two so hopefully all the felling gets delayed and I get to enjoy all the trees until we leave.  Hopefully!

 

Moroccan Red Lentil, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

While everyone else is gearing up for the colder weather, I’m sitting here soaking up the last bit of Winter on these cloudy Cape Town days.   When the weather gets colder we all tend to gravitate to comforting, warming meals that make us feel all cosy and toasty.  This soup brings all the comfort, but with so much flavour, the delightful tastes of Morocco dancing on your tongue will bring all the comfort and soon become one of your favourite recipes.

Filled with good for you ingredients like kale, sweet potato, carrot and the ever so trusty red lentil, this is an affordable meal that’s healthy and easy on your pocket, yet will make you feel like you put way more effort into meal time.

MOROCCAN RED LENTIL, KALE AND SWEET POTATO SOUPserves 4

Moroccan Lentil, sweet potato and kale soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, any other oil
  • 1 shallot,  finely diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups split red lentils
  • 2 quarts low sodium vegetable stock
  • lemon wedges, coconut yogurt, fresh coriander and parsley

Directions

In a large pot over medium high heat, add oil.

Add the shallot and carrot, and saute until translucent and starting to brown.  Add the garlic,cumin, ginger, turmeric, paprika, chilli flakes and cinnamon.  Cook until fragrant about 1 minute, while stirring.  Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils, sweet potato, kale and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer uncovered for 20 – 25 minutes, until the lentils and vegetables are tender.  Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Amazing lentil soup

Serve the soup with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of lemon, garnish with fresh coriander and parsley.  Serve with a crusty bread, personally I think the soup is filling enough on its own to be served without bread, so I didn’t bother.  Enjoy.

Surviving the First Trimester of Pregnancy

It feels like a million years ago since the first trimester, but boy, do I remember it.  The irrational anger and emotion, feeling like I’m going totally insane, falling asleep in a yoga position ( Yes, it happened and it was surprisingly comfortable), the total exhaustion, the need to wear comfy clothes and the totally ridiculous nausea just to tie it all together in the perfect little package of ” making a baby is HARD”.  I’m here to tell you it does get easier and that soon you will feel like your old self again ( Hello, Second trimester).

I managed to make all the symptoms of the dreaded first trimester as easy as possible by making little changes that made all the difference, and I don’t think its fair to keep it all to myself.  So here is my top ten tips for surviving the first trimester, or making it a little easier.

SURVIVING THE FIRST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY

Surviving The First Trimester of pregnancy

  1. Coconut water: Staying hydrated is really important during pregnancy and coconut water seemed to just make me feel so much better.  Loaded with potassium and electrolytes it even gave me the tiny energy boost I needed and it just tasted so much better than actual water to me.
  2. Rest:  When you have time just take naps, even if its a quick car nap during your lunch time. You’re growing a human its hard work don’t feel bad, you will regret not taking those naps when the insomnia kicks in later in your pregnancy.
  3. Eat often:  Yes, it seems like the worst idea ever, but every time I got hit with nausea it could have been prevented with just eating something.  I realised just because I don’t feel hungry doesn’t mean I’m not hungry.  Eating small meals made the nausea bearable and made me feel human.  Find the meals that don’t repulse you and nibble on that.  I made a whole meal, only to throw the entire thing away, because I couldn’t stand the look and smell of it.  Give yourself a break and eat what you can.
  4. Healthy treats: Try not to go overboard with your cravings, its probably the things that are making you feel sick.  Find healthy sugar free recipes and make yourself a treat that’s actually good for you, but if you’re really craving something and you cave, don’t beat yourself up!
  5. Ginger: Ginger is a lifesaver during the first trimester, it helps with nausea and can be taken in so many different forms.  Throw fresh ginger in your smoothie, make ginger tea, drink ginger ale or just have a ginger candy.  The possibilities are endless.
  6. Exercise: The last thing you want to do is exercise, I know, but exercise really helps fight fatigue and the good old first trimester blues.  Get active! Go for a quick walk around the block or go for a hike, but if you really can’t even think about exercising, just remember that’s what the second trimester is for.
  7. Prenatal Vitamins: when you’re feeling so blah and all you’ve eaten the whole day is crackers, having taken your prenatal vitamins makes everything better during the first trimester, it gives baby all he or she needs and gives you ease of mind.  Find a prenatal vitamin that works for you.
  8. Protein: Getting enough protein in pregnancy is very important and when you’re not feeling your best it can be really hard.  Drinking my protein shake will give you that boost you need, and because its a thinner shake you don’t have to worry about the consistency making you gag.  If you can’t drink a shake dip your crackers in peanut butter or have a handful of nuts during the day.
  9. Snacks: Keep snacks with you at all time!  Even when you don’t think you will be out for that long, having something to snack on really helps prevent nausea.
  10. Just go with:  This is an exciting new phase of your life if its your first baby or your fifth it doesn’t matter every pregnancy is different so find out what works for you, keep your stress levels down and just go with it!

I hope these tips and tricks can give you the little boost you need!

an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ Surprise beach days.  Clear blue water in between the mountain.

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^^ We weren’t dressed for the beach at all!

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^^Trying to flatten my wind swept hair.

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^^ Morning hikes.  No time for make up when you need to get hiking.

 

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^^ Pretty little flowers on our hike.

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^^ We are moving at the end of this month, but that didn’t stop me from getting this sweet little bassinet.

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^^ Lots of surfers….Not a lot of waves…

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^^ I kept running around trying to find a perfect sized rock, Carl kept screaming after me to stop running.

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^^ Flowers on the beach.

Hello friends! How was your weekend? We had a very active weekend of hiking, ocean time and getting some stuff for our baby.  We’ve been trying to get a hike in every weekend and seeing how far we can go before my insane need to pee starts to kick in.  Every weekend we get a little further and every return I tend to almost run home to the comfort of the loo.  On Sunday we had big plans to go to this specific picnic area, but after getting lost, not being able to find a loo ANYWHERE, we somehow ended up driving along the ocean on the most magical ocean drive ever!  Sometimes the things that aren’t planned work out even better.  All the wild flowers all around the Cape has made even the most mundane tasks amazing.

I like long walks on the beach / West Coast National Park

The west coast national park is just a quick hour and a half drive away from Cape town central and oh, so amazing.  We  decided to go for a weekend adventure and see what all the talk is about with the spring flowers and we were surely not disappointing.  During flower season the whole park is filled with wild flowers all over,  if your heaven is a flower covered paradise I bet you will think you died and went to heaven, but today’s post is not about the flowers, I wish it were, I just can’t get all those flowers out my head, but its about the amazing beaches in this park.  When people say they like long walks on the beach, they must be talking about west coast national park?  Walking on long stretches of deserted beaches with the gentle waves lapping at your feet will make anyone a romantic.  I felt like I was in a romantic novel walking on the beach while holding Carl’s hand.

Next time I think we will definitely make a weekend trip and stay at the park, there is just so much to do and not enough hours in one day to fully experience this park, especially when you forgot to fill the car up with petrol/gas and you don’t know if you will ever make it out of the park.  Don’t worry we found a gas station.  I took a little piece of the park home with me thanks to the ridiculous amount of beach sand that was leftover in my shoes,  once you get sand in your shoes you will never get all the traces out again.  Now, I carry little pieces of the park with me every time I lace up my trainers.

west coast national park

^^ leave behind only footprints.

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^^ Carl had a lot of things in his hands, that’s how this semi formal photo happened.

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^^ How can you not be mesmerised by the ocean with a view like that.

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^^ So many footprints, but we didn’t see any people.

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^^ Baby’s first beach trip?

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^^ even the sunlight was magical.

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^^ Seagull….always such posers.

Green Vanilla Protein Shake (vegan)

I’ve been OBSESSED with protein shakes during this pregnancy.  I made three different variations that I have according to my mood, and I’m still not sure which one is my favourite so far.  The chocolate one is yummy chocolate, the strawberry one is just amazing and the green vanilla one is just soooo good.

Getting healthy protein during this pregnancy has been very important to me and baby, this protein shake keeps me going and gives me the energy boost I need to continue with my day without getting snappy.  The average woman should take about 46 grams of protein a day and during pregnancy you need about 70 grams of protein a day, that’s almost double!  If you’re a little exercise nut and have been guzzling down your protein shakes before you ever got pregnant you will know how important protein is for you and muscle building.  Protein is essential during pregnancy, because it does most of the heavy lifting (pun intended)  in the cells, structure, function and regulations for tissues and organs.  Getting high quality protein is obviously very important for you regardless if you’re pregnant or not.

BENEFITS OF DATES

Dates are filled with good sugar that helps keep you energised for longer, they are also filled with protein, fibre, folate, vitamins, iron and they will apparently help shorten your labour and avoid having to be induced.

BENEFITS OF CHIA SEEDS

By now we all know chia seeds is one of the best superfoods around, if you didn’t, well shame on you.  These little seeds are filled with protein, healthy omega 3 fats, fibre and is slow releasing energy to really keep you going during pregnancy.

BENEFITS OF SPINACH

Popeye didn’t get an energy boost after eating a can of spinach for nothing! I don’t recommend eating canned spinach, but throwing some spinach into your protein shake is sure to give you all the same benefits.  Spinach is filled with folic acid, protein, iron, antioxidants and vitamins.  It also has a neutral taste so you wont even notice it in your shake.  Except for the colour.

BENEFITS OF HEMP SEED PROTEIN POWDER

Hemp seeds are one of nature’s best sources of plant based protein and contains 20 amino acids, this contains 9 essential amino acids which our bodies can’t make by its self.  It also contains vitamins and minerals, on top of being such a great protein house.

BENEFITS OF CINNAMON

Not only does it taste good on your pancakes, but cinnamon is great for lowering your blood sugar levels, its loaded with antioxidants and helps fight infections in the body.

GREEN VANILLA PROTEIN SHAKEServes 2 or one larger glass

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups washed spinach
  • 3 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup hemp seed powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 – 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 blocks ice

Directions

Vegan Protein Shake

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and enjoy!