No Bake Chocolate Balls / Nut Free

I’ve been spreading myself really thin lately, due to my own stubbornness and the fact that most of the food here contains msg.  Why? I don’t know.  Even the simplest of food contains msg or you just can’t find it here, not the msg, just some food, like a really nice sunflower butter or apple butter.  Occasionally I would love a little bit of convenience just to make things a bit easier  even amazon is against me and refuse to ship some of their items here. Why amazon? Why? I love you and want to buy everything from you, why do you play me like this?

Sometimes life throws you curve balls and makes you zen it out in the kitchen, while creating a whole bunch of yummies!

It all starts with the most amazing sourdough rye bread I make for Carl’s work week, this bread is just the best and the more the sourdough starter ages the better it gets.  After that I make gluten free protein brownies that’s sugar free and just amazing, sunflower butter, occasionally peanut butter, popcorn trail mix and of course my favourite snack during the week these amazing no bake chocolate balls.

These balls are my favourite little snack,  its the fastest thing to grab while taking care of Arren.  They taste like a decadent chocolate cookie,but way healthier and you don’t even have to switch on your oven!  They’re nut free and made with simple ingredients, well I guess simple for me.  I have all these ingredients on hand all the time.  You can make these gluten free, by using gluten free oats.

Now, prepare your mouth for the best treat ever.

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE BALLS27 Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 – 5 tbsp cocoa powder or chocolate protein powder (  I usually add protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp water – optional

Directions

Add the oats to the food processor and ground until course.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until a firm ball forms.  If its having trouble blending add a tbsp water.

When done start forming balls.  I come out with 27 balls, but  I start of small and end up getting bored and have bigger ones at the end. Refrigerate.

Sit back and enjoy these little treats.

Postpartum Essentials for Mom

Recovery after birth is sometimes the last thing we think about when pregnant.  I on the other hand had a really overdue baby, and had a lot of time to get really prepared for baby and to get everything ready for an optimum birth recovery.

I had a month worth of freezer meals ready to go, I still have some left over in the freezer! I wrote down easy recipes that Carl would be able to make,  I set everything up for my home birth, made balms for baby and me and researched everything for a great, fast recovery after birth.

The one thing I found while trying to find what I would need in my postpartum kit, was a lot of the same things or rather obvious things, like a nursing bra?  If you’re breastfeeding I think it would be quite obvious that you would need a nursing bra and breast pads for that matter.   To me these postpartum essentials posts weren’t really helpful, but that was just because it was filled with the stuff I already knew I had to get, but not the strange and insanely helpful things that I really used.

Postpartum days are a whirlwind of lack of sleep and grazing for the nearest food you can just quickly shove in your mouth, while you and your baby get to know each other.  These are some of the essentials that I used during postpartum that made me feel more human, during a time when lack of sleep, getting peed on and just staring at poop seems to be the norm.  Don’t forget googling about what poop is normal.

POSTPARTUM ESSENTIALS FOR MOMS

  1. Coconut water.  It felt like coconut water saved my life during the first couple of days of postpartum.  It hydrated me and gave me a little energy boost that I needed during that time.  It also helped replenish electrolytes that I lost during birth.  It was also the most refreshing thing in the world to me at that point of time water felt like a drag to drink, while coconut water seemed like a gift from God.
  2. Robe.  This is one of those ” it could be obvious” things, but I decided its just a must to add.  I was having so many hot flushes and just sweating like crazy during those first couple of days ( thanks Hormones).  I just never wanted to wear a shirt.   I was always just in a nursing bra and pants, when we were alone of course, but man I wish I had a robe! I feel like it would have made me feel more decent and like I had all my ducks in a row.
  3. Dry shampoo.  I had a quick sitz bath everyday, but it wasn’t really a shower.  That first week postpartum is all about the baby and if you get a shower in , you’re lucky! With guests coming over to see the new baby, not feeling like  a complete mess is essential!  Dry shampoo is a lifesaver for those times.
  4. Vitamins.  Your body lost a lot of energy and vitamins during birth.  Keep taking your multi vitamins, but also take a probiotic to keep digestion going.  A magnesium tablet is also essential to keep cramps at bay after birth.  You won’t believe how achy your body will be.
  5. Leggings: Comfy pants is a must postpartum and these from mermaids and unicorns have such an amazing design that you can wear them while entertaining guests.  People will be so distracted by your amazing leggings that they wont even care how bad you look.  The cute baby that everyone is passing around will also be a distraction.
  6. Cocoa butter. After pregnancy you will be left with that beautiful brown line on your stomach….Linea nigra if you want to get all fancy, or if you just want it gone and not even bother knowing its name, get some cocoa butter and massage it all over it everyday.  It will help get rid of it fast!  I also used cocoa butter for the most amazing breastfeeding nipple cream, it was a lifesaver during those first couple of days when you and baby are just trying to figure out breastfeeding and you wonder if you gave birth to a snapping turtle.
  7. Arnica Everything: I used arnica oil after birth for my achy muscles and believe me did it help.  You won’t believe how sore your muscles are! Labour is the most intense workout of your life and you will hurt in places you didn’t know you had muscles.  I also took arnica tablets for inflammation, pain and aches.  You just have to get it!  Its a homeopathic dreamboat.
  8. Exercise ball.  This ball is not just helpful during labour, its amazing afterwards as well.  Bouncing a fussy baby on the ball is a great way to calm them down, help burp them and make them fall asleep.  Its also a great workout.

Extras.

Sitz bath.  A sitz bath after birth will help ease discomfort down there.  If you cant find some of the herbs to make your own sitz bath bags, just add 1/2 cup Epson salt to your bath water and 5 -10 drops of lavender oil.  It will help heal you faster and ease any discomfort.

Perineum spray:   This is great for healing and keeping things clean down there.

Granola and Snacks: I loved my healing golden milk granola as a snack during those first couple of days, it was so easy to eat and had all the healing properties I needed.

Lactation cookies:  I lived on these amazing cookies I created during the first couple of days when waiting for my milk to come in and when my milk came in I had one happy baby on my hands.

Chocolate:  Having a some dark chocolate when you feel so tired will be that pick me up you need.

Support: having your partner there helping you and making things as comfortable as possible is just what you need during your postpartum period.  I’m really grateful to Carl for all his help and support he gave me and how involved hes been in Arren’s life even before he was born, this guy doesn’t want to miss a thing.

Feeding Pillow:  A feeding pillow is a great thing to have to adjust baby just right, I only really started using mine this last week or so.   I was too frazzled to remember where I put my feeding pillow and just made a pillow fortress with all the pillows in the house, but now that I’m using it I can’t believe that I didn’t use it from the start.

The most important thing is to get enough sleep! I know it can be so difficult when you have a perfect little angel sleeping next to you and all you want to do is stare, but trust me try and get some sleep when your baby sleeps.  It will help you heal better and make you feel more sane!

I hope this helps all those new mamas out there!

Nectarine Green Smoothie

I’ve been loving smoothies lately.  I make a large batch in the morning, and keep them on hand for those times Arren just refuse to be put down, which happen quite often.  Arren just loves his mommy’s bony arms.  During those times its extremely difficult to even try to make something to eat, and I’m still learning how to eat with one hand while holding a growing baby with a floppy head with the other, its not as easy as you would think!

Smoothies have become my go to meal replacement, I keep telling myself that it wont be like this for long and soon he wont need me as much anymore so right now I’m taking the cuddles when I can get them and just really enjoying this time.  These smoothies really give me that extra boost to be the best mother to him I can possibly be.

This is my go to smoothie recipe, the sweetness of the nectarines and the tangy-ness of the lemons make this a sweet and sour treat that I just can’t get enough of.  Filled with all that good for you ingredients that keep me going while breastfeeding, and squat bouncing with a baby.  The best workout I’ve ever had has been having a baby.  I’ve really started getting creative with my bounces,  Arren really enjoys all the strange bounces.  What can I say I apparently make them weird, but I make a damn delicious smoothie too!

NECTARINE GREEN SMOOTHIEserves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 soft nectarines, washed and chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 a small cucumber, washed and chopped
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced.  Depends how lemony you like it.
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1- 2 cup kale
  • 1 1/2 cups – 2 cups water
  • sweetener to taste
  • ice

Directions

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and serve! Easy as that.

an unexpected Lotus Birth

One thing that was not in my birth plan or after birth plan was a lotus birth.  The idea of carting around a placenta was just a little too much for me, but its strange how things change as soon as that baby is out of you.  How I thought things were going to be and how they actually turned out in reality is way different.  I didn’t think our baby would hate a bassinet so much, or scratch his dad right in the face,  while screaming bloody murder just because he’s not mommy.  Apparently Arren doesn’t care about Carl’s feelings.

After I birthed the placenta our midwife convinced us to do a lotus birth, at that point of time I was just so grateful that they were there that I would have done anything they said.   Our midwife explained the whole process of caring for the placenta to us and off we set to an unplanned lotus birth.

I’m not going to lie the first day with the placenta was rough, we had to figure out how to manoeuvre with the placenta and being the typical new parents we were completely paranoid and didn’t know what to do.  At one point I felt like crying because I didn’t feel like I could console Arren fast enough, but at the end I was completely happy we did it and gave it a try.

 

“We need to relearn what a birth can be like when it is not disturbed by the cultural milieu. We need a reference point from which we should try not to deviate too much. Lotus Birth is such a reference point.” Michel Odent

When I was speaking to my sister about our lotus birth I was quite shocked to find out that she didn’t even know what the placenta looked like, it was strange to me that during her birth it was taken away like it was something dirty and that shouldn’t be seen.  This was your baby’s lifeline for so many months, when my midwife showed me all the healthy veins, the sack where Arren called home for so long, I was completely mesmerised.  It was such an amazing thing to see and I was so happy my midwife showed me everything and explained it to me.

A lot of lotus birth posts talks about baby’s being friends with their placenta, but to us it seemed like Arren hated his placenta.  He acted like the only reason he came out of the womb was to escape from his evil placenta girlfriend, and like he just couldn’t figure out why were keeping it around.

REASONS I LOVED OUR LOTUS BIRTH

  1. It reminded me to take things slower and be more aware of my surroundings.
  2. It was a perfect uninterrupted bonding time with our new little family without having to deal with guests.
  3. It gave us time to get to know each other and figure out breastfeeding without having the stress of having to entertain people.
  4. It made Carl feel more involved.  He helped me move Arren around or helped move the placenta.
  5. It forced me to take it easy and let my body heal.
  6. The placenta and cord fell off after 3 days and he was left with the cutest little belly button.
  7. Being connected with his lifeline for so many months, until it was ready to fall off was amazing.
  8. Delays cord clamping letting baby get all the last bits of blood

HOW WE CARED FOR THE CORD AND PLACENTA

It wasn’t that difficult caring for the placenta or cord.  Carl made a little placenta bag to make the placenta look a bit festive and easier to transport.   We dropped a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on the placenta every day and we used wecesin powder to dry up the cord.  Wecesin powder is just the best thing to use for the cord, its all natural and helped speed up healing.  Once the placenta fell off we used a drop of lavender oil and a cotton bud to clean and disinfected the belly button and that’s it!  We buried the placenta under a tree in our garden in hopes that the nutrients would help give the tree some life in this drought filled times we’re having in Cape Town.