Holiday Series: Christmas Sweater Card 2016!

Another Holiday Series post, this time we introduce you our official 2016 Christmas Family Card – yup, the one featured at the top and bottom of this post. All our close friends and family received one alongside their Christmas present and we can’t be more excited to shoot next year with out bundle of joy in it as well. Yes, I know Christmas sweaters are considered to be a fashion faux-pas, but hey, they are fun, they keep you warm and this is the only time of the year when you can actually wear them and not feel completely stupid. Plus, call me hormonal/emotional/whatever, but I love, love, love mine! D got it for me as a surprise for no actual reason and it perfectly depicts how I feel these days: like a fluffy polar bear, but I guess that is normal considering that in approximately 2 and a half weeks I will be delivering the very important cupcake that has been baking inside my belly for almost 9 months now.

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That said, we hope you had a lovely time yesterday because we know we had with all our family. Let me tell you a bit about our traditional Christmas lunch-turned-dinner… Usually we get together at noon (1-ish) and eat for about 7 hours non-stop. One might say that Christmas dinner is a marathon for us and that would be very true. Sadly though, being so close to term, we could not spend more than 2 hours with our family mainly because I constantly feel the need to lay on my couch and relax these days.

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On me:

Sweater – Pull and Bear; Jeans – H&M; Boots – Ugg; Bling – Swarovski; Watch – Apple Watch

On D:

Sweater – Pull and Bear; Jeans – Review; Socks – Happy Socks; Watch – Apple

On Nauca:

Sweater – Camon

Anyways, we hope you like our Christmas Sweaters and promise that we will post annually silly pics for the Holiday Series posts with our expanding family!

L.

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Holiday Series: Christmas Feast!

Starting our Holiday Series late this year as we had tons of stuff to do these days, plus we found out that we do not have five more weeks until the little bundle of joy joins us, but only about three so we had lots to do and lots to panic about. That said, we did do a lot of stuff for the blog as well, a Christmas feast included that will take you two days to make. I think this is actually the most elaborate thing we ever did in the kitchen and this all happened because of D. Because he just loves ribs!!!

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To keep with the Romanian Christmas tradition, this time he chose pork ribs and we decided to make them in the oven with a wedge-potatoes side – that happened because I still crave potatoes like crazy! As well as craving chocolate, sweet bread and other fattening stuff, except for meat.That said, I do admit that those ribs were amazing eating them felt like heaven in my mouth. They were just the right amount of cooked, seasoned, moist and they simply fell off the bone. I am telling you D outdid himself with these ribs! Thus I am absolutely recommending his recipe! So this post will go two ways: the ribs and the side with a simple mayo dip.

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Part 1: The Ribs!

What we used:

  • 4 racks of pork ribs
  • 1 bottle of Jack Daniels Barbecue Hot Chilli Sauce
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilly powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (you can skip the cinnamon if you do not like it)
  • 10 g fresh basil
  • 20 g fresh chives
  • 20 g fresh rosemary

What we did:

  1. We took a large amount of photos – as you can see this has to be the most photo-infused recipe post.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, the chopped herbs, the honey and the spices.
  3. Take each rack of ribs and generously cover them in the mixture.
  4. Cover them with transparent foil and place them in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next day, carefully line a tray with aluminium foil, place the ribs on it covering them with the barbecue mixture.
  6. Pre-heat the oven at 160 degrees C.
  7. Grind some Barbecue spices all over the ribs, cover the tray with foil and into the oven they go for about 3 hours making sure you flip them mid-way.
  8.  At the end of those 3 hours, take the covering aluminium foil off and leave them in the oven for another 30 minutes.
  9. That’s it! Despite this one taking 24 hours to perfect, it is very easy to make.

Part 2: The baked potatoes and the dip!

What we used:

  • 1 kg small potatoes
  • 10 g fresh basil leaves
  • 10 g fresh rosemary
  • 10 g fresh chives
  • 30 g butter
  • 3 white onions
  • 1 small pot of Hellman’s mayonnaise (we usually prefer fresh home made mayo but being pregnant, I am not allowed to eat anything unpasteurised)
  • 2 garlic heads
  • 1 tsp barbecue seasoning

What we did:

  1. Again, we took lots of photos – did I mention how much I love food photography?
  2. We roughly cut the potatoes into wedges (no, we did not remove the skin) and we cut the onions into rings.
  3. Chop the greens, mix them together but keep about half of the chopped chives for the dip.
  4. Heat the butter until it is liquified and smash the garlic.
  5. Mix the butter with the greens, the seasoning and half of the garlic – this will be your potatoes seasoning.
  6. In an oven-safe ceramic bowl carefully place the potatoes and paint them with the butter-herb mixture, add a layer of onion rings and then repeat with a layer of potatoes and butter mixture and off into the oven they go at 160 degrees C (yes, you can add them in the oven with the ribs) for about one hour.
  7. For the dip you will need the mayo, the remaining garlic and the remaining chives and all you have to do is mix them together to end up with a perfectly balanced garlic dip.

That is about it! You will end up with an amazing dish for the holidays that is both filling and delicious. And it was all D‘s idea! Since this is a festive time, I will not, under any circumstance think about how healthy/unhealthy this dish is and thus I will not post any nutritional info as I feel this is a time to celebrate life and not count calories and fats.

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Stay close by as the next post will be the first one from the Christmas Tree Series that we plan to do every year and we will reveal the theme we chose this year! Until then, just enjoy a full plate of ribs with your family!

L. 

 

That Red Cup Of Happiness…

I have always been a coffee lover, well since I was 16 anyway… And to make matters even worse and cliche, I have always had a soft spot for Starbucks coffee, particularly the special edition blends. YES, I am well aware that there are some other coffee shops with waaaay better-tasting coffee, I will not deny that, but for some reason, I always come back to Starbucks. So you can understand my disappointment when I wasn’t able to take a sip of the amazing Pumpkin Spice Latte edition simply because I know that too much caffeine is not good during pregnancy and I cannot for the likes of me get out of the house without my morning coffee. I just can’t and that is final! So I am stuck to one coffee cup per day and right now I am not complaining as I just adore the Christmas blends that Nespresso released.

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That said, as much as I love my daily Nespresso coffee I just can’t resist the annual red cups from Starbucks. I just can’t! So you can imagine the struggle I have been experiencing ever since they were released this year. That said, I have also been experiencing pregnancy brain on a whole other level lately and thus it only dawned on me a few days ago that I can have DECAF! Yes, DECAF! I know, it basically sucks, but that is the best I can get right now while still enjoying the Christmas blends and so I will go with that and have as many of the lovely, fattening and sugary red cups of happiness as I can this December, sans the whipped cream of course!

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On me:

Dress – ZARA; Boots – Steve Madden; Bag – Atelier Lemnia; Sunglasses – Dior; Bling – Swarovski (bracelet1, bracelet2 and ring) and L’Art de Medeea necklace; Watch – Apple

Which brings us to today’s post! Ever since I realised that I can actually enjoy a red cup all I could think about was what type of outfit should one wear to fully show the appreciation of that DECAF lightbulb! And what better outfit than one that simply screams Christmas. Well, at least it screams Christmas to me. The deep tartan print of this dress is as Christmas-y as it gets. It is from ZARA (of course) and it will probably become a Christmas favourite, as, aside from the lovely print it also has enough room to fit a 34-week pregnant belly therefore it will have enough room from now on to fit the entire Christmas dinner. I felt the need to pair it with the khaki-green Steve Madden long boots because for some reason I felt they went well together.

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On D:

Shirt – Replay; Jeans – ZARA; Shoes – Converse x John Varvatos; Sunglasses – Ray-Ban; Bling – Fossil and Constantin Nautics; Watch – Apple

Naturally a little red clutch could not miss the opportunity to match the red cup and my personal favourite right now is the one from Atelier Lemnia. Since it was a lovely sunny warm day outside I decided on skipping the coat as I have pregnancy heat waves anyway and also because the hot liquid I was so psyched about kept me all warm and happy throughout the photoshoot. I also wore my sunglasses because, as you can see from the photos, we had yet another day of perfectly clear skies. As per usual, I wore my favourite pair, the Dior SoReal.

D, despite being happy for my new found coffee independence, did not really feel like dressing festive and opted for a more comfortable but equally nice outfit and obviously for a full-caffeine drink. He decided to wear a classic denim shirt from Replay and his black skinny jeans from ZARA. I fully appreciated the fact that he knows not to match his denims as that, in my opinion is a big fashion faux-pas! He also wore his black Converse x John Varvatos sneaks as well as hie black Ray-Ban sunglasses. All in all, he kinda matched my outfit in a sense that his too was comfortable enough to bring to Christmas dinner – which to be honest starts at lunch and ends late in the evening.

As for the bling part, I did go a bit overboard because I chose not one, but two Swarovski bangles, a Swarovski multi-ring and a beaded necklace, which is from L’Art de Medeea. I decided on the beaded necklace because I liked the way its colours worked – not matched – with the colours of the dress and I did feel that the dress needed a bit of bling as it seriously lacks in that department and hey, it’s December, the month of bling. D was a bit more toned down than me and only opted for his Fossil and Constantin Nautics bracelets, while we both wore our Apple Watches.

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Thus far, this December has been really good to us both temp-wise as well as precipitation-wise and despite the fact that I really wish to get a fully snowed-in photoshoot, I seriously hope we will not get much snow in Bucharest at least until we are home form the hospital with the little bundle of joy. Looking at the weather forecast, not much will change this week and that means that we will take more and more pics of the last weeks of pregnancy.

L.

 

 

Souping…

I confess, lately it has been one cheat day after the other (yes, I am passed the ‘cheat-meal’ concept) and I have been eating not-really-junk-food but not as healthy as before either… It must be the fact that I am six weeks away from having to start and loose the baby weight and I honestly think that my brain just wants to be able to hold the fact that I’ve eaten all I desired against me from January onward and thus helping me either a) loose my mind or b) loose the baby-weight or both. Either way, yesterday I felt the urge to eat something green and because I am lazy af (read: I did not put any make-up on and thus I was not legally safe to get out of the house) I decided to use whatever we had left in the fridge to make something that will appeal to my very pregnant body and very rational brain.

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I did manage to make a green dish, that turned out delicious and that could’ve been even healthier than it turned out had I not decided to use crispy bacon right at the end. Damn you D for buying the food of the Devil and leaving it at my reach! To be completely honest, I think that the salty goodness and the crispy texture of the bacon made this soup irresistible so I decided to forgive D for the error in judgement. If you too are one of those people that love a good sweet-salty combo as well as (kinda) taking care of your figure than this soup is an absolute must-try. I would like to go ahead and say right from the beginning that this is a no-brainer soup and I am not trying to prove to you that I can cook through this recipe, this is just another chapter of the ‘cravings’ series and honestly, a three year old could make this easy, fast and healthy soup.

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What I found in the fridge and managed to use for this hot goodness:

  • 600 g of fine frozen peas (the small fine ones are sweeter than the regular sized ones)
  • about 50 g of leftover diced bacon (if I had more I would’ve used more)
  • 1 tsp coconut butter (any oil will do but this one brought out the sweetness of the peas)
  • 1 pot plain yoghurt
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 tsp vegetable cooking base (because I did not have any vegetable in the house)

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The simplicity of making something delicious:

  1. First of all, take pics of what you are about to cook and send to your spouse to make him come home earlier from work (if that does not work, send him naughty pics).
  2. Heat the coconut butter in the pot you will use to make your soup and add the roughly chopped onion – do not try and finely chop the onion as everything will be blended anyway.
  3. Cook the onion until it is golden and tender and then add 4 cups of water and bring to boil.
  4. Add the vegetable base and the peas and let everything boil for about 6-7 minutes.
  5. Take the pot away from the stove and blend everything really well and then add the yoghurt.
  6. After another good blend, bring everything to boil for another 3-4 minutes and that’s it.
  7. All you have to do now is fry the bacon until it is crispy, put it on top of your soup bowl and enjoy!

This is quite a healthy dish with or without the bacon and I think it is perfect for those cold days when you just need something that will make you feel good about yourself because hey, it is green and therefore healthy but also will satisfy your not so good cravings thanks to the crispy bacon. As usual, I have provided both the portion nutritional info as well as for the whole thing thanks to MyNetDiary and the app too says that this is quite a healthy meal. D can vouch for the fact that it did taste amazing despite it being vegetable based and him being the ultimate meat-lover!

L.

Baby Shower Candy-Bar GOALS!!!

As you know, on Sunday we had a small baby shower party to celebrate the fact that a little princess is coming our way shortly. We partied (not so hard) with only a few close friends and I have to tell you that we felt amazing. Don’t really know about our guests, but we really enjoyed ourselves… (hope you guys had a lovely time as well!)

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That said, I really wanted to talk a bit about the amazing candy-bar we had as, in my opinion that was the main focus of the party – seriously, nobody is really interested on how a steak looks! The candy-bar was fully home-made and decorated by HomeMade Candy Bar. If you need a candy-bar or just sweets anytime, anyplace give them a try as the desserts were perfection and the way it looked was simply stunning. It seriously was way over my expectations (we did have a candy-bar that was twice as expensive at our wedding and it did not look anything like this one). This was a 20 persons candy-bar and it had everything a dessert freak could wish for: cupcakes, gingerbread, cake pops, marsh mellows, macarons etc. Keep in mind that you can customise it any way you like as they are very flexible on that department and that was one of the things that made me choose them. Also, they have loads of decorating pieces that really make the brandy-bar stand out and you can opt for any colour-theme you’d like. Notice that I really did not want to use the classic pink and blue theme and opted instead for a purple and turquoise theme which posed no problems for the talented duo (did I mention this is a family business: mother and daughter?).

Overall, everyone seems really impressed with the candy-bar and so were we therefore I really felt the need to talk a bit about them here. All worth mentioning is the very reasonable price (about 150 E for the entire thing) which is amazing considering the high quality of the sweets and the fact that the location of the event was at home (no extra transport fee!) on the outskirts of Bucharest.

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L.

Purple Mash…

Back in the potato-cravings-zone, but this time on a more healthy note than before… Never did I ever liked mashed potatoes of any kind until I tried this recipe. For some reason, in my opinion, mashed potatoes were always done by those that are too lazy to actually fry them or bake them in the oven – the way potatoes are meant to be eaten – I mean, all you have to do is boil them and mash them and you end up with one of the most boring options to cook potatoes. In my opinion, no matter how much milk or butter you added to them they always ended up tasting like paper.

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Since being pregnant means that you literally go a bit insane, this weekend I was craving mashed potatoes. But not any type of mashed potatoes, blue mashed potatoes because I thought they must taste great solely based on their colour and the fact that I decided to add some of my favourite ingredients plus skipping the unhealthy butter. Obviously, blue potatoes are only called ‘blue’ to confuse the shit out of you, because in fact they are purple. Like really purple! And you do need to use gloves when you handle them raw otherwise you’ll end up with purple-stained palms for a few days – trust me, not the greatest look! While blue potatoes are a bit more expensive than plain white potatoes, they do not taste any different or make a big difference from a nutritional stand point, therefore unless you do not want to a)get your hands dirty and b)eat something a bit different in colour, you can easily swap them for plain potatoes for this recipe.

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Moving on to the recipe. Here’s what I used:

  • 1 kg blue potatoes
  • 400 gr greek yoghurt (instead of all the milk and butter – for a very creamy result)
  • 20 gr of fresh dill
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 150 gr shredded mozzarella (or any other shredded cheese you like – I picked mozzarella because it is lighter and has less salt)

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While making this takes about an hour, there are only a few simple steps to follow:

  1. Take pics of the lovely coloured ingredients and then start chopping everything. Peel the potatoes and cut them, chop the dill and mince the garlic.
  2. Boil the potatoes for about 40 minutes, drain them and mash them with a hand blender.
  3. Add the greek yoghurt and blend some more.
  4. The garlic and the dill are next into the blending pot.
  5. In comes the shredded mozzarella which must not be blended but mixed really well with a spoon.
  6. That’s it! All you have to do now is serve the purple mash in cups!

Besides it looking very interesting, it is very tasty thanks to the dill and the garlic while still being very satisfying to cheese lovers like me thanks to the mozzarella. This can be a side to any dish or you could consume it the way I did, on its own as it is really filling. It is a grade A food which means it is a healthy dish and it does not pack a lot of calories (only 211 per serving) while giving you a good amount of protein. All the nutritional info is courtesy of MyNetDiary app and I’ve uploaded both the serving info as well as for the whole thing. I divided the whole quantity to 8 servings. I hope you’ll enjoy my purple mash!

L.

Red Wine At Dawn…

You know I am more of a ‘white wine’ kinda gal, but, to be honest, I am craving a glass good red wine like crazy – might that be an actual pregnancy craving? I have no idea, but since I can’t drink any alcohol for the time being I will have to suffice with wearing wine coloured clothes. Yes, I am aware that wearing bordeaux during the autumn is a cliché, but hey, I’m doing what I can.

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As for the ‘dawn’ photos, I confess that we arrived at our location at dawn but the days the actual sunset lasts for 30 seconds and by the time we got the camera out it was night already so we had to take our first night photoshoot hence the questionable lightning. The street lights did not help us much either as most of Bucharest has this terrific yellow lightning and not much can be done about it no matter what editing programme you use. Overall I am quite happy with the way these pics turned out and that is why we decided that they are blog worthy. Fear not, as these amazing boots will have their photoshoot in the sun and you will be able to fully see the marvellous colour and texture they have.

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On me:

Dress – Tom Tailor; Boots – ZARA; Poncho – H&M; Bag – Michael Kors; Bling – Swarovski (ring and bracelet); Watch – Apple

Talking about the boots…they fully comply to my current velvet-over-the-knee obsession and they come in this amazing oxblood shade. Mind you, I think these are the most gorgeous boots I have bought this season and because they are not as tall as the others (9cm heel) I will wear them to death this autumn. They are from ZARA which is really no surprise as they keep releasing new and amazing pieces each week. I am telling you, I have fallen in love with every singe item they have this season, but unfortunately I can’t go on a shopping spree, but I did get a few things in my pre-pregnancy size that fit just wonderfully the only difference being the cut – I currently need A-line or loose fitted dresses which (THANK GOD!) are both very fashionable cuts right now.

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On D:

Sweater – Funky Buddha; Jeans – ZARA; Shoes – Converse x John Varvatos; Bling – Fossil and Tous; Watch – Longines

Because I love wine shades, a deep purple dress was absolutely needed because we all know where great red wines come from! This dress is yet another oldie from my closet that fits nicely over my bump and feels amazing. It is from Tom Tailor and I got it a few years ago and I must’ve worn it a hundred times at the office. While it does seem short right now, that is only due to the growing bump as it is knee length on a non-pregnant body. I finally got to wear the poncho I got early this autumn from H&M as the temps decided to be very forgiving the other day when we shot these photos (15 degrees C). Obviously, my outfit would not have been complete without my bordeaux Michael Kors tote. This is one great tote that is worth the investment as it is kind of a neutral colour and the shape and size of it allows you to carry all you need on a workday – I have been known to carry my laptop, iPad, phone, keys and all the other miscellaneous and completely useless stuff a woman carries in her bag.

Another topic I really wanted to talk about in this post is the new mens brand that recently opened a shop in Romania : Funky Buddha! They have these amazing pieces for men both fashionable and amazing quality and they are a bit under the ZARA price point, but have more punk to them. D‘s sweater is from Funky Buddha and, as you can see, the colour and the texture are great as well as the way it fits him. If you want to explore something different from ZARA and H&M give this place a try as it is really worth it! His jeans are form ZARA and they are D‘s current obsession – to be honest I do not blame him as he does look amazing in them. His shoes are Converse x John Varvatos and by the looks of it I will have to sit down and have a talk with him as he has a hundred more autumn shoes but because he is lazy he only wears the ones that are already at the door.

Bling wise I rediscovered this lovely ring form Swarovski that D got for me a few years ago and that I absolutely love. I also wore the Crystaldust bracelet and my Apple watch and called it a day. D wore both his Fossil and Tous bracelets and he decided to wear his Longines watch. So there was not much bling-ing going on this time around.

I am really hoping that these days we will have the time take a couple more pics of these gorgeous boots in the sun, but it would appear that we do have to get a move on that as the temps will probably drop really fast and I have a feeling that the sun will be a very rare gem on the Bucharest sky. If you are bored by the whole velvet/ over-the-knee obsession that I have, you will have to start checking our posts out in about a few weeks as that’s probably when the Ugg obsession will start, until then, it’s all bout the over-the knee boots!

L.

 

Healthy Berry-Banana Bread

Truth be told, I am craving all Christmas-y treats – mostly sweets – if I really want to be honest… But, since it is not even December yet I have to contain my cravings and go for healthier versions of sweets therefore I give you the healthiest berry banana bread! This actually tastes better than it looks and I must say that it tastes better than those healthy berry muffins I baked a while ago (see recipe here). The thing with the colder months is that we all tend to crave hot and filling dishes, but that does not mean that they have to be calorie packed and filled with all sorts of unhealthy sugars.

A while back we both decided to try and eliminate sugar from our diet, at least when it comes to our home-made meals (no, we are not avoiding sugar at all costs and actually we do indulge in traditional desserts once a week). That made us look for ingredients that will still give our treats that lovely sweet taste without compromising on the health factor. This is why we chose raw honey, fruits and spices. With honey, a little goes a long way, while with fruits and spices, it’s more of an ‘all-you-can-add’ thing. Yesterday I was seriously craving something sweet and Christmas-y, and what better substitute to the classic Panettone than a cinnamon infused banana bread. The thing with this banana-bread is that I have never ever done one before and had no idea how it will turn out. I confess that I went a bit overboard with the frozen berries and therefore the bread was a bit more moist that I expected but it is really filling and does satisfy the sweet-tooth in a very healthy way.After all that rambling I think it is time to move along to the actual recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 240 g whole grain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter (melted) – this again will give you a bit of sweetness and flavour
  • 2 egg-whites
  • 2 medium over-ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp raw honey (we used a variety that has a bit of cinnamon in it and therefore gave it even more flavour)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder – for that Christmas feeling
  • 60 ml coconut-almond milk (full of aroma)
  • 200 g frozen berry mix

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Steps to follow for this healthy goodness:

  1. First of all preheat your oven at 175 degrees C and carefully arrange all the ingredients so that you can take loads of pictures.
  2. Mix together the baking powder, the baking soda and the cinnamon powder in a small bowl and then put the mixture all over the flour and stir well.
  3. Whip the egg-whites with the vanilla extract and the coconut oil and pour the mixture over the banana mash alongside the yoghurt and the honey, Make sure you mix everything really well.
  4. Now for the tricky part… You will have to incorporate the flour and the milk into the mixture carefully, just like you did for the berry muffins (see here). I did it in three parts.
  5. Carefully mix in the frozen berries and pour everything into a bread tray.
  6. Off into the oven it all goes and 50 minutes later you will indulge in the best and healthiest berry banana bread! No guilt whatsoever!

While this takes a bit more time to bake than the muffins, it is more filling and it is healthier than the muffins. If you are hungry, you can always use smaller trays or even pour the mixture in a muffin tray which will probably cut your baking time in half. I have attached the nutritional info both for a serving (one 1,5 cm thick loaf) as well as for the whole thing (10 loaves) and as you can see this is a grade A food and therefore it is very healthy. All the nutritional data is courtesy of the MyNetDiary app. I hope you will enjoy this banana bread and soon we sill start baking heathy versions of all the Christmas sweet treats (apple pie, gingerbread etc)!

L.

 

Rollin, rollin, rollin…

Remember that old Limp Bizkit tune? Rollin’? Yeah, that was the soundtrack of my teenage years and it suddenly started playing in my head again the moment I started rolling this puff pastry perfection. This again is not an everyday food as this is nowhere near healthy. This is rather a weekend treat, or more say a monthly treat as the only healthy ingredient here is the parsley and, to be honest, there is not much of that either. But just as all teenage pleasures are, this is something amazing and not at all healthy. However, this is extremely easy to make and it can be really filling and satisfying during a cold rainy autumn day.

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I can honestly say that this has all my favourite ingredients in it, including the puff pastry and, as with all the great food inventions, I have not had something similar in ages – like ever since my metabolism decided to give me a kick in the ass and make me adopt a more healthy lifestyle. Now that I am pregnant, I do try and keep it healthy and I am rather careful about the quantity of food I ingest, but from time to time (‘a weekly or more often’ time to time) I indulge in all of my favourite foods because hey, I am going to get fat anyways so I might as well enjoy life a bit. That being said, I try and indulge in mostly homemade fat-bombs as I have some sort of control where the ingredients are concerned. Which brings us to today’s recipe… as the temps lower, I tend to crave more fatty, not-necessarily-healthy foods that give me that much needed mental sanity during pregnancy.

Here’s the ingredients we used, but you can actually use whatever makes your tummy and brain feel happy:

  • 1 layer puff pastry – you can buy this in virtually any supermarket and if you want to make a sweet roll try the slightly sweetened version though I prefer to use the unsweetened variety for sweet treats as well
  • 1 cup of olive Philadelphia cream cheese – I use this variety for the earthy olive taste and because it is light and easy to spread
  • 100 g diced bacon
  • 1 red onion – medium sized
  • 80 g graded emmentaler
  • 80 g grated mozzarella
  • 50 g parmesan flakes
  • 20 g fresh parsley – the healthy ingredient (notice the ratio between the one healthy ingredient and all the rest)

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The mechanics behind this amazing roll:

  1. Mince the onion and the parsley and place all the ingredients in (preferably) clear bowls for the photos.
  2. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C.
  3. The fun part begins… Gently unfold the puff pastry layer and spread the Philadelphia cream cheese first – this way all the ingredients will stick to the pastry.
  4. This is where it becomes interesting. No matter which order you close to add the ingredients, the important thing is to always add a layer of cheese in between the other stuff thus making everything stick together because everyone knows that cheese is the glue to life!
  5. This is my ingredients order: cream cheese, onion, grated emmentaler, parsley, grated mozzarella, bacon and parmesan flakes.
  6. This is the step where that Limp Bizkit mega-hit kept playing in my brain – now you gotta roll that thing up making sure you do not a)spill the contents, b)rip the pastry.
  7. Once you safely roll the ‘thing’ you gotta cut it – again a BE CAREFUL! moment – I cut in into 2 cm thick loaves.
  8. Place the rolls on a tray and into the oven they go for about 20 minutes – make sure you check on them after 15 minutes as the buggers tend to burn quickly.
  9. That’s about it!

Since this is a very unhealthy and amazing dish, packed full of fats (the unhealthy type) and calories, you should consume it with caution. It does not look extremely unhealthy if you decide to only have one serving, but let’s be honest, can you really stop after only one roll? I couldn’t and hence this is definitely a dish that I will make as rarely as possible.

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It is however extremely tasty and filling and you will probably stop after two or three servings. The nutritional info is curtesy of MyNetDiary and since they rated it as a class D food it only goes to prove my theory – this is not a healthy food! But it is great for those long weekend chilly afternoons so give it a try!

L.

Not so scary second trimester!

We just came home from the doctor this morning and I am happy to officially tell you that the second trimester is under wraps and everything is going smoothly and perfect with our little bundle of joy. I really do not want to turn this blog/diary into a pregnancy page, so I am trying to keep everything about babies to a minimum, but now the time has come to talk a bit about the bittersweet second trimester.As you know by now, I have been really fortunate in the ‘baking baby’ department and did not really feel sick for one day during the first trimester (see here), and the overall great feeling stayed throughout my second trimester as well. I was fortunate enough to not have any medical complications and apart from my prenatal pill I do not take any other medication. Now that we sorted all that out, there are a few things and feelings that deserve a bit of attention and I plan on discussing them here.

First of all, remember how I said that I felt tired during the first trimester? Well that feeling magically vanished from the 14th week and I was lucky enough to feel as energetic as I used to in my pre-pregnancy days. This does not mean that I slept less or exercised more, but I did put that energy to good use where the baby-stuff is concerned. These are the three months of big decisions in my opinion, as, to be frank about the whole situation, there is no guarantee that you’ll feel 100% during the last trimester and it is better to make all the baby decisions when you are feeling great both about yourself as well as about the pregnancy. This meant that we went in full-renovation mode despite only wanting to do the nursery at first. I must confess that we had not done a proper renovation of our house for the past 7 years and I do not regret for one moment the decision to feel horrible in our home for two weeks. While the work is not done yet, all the construction work is over and from this point on it is up to us to finish everything – we are currently waiting on some furniture pieces.

This was the period when we decided on the furniture for our little princess, the decor, most of the miscellaneous (baby bottles, stroller, baby bath, etc) and I am very glad we did that as I have to say this is no easy task. It took us about 3 weeks to decide on the stroller as there seem to be so many different options out there and I have a feeling that first-time parents tend to be over-thinkers – I know we are overthinking every single thing. At some point, being the rational adults that we are, we decided to divide the stuff between us but still making the ultimate decisions together. Therefore D got to choose the stroller and all the electrical hi-tech equipment (nanny cam, baby monitor, sleep monitor) while I was left with the rest of the stuff (baby furniture and decorations, baby bottles, steriliser etc). When each of us got down to two or three choices we involved the other, but not before and so far it went smoothly for us. All of these choices are incredibly hard to make (2 weeks on the crib alone) so I feel that the second trimester is the best time to make them mainly because that is when you start feeling human again and naturally we had to think about the winter ahead and what if we did not feel/ could not get out of the house to buy all these things because of the snow.

Those are about all the big decisions we made during this period, now a bit about the feelings and sensations that come in this second trimester… First of all, in my opinion, this is the time where a pregnant woman blooms, literally, she expands on all spatial axes. Or at least that was what happened to me. But make no mistake, this is a good thing! True, I had two days (not in a row) of panic attacks while looking at my closet as I felt like I looked like crap in everything I owned, but both of those moments where right at the beginning of the forth month and I blamed that on the last ‘first trimester hormones’. After my belly started to really look pregnant as opposed to full of beer and pizza, I immediately started feeling a lot (A LOT!) better about myself. The fact that I went shopping and discovered that I did not go up a size did help a lot (A LOT!) and made me less nervous about my monthly weight-in at the doctors’.

A bit about the weight gain… It does tend to be nerve-wrecking, but healthily gaining weight is the best thing for you and your baby right now. I would like to emphasise a bit on the HEALTHY part of the matter and I want to be honest with you. Thus far, I have gained 10 kg (got weighted this morning) and I’ve got another two months and three weeks to go. While I did not gain any weight during the last three weeks I am still in the healthy-range for my age and height. The fact that my weight gain stopped for a bit must be due to the fact that I have started taking long walks with our dog every evening while not adding extra-calories to my diet. I am however listening very carefully to what my body desires and do not plan on depriving it of anything. Thus far, I always had certain weird cravings at the beginning of each trimester, when I gained a lot of weight but that weight gain usually stops by the last month of the trimester. I assume this will happen in the third trimester as well though, by now, I did not have any huger moments in this third trimester. Hopefully I will not gain too much weight, but honestly, that is my last concern right now. My major concern is being healthy and getting all the nutrients my baby needs daily.

Also, my skin cleared up a bit more and I am now able to put on make-up and feel great without worrying about zits and greasy patches (though that might be thanks to my new beauty routine – here). So far I did not experience any swelling in my legs nor in my hands, no cramps, to be honest, I did not experience anything nasty. I did have a few (3) days of heartburn in the evening but that sorted itself out after about an hour and I was told that is totally normal and it usually lasts way more that that. I also had two episodes of cramping but as my doctor reassured me, that was due to gas and again, after a bit of walking around the house and taking two pills that was over. Other than that, on most days I did not feel like I was pregnant, I do not feel like I am pregnant now and the big belly growing is there to remind me of how lucky I am thus far.

The most important feeling of the second trimester in my opinion is the first baby kick. I felt my bundle of joy at about week 20 and it was the best feeling in the world. I aways thought that this had to be the weirdest, most alien-like feeling ever and was very scared of that moment, but when it happened it felt like the most natural and normal thing out there. If at the beginning I was feeling her once or twice per day, now I feel her all the time and from time to time she even wakes me up at 5 in the morning just to let me know she is up. So far I have not experienced any painful kicks, only some nice soothing ones that feel lovely, but I will keep you updated. But, I am telling you, there is nothing more amazing than feeling you own little baby kick and D has to agree as he felt her through my belly and loved it.

Also, during the second trimester it is best to think of a birth plan, just to get that sorted especially if you are leaning toward the private sector (like we did) as there is quite a consistent discount for ‘early booking’. So far, I have not decided on wether I’d like a natural birth or a C-section, though I am leaning toward the latter, but ultimately it is up to the little lady inside because if she decides she can come out naturally without a big fuss that’s the way I am going to go, otherwise C-section it is!

This is also the time to start buying pregnancy adjuvants (as I call them). As you know, I found it hard to wear normal pants so I felt the need to go for maternity ones and the best and most comfortable I could find are the ones from H&M. They totally changed my mood when it came to dressing daily. I love these four pairs here for the comfort and the way they hug your curves: 1, 2, 3, 4. Another big help during the second trimester are the Belly Bandit products, specifically the thighs disguise and the flawless belly. Whenever I wear a dress, I wear one of those miracle makers and I instantly feel and look better. They both offer great support for your back and belly and they keep the stretch mark oil off of my clothes. Obviously I am going to opt for their post-pregnancy stuff as well as I love these two items.

I’d say that is about it on the second trimester. I am very glad that I did not have any incidents thus far and I hope that everything will go smoothly from now on as well and we will welcome our healthy princess in January. As far as this post goes, I hope that it will help mamas-to-be both morally and with planning their decisions. Naturally, at some point, we will show you everything we deemed worthy of our princess terms of baby-stuff, but I really want to get the products first so we can avoid the internet-perfected-photos and use our own. Hope this post was helpful!

L.