December 23, 2012

My favourite things - 2012



It’s been a long time since I last posted anything.  So much has happened since July – my beautiful baby boy was born, we moved house shortly thereafter and I’d say we are still in the settling in stages.  Before I knew it, it was December and the Christmas tree box was starring at me on the floor, waiting to be put up. 


During this time we also found out that my husband is intolerant to a list of foods too long to mention in this blog.  This obviously meant that he had to change a lot of what he used to eat, and since I do most of the cooking at home, I had to adapt or find new recipes.  For the most part it meant that we had to eat more healthily and cut out most processed foods.  Although I was quite happy to make the changes, I do have some challenges with baking at times, especially when I really want to make a favourite recipe but it just won't work with simply swapping ingredients.  But there's always a solution and I’m slowly working through new recipes that I’m very excited about.  

So as you can see, it’s been an interesting year.  Instead of complaining about the inconveniences, I’ve decided to break my blog-fast with a list of some of the things I’ve loved about 2012.  



Food

  • One-pot meals were my saving grace this year.  I love how you can prepare an entire meal in one dish or pot, and then let it do its thing while you get on with the more important things in life (read: baby).  This also includes one-dish desserts too - think warm, cinnamony Apple-Pear Crumble with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream slowly melting and dripping down the sides...That's it! That's what we're having for Christmas dessert! Whew, at least that's dessert sorted...
  • I’m grateful for accidentally discovering vegan baking – this proved to be the answer to my baking woes after finding out that my husband was intolerant to all “normal” baking ingredients as well as some common gluten-free products.  It all started with this PETA baking cheat sheet, which I use as a guideline.  Perhaps it will help you too if you have a similar problem.


  • Sweet potatoes are the new potato in our home since my husband is intolerant to potatoes.  We are loving them roasted, baked or in stews.  For Christmas dinner I’m planning on roasting them with carrots, parsnips, onions, whole garlic and a good drizzle of olive oil.  It couldn't be simpler or tastier! 
  • Quinoa has replaced rice (which my husband is also intolerant to) in pilafs, salads and side dishes.  I love pairing quinoa with spinach, kale or root vegetables for a super-food side or main vegetarian meal.
  • Meat free Monday – well, sometimes it’s meat free Tuesday in our home but we still aim for one meat free day a week and I love how the concept has gone international.  When I was growing up my mom always made us a meat free meal on a Monday, and that’s something I aim to continue in my own family as well.

Kale risotto

On-line shopping


  • Thank goodness for home deliveries – the one thing I’ve loved about Dubai since giving birth to my son is being able to order some of our groceries online and have it delivered to my doorstep.  It helps so much when you have a travelling husband and baby to look after.  It also means that we can spend more quality time together as a family.  The companies I use are Ripe, Greenheart Organic Farms and Down to Earth Organic FoodThere are a few others I still want to try out, but so far I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the produce and deliveries.  Oh, and I love that these companies are also supplying local, organic produce. 

Greenheart Organic Farm vegetable box


Baby stuff

  • Baby-led Weaning.  As my son is nearing the sixth month mark, I’ve been carefully looking at how to introduce solids into his diet.  I came across the Baby-led Weaning approach and I bought this book which I have been reading while he is asleep.  I love the concept, in theory, and have decided that this is the way forward for us.  Of course this is a first for me, and I can only imagine the look on peoples’ faces when I tell them I’ve chosen not to follow the conventional purée method, or even worse yet, the look on my own face when I realise what I’ve gotten myself into!  Regardless, I thought I would document some of the funnier or most memorable stories on this blog starting from next year.

Multimedia

  • Pinterest is my new favourite social media.  I can’t tell you how useful Pinterest was for me when we moved house.  I got all my inspiration for curtains, blinds, room layouts and colour schemes from this very convenient little App, which I downloaded onto my iPhone.  I planned everything with my phone in one hand and baby in the other.  I’m not sure that my curtain maker was too happy when I whipped out my phone to show him the trendy photos of what I wanted, but he did a fantastic job anyway.  If you want to see what I’m up too, you can find me here.
  • Instagram.  Well, sadly I don't have much time for blogging these days and Instagram has filled the gap when I just wanted to share a really cool recipe or food inspiration.  It's so much easier than blogging...and a picture can often say so much more than words.  You can follow me here.

Websites

  • Goop.  I love this site.  I love it so much that I hardly bother to check any other sites these days.  It's terrible I know, but that's what I'm like - if I connect to something, I'll stick to it until I get bored.  I'm sure you all know this site by now, it’s all about travel, fashion and food – which happen to be my three favourite interests.  I’ve already noted some ideas for our next holiday…
  • Babycentre.  Everything you need to know about pregnancies and babies is on here.  It's my new Google.

So these have been my favourites for the year in a nutshell.  I hope you all have a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays, and eat your way merrily through the rest of December and New Years!  

Merry Christmas!

Note:  the images in this post were taken from my iPhone and edited in Instagram.