Second trimester so far (Week 20)

I’ve finally made it to my pregnancy half way mark! It’s week 20 already and I can’t believe how quick time has gone. Ever since I hit week 13 I immediately felt so much better. No more nausea, food aversion drastically improved, no more constipation or breast soreness and I was way less tired. I was feeling almost too good that I didn’t know if I was still pregnant. I barely had put on much weight either. By week 16 I finally had my first appointment the birth centre, where Marco and I got to hear the baby’s heart beat for the first time. I couldn’t believe how fast it was in comparison to mine. I had only put on an extra 2.5 kg by that stage and was getting a bit concerned that my appetite hadn’t improved. However my tummy has continued to grow and by week 18 everything changed. I suddenly started to needed to snack between meals and felt the baby kicked me for the first time. I wasn’t sure at first that it was the baby but over the past couple of weeks I find that my baby has become more active in the evenings and early morning. My little one had decided that stretching out diagonally is the most comfortable position, since my stomach usually sticking out to the right. Since the baby has started kicking so much I have become an eating machine. I am constantly hungry, that my stomach growls if I don’t give into my hunger straight away. Below you can see the growth of my tummy. I was really confused why I my tummy looked so big in the photos and not in real life. Marco assured me that yes the camera wasn’t lying and then I realised a few weeks ago that I have a skinny mirror in my bathroom.

16 weeks 5 days

18 Weeks

18 Weeks

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20 weeks 2 days

20 weeks 2 days

20 weeks 2 days

Today we went for our long awaited 20 week morphology scan.  Since I opted to not get down syndrome screening, I haven’t seen the baby since it was only a little sesame seed at 7 weeks. In fact I haven’t even seen the doctor or had thorough appointment with the birth centre. So you can imagine how excited I have been for this appointment. I had trusted my body that I would produce a healthy baby and all would be well. But I found myself feeling increasingly nervous during the ultrasound that something might be wrong.  So I am delighted to say that according to the sonographer the baby appeared to be completely healthy. We also asked to find out the sex of the baby. Until now we have just been calling it Peanut, so I am happy to start referring to it as a her. That’s right I am having a girl! Well of course its not 100 percent until I see her again when she is born. But I am very happy that I should be having a little girl in 4 more months. To be honest I really did want a girl from the beginning but when I started to feel the kicking I wasn’t too fussed. Marco just wanted a healthy baby from the beginning and didn’t understand why I had such a strong preference. I guess I just really wanted a mini me.

Its a Girl

Over the past two weeks I have been trying to track everything that I eat. In the past when I was trying to loose weight or make health changes I tried to writing down everything I ate. It really did help me keep on track and to see where I was going wrong. I really wanted to make sure that I was giving the baby as much variety, as well as different flavour threads to enjoy. In the first week I managed to eat 58 different foods and 5 flavour threads (Italian, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Turkish). Last week I managed to up that to 75 different foods with 3 flavour threads (Italian, Japanese, Mexican). I am really happy with this improvement with my diet and hoping the baby is enjoying all the different flavours through her amniotic fluid. I have also been adding juices and smoothies back into my routine. I haven’t been able to get fresh organic apples for a few weeks now so I decided to make a juice with the abundance of oranges that I order every week. My favourite juice at the moment is Orange, Carrot and Ginger. Marco is also a really big fan, even though he’s not a big juice fanatic. It went down really well after the crazy heat wave we had yesturday in Brisbane. Can you believe it was 43 degrees celsius! Only 2 days before I was wearing cardigans and sleeping with a douna… DSC02989 Orange, Carrot and Ginger Juice

Ingredients:

2 oranges, skin removed and sliced in quarter

2 carrots, washed and sliced

1 knob of ginger, washed

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients in a cold press juice and enjoy!

*Serves 1

Another fanatic recipe that got me through first trimester nausea was Ginger Lemon Tea. My naturopath actually told me about it and it was really easy to make. It also lasts for ages as the lemon preserves that ginger.

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/delicious-drinks-support-your-immunity/rise-and-shine Morning Sickness Ginger Lemon Tea

Ingredients:

1 knob of ginger

1/2 lemon, skin removed and sliced in half

filtered water

agave, honey or other natural sweetner to taste (optional)

Method:

1. Place the ginger and lemon in a cold press juicer. This should make about 100ml, so store the rest in an airtight container.

2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of the ginger lemon juice to a cup with some boiled water. Add sweetener if you like and enjoy.

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Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich/Sushi and Carrot Ginger Mojito

Canned tuna is one of those things that I have struggled with giving up since trying to make the change to vegan. It just has something about it that I crave. If you are one of my non vegan friends, you are probably thinking why would anyone want to give up tuna, its delicious? Well mercury toxicity and BPA toxicity are a couple of reasons that I really try to avoid any canned fish in general. Overfishing and unsustainable fishing methods is also another couple of reasons I discovered this when I blogged on this issue a while ago (The canned tuna debate).

I admit I have actually been better in recent times to avoid canned fish entirely and other seafood.  A big thing that has stopped me craving tuna is re-educating myself on the reality of the detriment it may have to my health and trying avoid toxins while I endeavour to start preparing myself to have a baby. By the way that’s still a secret! I am still in the stages of getting all my tests done and get any deficiencies sorted before we start trying. I am about to start another detox soon with guidance of my new naturopath, which I’m really excited about! Marco thinks I am the only person in the world excited about doing a detox, especially since my first detox a few years back was so difficult. However, over the last 3 and a half years I have learned a lot and my tastes have really changed. I feel more in control and equip to be able to enjoy the ride this time.

Anyway back to cooking… I tried to make a Mock Tuna Salad with tempeh a while ago. If found the texture was there, but not the fishy taste. So I tried again with chickpeas, umeboshi vinegar and nori. This time I managed to get the taste, but the texture was probably a little to fine. Besides that I much prefer this recipe and found it really versatile for making sandwiches and sushi and it passed the flavour test with Marco and Mum (who said I thought you don’t eat tuna any more).

Tuna Salad 2

Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tin chickpeas/ 1.25 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional, leave out for thicker consistency)

3 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar

3-4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon himalayan pink salt / sea salt

1 sheet nori (cut into 5 cm strips) or  3 tablespoons crispy seaweed

Method:

1. Place chickpeas, celery, onion and olive oil into the processor. Process until the chickpeas have broken down. You may have to keep wiping down the sides with a spatula.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the nori strips. Process until you are happy with the consistency

3. Add nori sheets and adjust seasoning if you need to. Then process for until the nori has been mixed through.

*Makes over 1 cup

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Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sandwich (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

sliced bread ( I used  toasted multigrain vienna sourdough)

2-3 tablespoons vegan tuna per sandwich (recipe above)

sliced tomato

fancy lettuce or mixed lettuce

any other salad items

Method:

1. Spread vegan tuna on one side of the bread. Then top with salad items and other slice of bread and enjoy.

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 Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sushi (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 nori sheet

3 tablespoons cooked quinoa or sushi rice

2-3 tablespoons vegan tuna per sandwich (recipe above)

sliced tomato

fancy lettuce or mixed lettuce

any other salad items

Method:

1. Place quinoa in the middle of the nori sheet in a line down the middle.

2. Top quinoa with vegan tuna and salad items.

3. Roll the nori into a sushi roll. Slice in half and enjoy.

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For a mid-afternoon beverage to enjoy while I watching FMTV I made this delicious juicy mocktail. Perfect for this muggy weather and to get into the spirit of detoxing.

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Carrot Ginger Mojito (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 small carrots

2 apples

small knob ginger

3 cm wide round slice lemon (including skin)

mint leaves from 2 sprigs

cold sparkling water

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients except the sparkling water in a juicer.

2. Place the juice in a tall glass or large jar and top with some sparkling water and some mint leaves to serve.

*Serves 1

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Warm Buckwheat and Lentil Salad with Pumpkin and Broccolini

Hi guys hope you all had a good weekend. I can’t believe how fast its gone. I’ve been juicing away every day with my favorite new addition. I just love watching it do its magic  Here is a couple of the juices I prepared recently. The first one is Beetroot, Pear, Kale and Cucumber. I also made some Sushi with honey soy tofu, avocado and cucumber. The next one is rockmelon, lemon and ginger. That one was a bit tangy, but still very good.

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Last night we popped into the vegan restaurant Banana Lounge for some dessert. I also got a sticky beak at their new menu, which is the same for lunch and dinner. I have heard mixed reviews about their food, but I would like to check it out soon. I have only been to the vegan buffet breakfast. On their new menu they have nachos, burritos, mexican rice bowl and raw pizza etc. I was the only one that order dessert. I got the Raw Choc, Date & Pistachio Brownies and the Mexican Chili Hot Chocolate. Both were really delicious! They really know how to make a good vegan dessert.

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Tonight I wanted to make something healthy, but hearty. Its so cold here at the moment, so we need something a bit heavier. This dish just keep evolving till I got hungry enough to stop adding things. I brought a whole lot of sprouts today so I am going to try add them to more of my meals for extra nutrients. I am trying to get Marco into sprouts. He didn’t mind a sprinkle of these snow pea sprouts, but they aren’t his favorite thing.

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Warm Buckwheat & Lentil Salad with Pumpkin & Broccolini, Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried brown lentils

1 cup raw buckwheat

900 g kent or butternut pumpkin

olive oil

2 bunches of broccolini

sea salt to taste

snow pea sprouts, washed, roughly chopped

Ingredients Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing:

1 whole garlic head

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch ground cayenne pepper

1/4 cup italian parsley

1 tablespoon tahini (unhulled)

sea salt to taste

Ingredients Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Place lentils in pot with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for 30-40 mins or until lentils are cooked. Then strain any water and leave to cool.

3. Place buckwheat in a pot with 3 cups of water and bring to the boi, then leave to simmer for 30 mins or until the buckwheat are cooked. Then leave to cool

4. In the meantime remove the seeds and skin from the pumpkin and slice into flat bite size pieces.

5. Place pumpkin pieces and a whole garlic in a bowl and toss through 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Then place all on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins or until the pumpkin is cooked, leave to cool.

6. Clean the pumpkin seeds then combine in a bowl with olive oil, cumin, cayenne and sea salt. Then place on a tray and roast for 5 mins or until cooked. Leave to the side for later.???????????????????????????????

7. Peel the whole roasted garlic and place in the processor.

8. Add olive oil, lemon juice, water, cumin and cayenne and whiz until combined.

9. Then add tahini, italian parsley and sea salt. Whiz until combined. Add more sea salt if you need.

10. Roughly chop the broccolini, then saute in a pan with olive oil until tender.

11. In the mean time, combine the lentils, buckwheat and pumpkin in a large bowl. Then top with the dress, stir through.

12. Add the broccolini to the salad and stir through.

13. Serve the warm salad, topped with snow pea sprouts and roasted spicy pumpkin seeds.

*Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side.

For dessert I made these Gluten free Yoga Chocolate Cupcakes from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. You can find the recipe here. Mum called them disgustingly delicious lol. She couldn’t believe how good this vegan cupcakes are. They are really crunchy on the top and soft and moist on the inside. Instead of making 34 mini cupcakes, I made 12. This also means I needed half the chocolate icing.

DSC05259

Risoni with ‘Chicken’ and Mushrooms in Creamy Pistachio Pesto Sauce

I made this dish a couple of nights ago, before we flew to Sydney. Creamy Risoni pasta with Chicken and Pesto is one of my favorite dish that I use to often get at my fathers restaurant when I was a teenager. I haven’t thought about it in years, but I was really craving it. I tried to make it with a Pistachio Pesto, which I have never tried to make before. I used italian parsley instead of basil and less oil. The pistachios didn’t break down as quickly as pine nuts usually do, but the end result was still delicious. To make the cream sauce I used Aldi’s Organic Soy Milk, which becomes so thick, if its been sitting in the fridge before opening, that its great for creamy sauces.

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Risoni with ‘Chicken’ and Mushrooms in Creamy Pistachio Pesto Sauce (vegan)

Ingredients for Pistachio Pesto:

2 garlic cloves

40g shelled pistachios

1 cup italian parsley

2.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons water

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Remaining ingredients:

2 serves of risoni pasta

olive oil

1 small onion, diced

6-8 mushrooms, sliced

1 cup Fry’s Chicken-style Strips, chopped

1 cup thick organic whole soy milk

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. First make the pesto by first adding the garlic and pistachio to processor. Process until mostly broken down, then add italian parsley, olive oil, water and season with salt and pepper. Keep scraping the sides and continue to process until it becomes a pesto. May take up to 10 mins.

2. In the mean time heat the water to boil for the pasta, dice the onion and mushrooms. Roughly chop the Chicken-style strips.

3. Cook the risoni pasta according to packet directions, then strain. ???????????????????????????????

4. In a pan add about a tablespoon of olive oil, then cook mushrooms until they have browned. Remove from pan.

5. In the same pan, add some more oil, then saute onion for 2 mins. The add the Chicken-style strips. Cook for about 6-8 minutes or until golden.

6. Add the mushrooms, thick soy milk and pesto and heat through, until it comes to a light boil. Place on simmer then season with salt and pepper.

7. Lastly, add the risoni pasta to the pan and heat through, then serve.

*Serves 2

*Ingredients for Pistachio Pesto makes about 1/2 cup

???????????????????????????????As I mentioned, we flew to Sydney yesterday to pick up a car. It was a really, really early 4 in the morning that we had to get up to get a 6 am flight. We left from International airport, which ended up being a lot more daunting then a domestic flight. Luckily we didn’t need our passports, but there were lots of checks done and waiting in lines. Anyway after we got the car we made our way back to Brisbane. On the way we stopped at a place we have stopped before and I really loved, Oliver’s Real Food. This is a natural, organic fast food stop that has 3 locations through New South Wales, outside of Sydney. They have heaps of vegan options for breakfast, lunch, sides, snacks and drinks. Some include Fresh Seasonal Fruit Salad, Organic Wholemeal Toast, Vege Patch Pita Pocket, Vegetarian Suishi, Organic Pumpkin Soup, Steamed Edamame Beans, Raw Organic Nut Mix, a range of fresh juices, coffees and bottled drinks. They also have a large range of Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Lacto-ovo Vegetarian options, as well as meat dishes.

Last time we picked up a car I had the Vege Patch Pita Pocket. Unfortunately this time I wasn’t quite ready for lunch just yet. So I got the best and most expensive fresh juice I’ve ever bought. After seeing the ingredients of this juice I really didn’t mind paying $9.90. It included raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate, goji, carrot, beetroot, tomato, rosehips’s echinacea, cranberry, blackcurrent, passionfruit, blackberry, coconut water, orange juice and banana. I can’t believe they managed to cram that much goodness in one serve of juice. It really woke me up and kept me alert for most of the trip. Marco really regretted getting the MacDonalds after I told him off, but I still shared my juice so he could get some nutrients in his body. So lucky me didn’t miss out on a juice day.

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Antioxidant Red Miracle

Today I tried something different. I added pumpkin to my morning juice. It was quite nice and didn’t have an overpowering taste. I also added orange, apple, ginger, cucumber, celery and carrot.

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The last thing I wanted to share is an Ice cream shop that I went to with the kids today, that serve vegan ice cream at Southbank! Geláre is a quality ice cream cafe, that is along the main drag in Southbank on Grey Street. They have dairy free vegan Sorbets, such as Mango, Raspberry and Lemon. The kids both had Mango Sorbet and the really loved it. I had the Naked Coconut Ice cream, which is organic, dairy free, vegan and naturally Sweetened with Organic Agave. This was the best Ice cream I have had in Australia. I was really impressed. They also have Vegan Dark Chocolate and Cappuccino Bliss (soon), which are also vegan, organic and naturally sweetened with organic agave. I am looking forward to meeting friends here and actually getting to have Ice cream out again.

Mango Sorbet

Mango Sorbet

Naked Coconut

Naked Coconut

Smoothies

While I was away on exchange I really missed fresh home-made smoothies and juicers. Unfortunately my juicer and blender are at my place, since I’ve been spending the semester at my boyfriends, so I bought myself a cheap bar mix for smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to get fruit into my diet since I usually don’t eat it them otherwise. I haven’t been exercising enough, so I just don’t find I need to eat more then 3 meals a day.  

I usually blend fresh fruits with some juice or almond/rice milk and chia seeds. I noticed since I’ve been making it an everyday meal that I feel heaps better and don’t need coffee first thing in the morning.  I also discovered some other ingredients that change up the flavours. Pears give a fresh, crisp, mild taste. Nut butters and dates are also really good for a rich decadent taste as well. Soy yoghurt also give that sweet bubblegum flavour. I like Soy Life, which is available at Coles, Woolworths and now Aldi.

I’ve also been trying to incorporate more berries into my smoothies, since they are the healthiest fruits. Compared to grapes, bananas, apples and mango, berries have way more antioxidants. In particular,  raspberries and blackberries, since they have way more antioxidants then strawberries and blueberries [1]. When in season strawberries are between $1 to $4 and blueberries are about $4. Unfortunately a small punnet raspberries are $8. Black berries are about the same, but I rarely see them available. Another problem is that they are they usually start growing moss within a day. They must have a long way to travel. So I have opting to buy these berries frozen. Creative Gourmet has also brought out some organic frozen berries, since the pesticides used for berries are quite high compared to other fruits.

Best Berries- Nutritional Facts Video

Another new discovery is Smoothie cubes. They are now available at Aldi and as well as Coles and Woolworths and all seem to be on sale at the moment. Most of which are 100% fruit and fruit juice or fruit with natural ingredients. They all appear vegan too. The only ingredient I don’t agree with is in the Breakfast flavour, which has Polydextrose, which is a synthetic fiber.  Marco is addicted to smoothie cubes.  He has bought one of each flavour. At least he is making his own smoothies every morning and I’m not having to make him drink them anymore. I only used them as an accompaniment to the fruit, instead of the only fruit in my smoothie.

Here are a couple of my favorite smoothie recipes. What are yours???

Btw I found this great Vegan Cheat Sheet for products you can buy Australia

Berry and Kiwi Smoothie– Handful of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, 1 kiwi, 2 tbsp soy vanilla yoghurt, 1 tbsp chia seeds.

Raspberry, Pear & Blueberries Smoothie– handful of blueberries, 3 tbsp frozen raspberries, 1 pear (not skin), 1/2 glass almond/rice milk, 1 berry smoothie cube (optional), 1 tbsp chia seeds.

Banana Nut Smoothie– 1 banana, 1 tbsp nut butter (brazil, cashew & almond), 1 /2 glass almond/rice milk, 1 tbsp ground flax seeds, 1 banana & mango smoothie cube (optional)

Banana Date Smoothie – 5 dried dates chopped (put boiled water on them for a few minutes to soften), 1 banana, 1/2 glass almond/rice milk, 2 tbsp nut butter (brazil, cashew & almond), 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Five Fruit Juice– 1 orange juiced, 5 strawberries, handful of blueberries, 1 banana, 1 kiwi

Banana Chocolate Smoothie– 1/2 banana, 2 scoops Soy Good Soy Chocolate Ice cream, 1/2 glass soy/almond/rice (the kids favorite smoothie)

Blueberry & Oat Smoothie– handful of blueberries, 2-3 tbsp rolled oats, 3 tbsp soy vanilla yogurt, 1/2 glass almond/rice milk, 1 smoothie cube (optional) (Marcos favorite)

Raspberry Pear & Blueberries Smoothie

Banana Nut Smoothie

[1] Best Berries-  http://nutritionfacts.org/video/best-berries/