At blogging/life crossroads

Bug bunny - whats upimage source

I had intended to get a few ‘breaking away from the eating disorder’ posts up some time around now; significant, exciting markers of mental growth and freedom. I was eager to delve deep into no.1 on my list: “Negative Associations” in overcoming bad stigmas toward otherwise good, healthy food in correlation with restrictive times. Other than serving as an outlet to reflect on factors, I would of course be thrilled if it would resonate with another soul somewhere on the planet. I am never one to set up a blogging schedule and having no current intention to expand this little space as anything more than a personally public (<-I’m a walking contradiction remember!?) form of expression and healing…. I would not be posting without really feeling it. Maybe it’s just a passing phase – an ebbing and flowing of moods and living circumstances that I’m once again deliberating on whether I will actually be making the initiative to even start on posting anything -I had in mind- anytime soon. It seems like my brain recently has so much of room ; instead of thoughts nagging to break out there’s enough scope for musings to overlap while -I assume- I am a picture of lost calmness and serenity. Bah, that sounds like a load of bull. It would be amusing if it wasn’t the case exactly. In feels like every moment with my mind unengaged is an opening to be whisked off into some daydream, and if that happens to be when I’m outdoors in the soft sunlight (which finally pitched up today!)… hah, good luck with trying to grab my attention! Needless to say, I’m enjoying honouring my wandering brain by slipping away at free times to simply laze or stroll about, and just… dream.

bugsy!image source

As far as I am aware my daydreaming phase was lost into the toddler years!? Yet I’m entertaining every little wish in my heart, fully experiencing a sense of elation at the near possibility of certain aspirations coming to life – so to say. It’s an incredible feeling guys *gush*. 

So I truly want to say: don’t stop dreaming. Ever. It’s a profound sensation that I cannot believe I was such a long period without.

 

 

WIAW..Do you know?

If the past weekend is anything to go by – winter could be at it’s peak. What happened to my Spring premonitions? Gail winds, air that pierces through like an icy dagger and sunshine completely MIA…. I’ll be holding onto the layering of knits, jumpers and leather for now. Oh and comfort food, you’re not going anywhere. Saturday having been thee coldest day ever, I decided it would be fun to document the day’s eats that served as powerful internal insulation against the elements. Brought to your viewing pleasure through the much-loved celebration of yumminess hosted by her loveliness Jenn.

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DO YOU KNOW that awakening with chocolate chip cookie-cake on the mind – and with said cake in the house – is reason enough to have it for breakfast?

breakfast- cookie cake

Warmed, alongside chilled full-fat milk.

I’m done with tactics of staving off and denying cravings. I know that there is no way I’ll be able to get my mind focusing on other important matters if I fail to allow myself the freedom to just eat exactly what I please. Yes, even if that happens to be pie cake in the early AM. Obviously I went back for another slice…one slice of pie cookie-cake for breakfast just doesn’t cut it. I was seriously impressed at the decent time span I was kept energised after :D .

DO YOU KNOW that despite harbouring a set of taste buds highly in favour of well-spiced chicken, I am absolutely opposed to the sight – let alone the handling – of raw meats?

lunch- chicken&veg

Perfectly-spiced chicken, leftover roast potato wedges, steamed broccoli and carrots.

Good thing too. With a Mum and sisters’ who have honestly surpassed the title of “masterchef”, I am undeniably content with keeping away from the behind-the-scenes to every delicious portion. After denying myself of meat for such a long time, consuming it now is always tied with a feeling of liberation and all round fuzziness.

DO YOU KNOW hard-core oatmeal lovers stand a strong chance of craving a bowl during the day if it hasn’t made an appearance in the AM?

sweet&salty oatmeal -snack

with half a banana cooked in…topped with a splash of cold milk, roasted salted cashews, and strawberry jam. Coffee with a dash of coconut milk.

Sweet and salty nailed. I’ve been loving the sparkle a little coconut milk adds to my coffee these days…truth be told – it started off in a bid to use up opened tinned coconut milk and has morphed into an intended act.

DO YOU KNOW even lazy kitchen-slobs are sometimes motivated to put a little extra thought into cooking? But then again, my definition of cooking isn’t everyone’s pot of food either:

chickpea mushroom stew-dinner

chickpea mushroom stew with a wholegrain tortilla. Freshly squeezed naartjie juice.

Heh, how elaborate do I make my meal sound!? Well I believe it deserves a rather exaggerative title, given that it required abit more labour – than is my norm these days – to come together. I would really recommend braising mushrooms together with chickpeas though; the flavour is glorious.

 

DO YOU KNOW chunky applesauce on a warm buttery pastry croissant tastes just like apple pie?

croissant bedtime meal

half with chunky applesauce & cinnamon, half with Nutella. Rooibos tea.

The applesauce even gave the chocolate take a run for it’s money. Apple pie in a matter of minutes? Yes please.

Give me a recent foodie fact; Do you know…..? 

Dedication

Dedication is…

rising up a earlier to run bake before the world awakens. I’ve mentioned my lack of fondness at labouring in the kitchen; the situation is made a little pleasant if I can ensure that I will be the only soul there making a mess.

lugging around a monstrously over-sized cast iron skillet without warming up prior. It was not a smart move on my part to whet the appetite for a particular baked goodie without ascertaining the possession of the required baking tools. I suppose a replica from the 1950’s is better than nothing!?

getting butter on my fingers. I love butter okay, just not on my skin..eeyugh, so icky.

getting raw egg on my  fingers while attempting to separate the yolk from the white. Save me! It’s a good thing I wasn’t suffering morning nausea.

chopping up a bar of Lindt 70% in place of chocolate chips. We rarely have chocolate chips in the house – blame it on the lack of the stuff in the stores this side of the world.

taking a huge risk by sticking the overgrown pot/skillet thingy in the oven and hoping for the best. That’s part of my breakfast after all, I can’t deal with a flop!

reassuring the panicky voice inside of me twisting my guts into a nervous spasm – when 20-25 min. later…the masterpiece is clearly raw. What have I done? Deep breaths woman; it’s probably down to that block of iron the dough is in.

chomping down on a -cubed- pear (thank you braces *note the use of sarcasm*) to appease my demanding tummy. Any moment now…

chocolate chip skillet cookie

Do excuse the surrounding floury mess; this is amateur baking at its finest.

You know something, it’s a very good thing that – for the most part – I lack the nerve that contributes to embarrassment. Because now would be a suitable time to feel that way: yet another recipe of Amanda’s.. the gorgeous Chocolate chip skillet cookie. I’m guessing it’s that whole “tried and trusted to my taste buds” stigma, which is why I tend to revolve around her recipes.

choc chip skillet cookie & milk

Warm from the oven alongside chilled milk <3

Honestly, I almost didn’t wind up making it… after Mum gifted me with this before leaving me for a few days on an out of town trip

Cadbury Oreo

It’s a newcomer around these parts!

Between that blighter, a heavy supply of Salticrax & Nutella, and a stash of butter croissants – safe to conclude I am not short of my favourite forms of indulgent fare. But those wouldn’t satisfy a chocolate chip cookie-cake craving. I declared I would always choose “cake” over cookies, and I’m not going back on that statement, regardless of my natural contradictory nature. This is NOT a cookie folks…

skillet cookie-cake

A little bit brownie, a little bit cake, with the crispy edges of a cookie… to sum it up – this is perfection.

I am stumped at the correct manner of storage though. As it does contain egg, do I need to refrigerate?

Thinking Out Loud #29

I swear blog parties are my saving grace in helping me stay get on track of days [when they aren't serving to confuse me that is]. The dates of the month I am obliged to be aware of; no late tax payments from this human :) … but Monday-Thursday has a tendency to morph into one big jumble in my head. On the topic of head jumbles: here’s mine coming at ya out loud - courtesy of her randomness Amanda!

Thinking-Out-Loud

 

1. For a long while I’ve been enjoying my time in the “selfie sidelines”… you know interested in seeing the world’s selfies but assuming it as awkward for me to get into. I should take note of it as an element of my personality [re] surfacing then, this keen snap happy state growing on me.

selfie

Half a face! Awkward.

 

2. The sea of sunflowers dotting the fields announce that spring has officially sprung, yet the weather itself? Not so much.

sunflowers

A rare day of sunshine followed in quick succession by overcast chilliness and thunderstorms… not to allow our anticipation to grow too intense of course. But then again, do I really discern the weather patterns that identify with Spring? Something tells me that I need to glance back on pre-school lessons… because in the depths of my memory there’s a tiny speck of understanding that Spring is generally wet weather. Oh Mrs R, you would NOT be proud of your beloved pupil right now.

 

3. Allow me to narrate a fascinating story concerning French toast. Last week sometime I was over at Alison’s and she was linking back to a previous post in regard to… *silence*. Think, think… ah yes! Double-unders! Right?! My intention was to check if I had in fact missed that post. Turns out that while I’d been there, I had not fully absorbed the hypnotizing effect of the French toast the lady had for breakfast.. and just like that *zap* – I was bewitched people. As expected it had to happen..

french toast -breakfast

French toast topped with chunky applesauce, cinnamon, orange blossom honey and peanut butter. Rooibos tea.

So mine doesn’t appear quite appropriately “French”… in matters of taste I’d give it 5 stars though. So.good. I envisioned having French toast for breakfast for a month straight at least, but after 3 consecutive days… I awoke one morning in a lovely nauseous state; the very idea of handling raw eggs turning my tummy upside down. Wait, what? Isn’t morning nausea exclusive to expectant woman?!   

 

4. The best antidote – in my humble opinion – to ease any iffiness [nausea anyone] will be tried and true oatmeal. And chocolate. And peanut butter. And coffee. You catch my drift? Don’t ask me what drift… just catch it.

stovetop bananafied oatmeal, swirled with Nutella in a PB jar. Coffee spiked with coconut milk.

stovetop bananafied oatmeal, swirled with Nutella in a PB jar. Coffee spiked with coconut milk.

I reckon there is no emphasis required to establish just how brain-blowingly amazingly these flavours came together. Let’s discuss Nutella instead. Such a hot and cold relationship I’ve been involved in with the sugar laden jar of chocolaty goodness, it’s a crime. There was no argument when my age was limited to the single digits; how could Nutella be anything but loved?! Followed the period where the sight of the stuff clogged my arteries. In the process of challenging fear foods – Nutella was one of the introductory convicts. My taste buds were however in that explicable “healthy” stage and I quickly determined Nutella as “eww“. As off -5 days ago… my world will never be the same again: new [naughty] taste buds meet New-tella. Hhahaa, that is such a bad pun I’m totally crying.

 

5. I’ve got some golden advice to anyone wanting to delight their senses in Nutella yet finding it too sweet. Pair it with salty. Period. You are almost guaranteed to derive maximum satisfaction from it… leave that, you will probably be hopelessly addicted. I speak from experience. Nutella on a buttery flaky croissant. Or my favourite: Nutella with Salticrax. Don’t say I didn’t warn you; you believe xyz is addictive? Not any longer…

Nutella & Salticrax

 

6. I’ve been nurturing back-to-back disappointments in the turn of events regarding the last two books I had my nose buried in recently. I cannot come to terms with the ending in the sequel to Wings  … it’s illegal.

In case you're curious - that happens to be a Cho Fudge Cookie Dough shake.

In case you’re curious – that happens to be a Choc Fudge Cookie Dough shake.

Respected authors: what joy do you derive from toying with our emotions? Aahh I just can’t; reminiscing on it is bringing a lump to my throat.

To recuperate from the sadness, I delved into a chapter of another long-standing “relationship”; the Fearless series. For the past year of journeying through the books I became wonderfully obsessed with Gaia’s character… only to have every single shard of respect and love for her shattered into smithereens in [what appears to be the final instalment] “Normal”.

Fearless 31Gaia how could you!?!

 

7. Reading makes me hungry. Without fail… there has to be a direct correlation between our energy exertion and that of our characters. Because seriously, one would think I was doing the ass-kicking with them, as opposed to sitting on mine all the while!

 

8. The diet police are an enthralling bunch (I kinda really want to design their uniforms). I’ve been contemplating and… those who come under any form of “attacks” should feel very honoured. Think of it this way: it must mean you’re an extremely important figure in society if your impression on any diet effects the reputation of it worldwide. I mean, why else would there be such drama surrounding what a human chooses to EAT for goodness sake!?

 

9. Are you still around?… tell me what’s on your mind!

So who am I?

I’ve been reflecting on it lately, subconsciously – without making an effort to: how well have I grown to understand myself since… you know, the ED took over and I lost my entire personality somewhere along the line? who am I?image source

Physically I have progressed marvellously in healing, mentally I have shaken the majority of restrictive tendencies; can I declare that I am any closer to understanding my complicated self? Because I can only excuse myself as being “complicated” for so long…

My idea of the most challenging form of interrogation under the sun -has always been- another human inquiring me to deliver my perception of myself. From the less significant “what is your favourite dish” (what do I choose between fat free salads and fruit?!) to “are you a sociable kinda human”(no, get out of my face!)), there has always been an overwhelming sense of reluctance at searching inside my mind for an answer, when all I really want to do is wave away the question with a simple response: I don’t know. In the same breath, I am hugely delighted when I am able to pull out an answer which I believe in myself – that I can state with unwavering confidence; there is an unmistakeable thrill from inching closer to becoming aware of the person I am. Blogging, or rather journaling (by the manner in which I roll on this blog most of the time) has had me -willingly- pushing my comfort zone in tapping into the real me.

39 Questions.

Deconstructing me.

Spilling my guts 1.

Spilling my guts 2.

On the path to [self] discovery, I have rediscovered some things since awakening from the constant brain fog; factors which may seem minuscule to normal human beings… but to me? They matter hugely. Instead of not having a favourite meal, there’s too many I love to narrow it down to one. I choose cake over cookies. Lies are despicable, I don’t do lies… unless it’s the “How are you?” question on a business call and I’m in a terrible mood. I enjoy glamming up and attending a function, but I’m not a “party” person. I know that contrary to my original belief in not being a fan of smoothies – I am seriously in love with this chocolate mousse smoothie… enough to have it for lunch 2 days in a row, alongside roasted butternut squash.

Yes I spoon my smoothie straight from the hand blender bowl!

Yes I spoon my smoothie straight from the hand blender bowl!

I made note of the gloriousness of sliced strawberries thrown in there, but woah! The squash as a side makes it 10 million x more mind-blowingly swoon worthy.

Then we look deeper, aaand…. I am clearly a work in progress when it comes to processing my emotions. While it no longer feels like my skull is on the verge of exploding with an assortment of sensations, I don’t know me all that well as yet. It is still a story of: what am I really like now, versus back then? Am I generally loud or quiet? I can’t seem to say exactly; when joyful I am bubbly, chirpy… loud. Then again a deeply occupied state of mind sends me into serious silence. I can however finally distinguish feelings (from the muddle that seemed to haunt me for a good while) ..calm, content, restless. Being able to pinpoint my emotions is a great feat in itself, and yet…. I can’t acknowledge my character as a whole. Without a moments hesitation I can sum my brother up;  a laid back cool dude, slightly immature for his age – all about having a good time. My Mum is a soft-hearted, caring, easily excited soul. My Dad; bold and quick-tempered, yet loving and selfless. I could lay it out easily for the rest of my siblings too…. but I am at a loss to who I am. Does the fact that I enjoy thrilling rides and playing with pythons make me daring despite my cautious behaviour in my relationships? I’d like to believe I’m caring and considerate, but that’s definitely not always the case. Somehow I can’t just let it be either; I want to understand what lingers in the inner workings of my soul. Uhhh, kind of.

I suppose I am finding myself along the way- recently I’ve been surprised at the sureness my mind takes when exploring foreign thoughts (more life-impacting than what to have for lunch)… I am slowly recognizing my “stance” on various subjects, and it’s weird to realize that I’m interested in approaching topics which previously failed to alight any spark in me – I am beginning to openly converse on and reveal my view. So, suffice to say I’m still complicated then ;) .

bugsyimage source

And just because Bugs Bunny is undeniably loveable (and I sometimes feel this way)….
Bugs4image source

 

WIAW..magic in the mingling flavors

Can I just warn you at first hand that I am pretty much incapable of excluding the braces into foodie talk! Whaaat, it goes with the territory. For a few days following the monthly visit and having them tightened recently; the act of eating lost its enjoyment once more. Sad days indeed. Every cloud has it’s silver lining though… the minute things got comfortable in the mouth, there are no words to describe how I rejoiced as every smidgen of flavour could be savoured when chowing down. I am relishing the complexity and depth of flavours going on these days, and knowing that there is a celebration of yumminess down at Jenn’s place? It would be an absolute crime to allow memorable explosions on the taste buds to dissolve -forgotten- into the atmosphere.

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Today it’s not about following a day’s worth… kind of resembling my mind in a mish-mash of meals following one theme: identifying the magicalness [beyond the surface] in a mingling of flavours.

breakfastBaked Apple oatmeal sans raisins because I simply wasn’t feeling them. Now in this unsuspecting bowl – do you have any idea of the assortment of flavours creating… magic? Cinnamon-y apple pie drizzled with coconut milk, orange blossom honey and white almond butter. Orange blossom honey, I owe you a heartfelt apology… you tried to entice me as I completely ignored you in favour of old standbys. Well is it too late to go steady? Bahhh whatever, we going steady whether you like it or not. You know what’s the gravest realization? I would not have even acknowledged orange blossom if it didn’t fall into my hands as a gift. Way to earn my love, smart human.

The above breakfast didn’t lack an ounce of “oomph” overall, but on that particular day it wasn’t just enough. Or maybe I was missing the evident lack of AM caffeine which was soon rectified with a double dose.breakfast dessertBreakfast’s dessert if you will: the sweet, milky hazelnut latte mingling with the deep, dark chocolate resulting in the most incredible balance of flavour. Yes that is my idea of balance… not ratios – bang on flavour.

chocolate oatmealRepeat action with a twist: dark chocolate oatmeal with half a banana cooked in, drenched in coconut milk, dusted with cinnamon, topped with chunky applesauce, a drizzle of orange blossom honey and a dollop of peanut butter.

 

soup lunchSpicy butternut corn soup along with an avocado quesadilla and steamed broccoli. I could write a novel on my dream butternut soup, but something tells me it might not fare as a bestseller. Hmm, so let me ramble a short while on how I don’t like my butternut soup: sweet, sour, and creamy. The savoury side of me has enhanced somewhat in recent times – when I’m in the mood for savoury, it has to be savoury. Especially when we’re dealing with a delicate bowl of soup; all too simple to mess up the spice equation. To draw this tale to a halt – this bowl ticked all the right boxes: broth-based, spicy enough to have me sniffling, and chock full off flavour; complementing the “cool” sides masterfully.

koeksisterAllow me to introduce you to – what we call – a koeksister. Originally originated in Malaysia (I think! History is not my strong point) I do hope there is another, more pleasant term for this delightful confection. Because it is a far cry from anyone’s cooked sister… don’t let the name fool you; mixed spiced dough, deep fried and soaked in a sticky sweet syrup before receiving a roll in coconut. Yeah it’s as good as it sounds… and goes down a treat with a hot mug of coffee.

 

schwarma supper

A really bad image of really good food. That happens. Hot homemade – perfectly fluffy – steak shawarma with steamed broccoli, roasted potatoes and roast onion cream cheese. As much as I would like to proclaim one specific component as the “star of the show”, the combined flavours are what optimally satisfied the tummy and the taste buds; down to the huge dose of vitamin C on the side.

 

Do you believe in the magic of mingling flavours?

Favourite type of honey?

Ever needed a dessert after a sweet breakfast?

 

 

Contentment in the job I don’t love

I have a problem. No, wait.. let me re-phrase that: I am a problem (*cough* at times) . Given my contradictory nature, I admit I am astoundingly hesitant the majority of the time in “proclaiming” things about myself. There are instances where I am resolute in my feelings of course, but when it comes down to the mental shifts surrounding my life? I am so wary of stating something positive; only to have a topsy-turvy change of circumstances the day after that – which will brandish me a liar to myself… my only alternative is to keep shut. Or is it? I took longer than necessary before admitting to and celebrating the body positivity that had settled upon me, cautious of speaking too soon… even when I did, it required a squashing of “what if” doubts. What if I no longer feel this sensation of self love in an hours time? It was just that it all seemed too good to be true; was I not supposed to be struggling in some aspect? Such a level of acceptance within myself sounds unbelievable. And yet, here I am without my confidence wavered even slightly… this surreal positive body image growing [hopefully] more concrete – having survived through a fascinating remark if I do say so myself. So it wouldn’t be surprising that a part of me wants to hold back from believing I have -undeterminably- found contentment in the job I have clearly battled in maintaining sanity time and again. Because it’s not guaranteed. Then again – nothing is… what am I waiting for that will prove I have made progress in working under pressure in a field that is not my dream? I haven’t felt any signs of an anxiety attack or nervous breakdown since the last one   months back. And more than that, I do not fight an overwhelming wave of reluctance or gloom on entering the office as is the usual. Piles of paperwork and accounts waiting to be reconciled has lost it’s power to break me before I begin; I will get to it as I can. I want to reflect on the steps I assume helped in relieving me of the pressure I piled on my shoulders – as things are always changing, I’d like to be able to look back when I need it.

Work is work.

In an effort to make work-time a little more enjoyable, I was in the habit of regular blog-reading breaks… nothing too illegal right!? And at the [dis]advantage of being my own “boss” so to speak – I could without carrying out any sneaky methods. Well other than switching the fax line in order to receive an internet connection. But that’s beside the point. Over time I have learnt that bloggy breaks was not proving the most beneficial to my office-time really… it was actually making it a touch difficult to separate my job from my down time; something I constantly battle due to my office being stationed at home. It’s ironic that in order to shift my focus off my brain-breaking job, I have to focus more on it.. when I am working that is.work and playimage source

Make pauses count

I understand that continually being at the grind will turn my brains to mush however, so taking breathers are important. And breathers is just that. A time to step out of the office and get a whiff off fresh air… clear the mind by absorbing the rejuvenating effect of the outdoors, as opposed to the stuffiness inside. So yes, less time blog-reading overall [than I would like] but a healthier state of mind.

Recognising the disadvantage in the advantage

“You’re so lucky you don’t work under anyone.”  “Oh you have the perfect setup.” Easy for you to say… you aren’t me. Other than benefiting from circumstances by the blog-reading, the lack of authority means I was have the potential to be overzealous in attempting to stay on top of things and ensuring I keep track of the various deadlines or VAT payments. Which often can result in shuffling back and forth between dates in bed while trying to drift off to sleep. I feel like I’ve forever been trying to shrug off some of the responsibility I place on myself – to accept that it is natural for a bookkeeper’s work to overlap months (it is not a mark of failure in the least)- and I finally feel like I’m looking at things with a less critical eye.

the optimistimage source

Quit fooling myself by wishing otherwise

If I am not going to be taking the plunge in leaving my current station, I owe it to myself to not revel in other job fantasies falling into my lap – thus only serving to build up a wall of resentment in what I am doing. In between the tasks that has me moaning, there are several at least that admittedly I do enjoy. So reminding myself to practise an old adage of appreciating “the roses with the thorns”, <-(errr something like that) is not needless after all. Ever searched for that euphoric sense of achievement in completing a project? I’ve realised that I need to stop working for that sensation… I’ll never reach it. Not with a constant stream of work entering. Instead, my daily goal is to complete the tasks for that particular day and do my best to be content with that – to not push harder in hopes of attaining an impossible state of “done”. enoughimage source

There is more to my life than my job, no matter how consuming it feels at times.

I can actively decide whether I am going to allow it to drag me down or not.

At first I had this post titled “Tolerating the job I don’t love”, but then I thought about it…and honestly – that just doesn’t give it enough credit.

How do you feel about the job you are currently involved?

Any words of wisdom regarding work?