I’ve been creating something extra special over the last few months and I can’t wait to share it with you all….
I’m making another baby!
Yes, an actual baby has been growing and making it’s home in my cosy belly and man, don’t I know it! I have been completely dumbfounded as to how different this pregnancy has been for me, compared to my last. The end of the beautiful summer has been a bit of a blur as I have battled my way through acute sickness, exhaustion and crazy cravings. My usual diet of soul-bowls and delicious desserts has been turned completely upside down and I’ve found myself in desperate need of salty carbs all day every day for the past three months. I’m glad to say that I’ve out the other side of it now, making up for my lack of greens and seasonal foods with some big ol’ salads and delicious fall-feasts. I’ve got more energy, am feeling much better in myself and can actually cook a decent meal for us all, which isn’t just made up of my days cravings.
Even though the past few months have been super tough for me, I am still in awe of how in tune our bodies and our growing babies are for what they need. Yes, I basically craved salty chips, pasta, noodles and bread for days on end, but what fascinates me equally is how much I repelled certain foods. Being during the height of the summer harvest, I would normally be eating my way through buckets of fresh tomatoes in fresh gazpacho, eating beans in every way possible and courgetti until I could eat no more. I had all of these things in abundance in our garden, yet I could hardly stand the smell of a tomato, let alone eat one! I have had none of my favourite tomato soup this year, only a little courgetti has passed my lips though it wasn’t giving me the feel-good vibes that real-deal pasta (ok, spelt spaghetti) did and I gave away almost all of my bean harvest. But certain veggies were on… I craved really spicy peppery greens like rocket, mizuna and watercress, as long as they were drenched in lemon juice, olive oil and a (generous) seasoning of salt. Kale salads were OK, but really, ‘give me all the kale chips!’ Seriously. If I made a batch they would be gone in 5 minutes. Smoothies were my saviour. I could easily sip on an ice cold smoothie of frozen banana/ avo/ coconut water/ hemp seeds + greens or berries (or both) but eating fruit alone was really hard for me most days. I had one fruit which I craved for a few days, then I’d feel sick at the thought of it (I gorged on watermelons, grapefruits and pineapple mostly, but I’m giving them all a much needed break. The memories of days of nausea are too much to re-live!) The thought of eating some of the foods which I craved a month ago turns my stomach now. Black olives being the worst. I ate so many of them at the beginning that I can’t look at them for now. Body awareness is so powerful! Starting off the day with scrambled eggs on home-made toast with a generous side of harrisa was the only way I could feel like I could get through the day at the beginning. One thing which was similar to my last pregnancy which astounds me, is the fact that I do not want to touch anything sweet in the form of cake, chocolate or cookies. I know! Crazy right?! If you knew me well, you’d understand how crazy that is. I have gone through the first quarter of growing this babe in me without one slice of raw cheezecake, dark chocolate or figgy-flapjack passing my lips, and I must say, I was amazed at myself for not wanting these things let alone needing them after every meal. I’ve had a few mouthfuls of dessert over the past week and enjoyed it, but I certainly don’t have my usual pull to the cookie jar after every meal.
So I was insanely tired, grumpy, rather down and so so sick some days. But the days it all began to lift, I felt like a new me. Renewed after the days of rest and reflection, and with heightened awareness of my bodies wisdom to grow this tiny being inside me. I am able to make it through the day without needing to nap at any minute I get the chance, and am finding my way with my yoga practice again, which is adapted to include my yogi-toddler climbing all over me. Even though it was summer when I was in my first trimester, I craved comfort foods, especially ones which reminded me of growing up, The kind of food my mumma used to make. Now that we are entering the midst of Autumn, I am embracing the comfort foods even more than before, so warm wholesome dinners of mashed root veggies, creamy risottos and roast dinners are all top of my second trimester Autumn menu! One food which I used to love as a kid was sausage and mash. My mum used to buy veggie sausages and serve them with creamy mashed potatoes, braised cabbage and apple and home-made gravy. I’ve not had anything like it since I was at school, but lately, my body has been yearning for it! Hello body (or baby?!) wisdom! On my mission to turn all of my cravings a little bit healthier, I stumbled across a recipe for vegetarian chirizo from the Greenkitchen stories book, and had to give them a go. Their version served in a slad of quinoa, tomatoes and apple was amazing, but I craved something traditional and hearty and came up with this version. I also chose to bake insdtead of fry mine, making them a bit lighter with the hearty meal. Served on a cosy bed of warm butter bean mash, a side of steamed kale or spinach and my home-made mustard and sauerkraut, this is just like mumma used to make, but a whole lot different as well. The condiments make up a big jar which both store in the fridge for weeks, and make up a beautiful salad dish which I will share with you next time! I’ve got some important mumma-to-be nutrition tips I am almost ready to share with you too, but for today, I wanted to give you my ultimate comfort food recipe for mums, kids, men and all. For the record, my meat-loving man gave the sausages a big thumbs up, which is a compliment not given out lightly! You might not be able to fool them, but you can tempt them, that’s my moto. I’d love to know what you think!
A few notes on the recipe… The sausage recipe makes about 20 sausages, which is enough for 6-8 people. If you are serving less you can freeze the sausages and just defrost and bake at a later date. Whilst the sausages are cooking, I like to roast some seasonal vegetables in the oven to go along side this dish. I love roasted kuri squash and roasted beets, but you could also roast some potatoes too if you want something more substantial. The butter bean mash makes enough for 2 large portions or 4 smaller ones.This dish would also be awsome with some home-made gravy, to up the comfort-food rating even more. The mustard recipe needs to made 2-3 days in advance and will make a small jars worth, and it will keep for many months in the fridge. The sauerkraut will make a large jars worth and needs to made at least 5 days in advance. If you haven’t done this and want something zingy to go alongside your meal, simply shred your red cabbage and broil in a covered pan in 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. Or you can use store bought kraut and mustard. I’ll still love you.
Veggie-sausages with Butter bean mash, home-made mustard and sauerkraut
Veggie sausages (adapted from the Green kitchen stories cookbook)
100g sundried tomatoes, pre-soaked in 1/2 cup warm water for 30 mins
125g cashew nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
6 unsulphered apricots or dates, roughly chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
200g rice flour
1 tbsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp linseeds, ground
60ml olive oil
Strain the excess water from the sundried-tomatoes and place into a food processor with the cashew nuts, onion, chilli and apricots/dates. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the oregano, rice flour, xanthan gum and linseeds and pulse until everything is well combined. Add the olive oil and 60ml water and pulse until a dough is formed. It should be easy to form into a sausage shape. take a small handful of the dough and roll into a sausage shape, each about cm long. I ended up with 20 sausages. Place onto a baking tray brushed with oil and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Whilst you are baking the sausages, you can roast some seasonal veg like autumn squash, carrots or beetroot to add to your dish. Whilst you are waiting for them to cook, make the butter-bean mash.
Butter bean mash
1 can butter beans, drained
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 handfuls fresh parsley, finely chopped,
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon maple syrup/ sweet freedom/ honey
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a jar and leave on your worktop for two days. Add a little more water if the seeds are not submerged. After two days, place the contents of the jar into a blender and blend until well combined but still a bit grainy, unless you prefer a smooth mustard in which case blend until smooth.
To serve, remove the sausages and roasted vegetables from the oven and set aside. Spoon a potion of the butter bean mash onto each plate, then top with a two or three sausages. Add the roasted vegetables and a side of the sauerkraut and a spoonful of mustard.
What are your favourite comfort foods? Have you had any cravings during pregnancy or any other special time in your life? I’d love to hear them!
From our cosy nest, sending warm belly love,