If these hands could speak what would they say..
..my Nan grew up in Baghdad, Iraq as a Christian. Fleeing persecution by Saddam, her family made their way to Australia. The older I get the more I cherish my heritage and want to preserve as many things from my grandparents as possible.. Last week I stood in my kitchen and documented my grandma making Assyrian Biryani.
As kids (and maybe adults) we made jokes about how, for our entire lives, we always ate the same 5 dishes when Nan cooked but you know what.. I am desperately trying to learn how to make those dishes so that when she passes on I can tell my girls that their grandma stood in a kitchen in Iraq and made this.. it’s something that will be with the women of this family for future generations.
Serves 4 people
4 thigh fillets
1/2 kg of gravy beef or beef fillet
120g Slivered Almonds
2 cups of basmati rice
2 large white potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 white onions, chopped finely
2 cubes of powder chicken stock
2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Biryani Spice
2 tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper
..cook the Rice
- Soak the rice in cold water for 20 minutes. Wash the rice and drain.
- Heat a pot with olive oil (enough to fill the bottom) on medium heat, add chicken stock, turmeric, biryani spice and curry powder to the pot, stir to combine.
- Add 3 cups of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the rice, cover and cook until water is absorbed. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally until rice is cooked.
..cook the Chicken
- Place the thigh fillets in a pot on medium heat. When the juices of the chicken are gone place ½ cup of water into the pot, when the water is gone add another ½ cup of water etc until the chicken is cooked.
- Cut the chicken thighs into small pieces and place in a bowl.
..cook the Beef
- Place the beef in a pot on medium heat with a sprinkle of salt. When the juices of the beef are gone place ½ cup of water into the pot, when the water is gone add another ½ cup of water etc until the beef is cooked.
- Cut the beef into small pieces and place into a bowl.
..cook the Potatoes
- Wash the potatoes in cold water and drain well. Place on a paper towel and pat dry.
- Place enough vegetable oil in a pan to reach halfway up the potatoes and fry the potatoes on high heat until golden. Drain on absorbent paper. Once golden place the potatoes on top of the chicken pieces.
- Divide the oil from the potatoes into two seperate bowls.
..cook the Almonds
- Place the almonds into a pan with half the oil from the potatoes on medium heat and cook till golden.
..finish the Beef
- Place the other half of the potato oil into a deep pan- add the cooked beef and chopped onions. Fry on medium heat until the onions are softened. Set aside
- Combine everything except the almonds in a pot and stir to combine. Once heated serve warm sprinkled with almonds
I’ve been debating whether to post this or not for the fear of being seen so controversial but to be honest I felt that everything that’s to follow needed to be said.. for all women out there who will one day face the exact same situation I’ve experienced.
Breast feeding vs bottle feeding..
I read an Instagram post while I was pregnant which said something to the extent of ‘we support you women who can produce milk but choose to formula feed’. Choosing to bottlefeed formula as opposed to breastfeeding isn’t an easy decision, for some they don’t make enough milk, for others it’s a matter of mental health or perhaps for medical reasons you actually cannot breastfeed- whatever the reason you do not need to justify yourself.
Yes, midwives and hospital posters- we know, breastfed is best. Yes, random stranger who sees you pour formula into a sterilised bottled- we know it would be so much “easier” to just use what God has designed our bodies to produce but we’re not going for what is “best” by the standards of research or what is “easier” by the standards of convenience- we’re going for what works for me and my family.
So if you choose to formula feed and not even try breast feeding I cheer for you. I had a moment a few weeks ago where Raegan was struggling to poo (I know TMI..)- we were going on a few days. She would cry and only pass wind so I knew it was hurting her- I thought it may be the formula.. with tears in my eyes I felt to see if I had any milk (I had worked on suppressing my milk straight after she was born)- I barely had anything.. I felt so guilty for a split second and then snapped myself out of it and started working through exercises to help her poo. I was feeling guilty because of what other people had shamed me into thinking and feeling which was not okay.
So here we are 4 weeks later, she is actually a month old tomorrow and we are growing and thriving! We’re working out new routines for the girls and I and we are loving life (most days)! If you are where I was a few weeks ago, mumma, you have chosen to do what is best- don’t let anyone make you question your decision or shame you into thinking you’re not a great mum!
Well, on the 6th of May at 8:52pm Miss Raegan Jean decided to join us! After a quick labour (more to come on that another day) we were delighted to welcome her! I’m feeling amazing and the entire family is absolutely smitten including her big Sister Ava! I can’t wait to share more photos and thoughts on being mum of TWO girls!
Still pregnant.. 40 weeks + 2 days.. overdue and feeling it…
I read a post by a friend the other day about having gratitude in circumstances that we may deem as hard or terrible to help with perspective- so..things I am grateful for in this season of waiting..
- my health and the health of our unborn baby
- being able to carry a pregnancy to full term plus a few days extra
- a hospital, only a few minutes away from our home, that has all the facilities and technology to birth a baby without complications
- a roof over our heads so when this baby does come we have somewhere to bring her home to
- the financial peace (that has come from the Lord) that has enabled me to take months off of work to help nurture and be present with our children
- friends and family who have continually checked on us and offered to help with Ava when we do bring another little one home
Just naming a few of course, but we truly are so grateful, even in the waiting..
Instagram has definitely connected the world in a lot of wonderful ways such as me being able to find boutique small businesses that I would never have come across had I not used hashtags or spent a few time looking around on insta! Below are some of my favourite baby items for our new little one that I am loving!one- Linen Bow (3 little crowns) | two- Jumpsuit (Zara) | three- Cashmere Set (Zara) | four- Amie Dress (Jamie Kay) | five- Beret (Janie & Jack) | six- Muslin Swaddle (3 little crowns) | seven- Tiny Girl Gang T-shirt (Jean and June) Picture source here | eight- Newborn Moccasins (Freshly Picked)
Due to a natural phenomenon called humidity all flowers and bananas (random I know) in our house are dying/rotting at an extremely fast rate! I’ve had rotten banana’s in my freezer for weeks now- we buy them over the weekend and by Tuesday or Wednesday no one will touch them which means they then sit on the bench for another 2-3 days until someone peels them and throws them into a ziplock in the freezer! Two weeks ago I made banana bread- this week I made banana and chocolate muffins. The recipe is for Taste.com which means it’s super simple and you probably have all the ingredients in your cupboard already!
Banana and Chocolate Muffins
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
60g butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup choc chips (milk, dark, white- pretty much whatever you would like)
1. Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan-forced.
2. Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients.
3. Add milk, eggs, mashed bananas and butter in to dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix ingredients until just combined. Stir in choc bits. Don’t beat the mixture or the muffins will be tough.
4. Line a muffin tray with paper cases. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm on top when lightly touched
5. Leave in the tray for 3 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack to cool.
I assumed that I had muffin paper cases- I assumed wrong.. chances are Ava was playing with them and has misplaced them.. anyways.. I found a tutorial online from The Kitchn for using baking paper to make cases- they actually turned out pretty well.
I saw a picture on instagram a few months ago of two pictures side by side of a baby. The left was a beautifully designed picture of a baby with a super cute outfit on against a white fur background with a little place card that read 2 months old (similar to the photos Greg and I took of Ava as she grew from 1 month to 1 year old). The picture on the right was another baby the same size with only a nappy on with a post-it note stuck it’s forehead which read “2 months old.” The bottom caption was first child vs second child. Greg and I had a big laugh about it because already this pregnancy is so much different to our first! We would watch the week by week videos together one night a week, Greg would come over and feel Ava kick any chance he got. I washed her clothes months early and had the diaper bag packed for weeks this time around I have been so busy working and keeping a toddler alive I haven’t had the chance to really do anything baby related.
I’ve written a checklist on my phone of things I need to grab but that was about it until Tuesday last week. Last Tuesday I decided I needed to get some clothes out and start washing them to try and connect with the idea that we would have another baby in the house in a few short months! It was surreal pulling out 0000 and 000 clothes for this baby that is not yet here with us- the clothing looks like doll items! I washed and dried so many things- we still need to wash the singlets and whites and then there’s the bassinet to wash and the car seat to install.. the list seems to be never ending.
Do you have any tips on how you connected with Baby No.2? I can imagine that we’re not the only ones struggling to really focus on another baby coming to our family when we have a very active 2.5 year old!