September Sundays!

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When I met my husband many years ago I wondered why his eyes lit up when he heard I was from the North Strand. It wasn’t long till I realised the reason why…..it is only ten minutes walk to Croke Park. As a proud Tipperary man even back then he could see the advantages of marrying into the Whelan clan, a lovely Sunday dinner and a free car parking space guaranteed for every match that he wished to go to!

I think it was in 1997 that I first experienced a GAA match, I had lived under the shadow of Croke Park for all of my life but until that gorgeous sunny Sunday I had never been. Thus followed a love of the game, cold days in Portlaoise, rainy days in Cork, sunny days in Thurles all became part of life. Yesterday however was definitely the best game of hurling I had ever witnessed, right from the first tap of the hurley to the final heartbreaking missed point, amazing skill and speed shown by both sides!

Since those early days times have changed and children have come along. My two sons are now the ones that mostly accompany their Dad to all the matches and sometimes even the baby of the house is the one to be heard shouting “Up Tipp”! Dressed in all their Tipperary finery they headed off yesterday after a Sunday dinner fit for kings (can’t beat a mammy dinner) to watch the team they love play their hearts out. They came home relieved not to have been beaten and looking forward to another day out!

It was such a beautiful day yesterday and my mother’s garden is looking amazing. She is 80 years of age and has the energy of a young one. She commented yesterday on how much duller her life would be if she didn’t have her little garden to look after and admire from the kitchen window. It has inspired me to inject some much needed brightness into my own garden, nice little project for the Autumn to keep me busy!!

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Isn’t nature wonderful!

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Teacher said…..

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‘Teacher said that I can go back again tomorrow, can I go back again tomorrow Mammy?”

The first words out of little Miss Halle’s mouth as I took her hand and gave her a big kiss. On any normal day three hours absolutely flies but this morning I felt every single second. I had a coffee with my husband, I hung out some washing, I went for a run (past the school in case there was an ambulance or a police car outside) and I had a shower sans interruptions which hasn’t happened for the longest time. I was trying to think of all the positives as the baby of the house ventures out on her first exciting steps into education and I realised that there are no negatives apart from one massive one. I miss her.

 

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Banana Bread with a twist!

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I had a slice of toasted banana bread in a cafe recently and it reminded me of how delicious it is and so simple to make. There are always a few sorry looking bananas left lurking in the fruit bowl at the end of the shopping week so it is great to have a recipe to use them up.

I started using chia seeds last May and since using them both my husband and I have definitely noticed an improvement in our energy levels. I am delighted to have tested them as a replacement for eggs and see that they make a great alternative. The added nutritional benefits of cooca nibs and coconut oil are also a bonus and help lessen the guilt of having an extra slice. This isn’t sugar free but I used dark unrefined muscovado sugar which gave the bread a lovely sticky texture. Delicious.

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Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 150g dark muscovado sugar
  • 50g coconut oil (melt after weighing and allow to cool)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water, stir and leave for five minutes
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Scant handful of cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Put sugar, chia seeds (should be egg like consistency after soaking) and the cooled coconut oil into a mixer and beat until creamy.

Add the banana and vanilla extract and slowly combine.

Add the flour, cinnamon and cocoa nibs and lightly stir until there is no trace of flour.

Scrape into the loaf tin and place in the preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before slicing, serving and devouring!

 

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End of part one……..

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Only a dog could have heard the excited scream that Halle let out when her Dad brought her home her new Minnie Mouse lunch bag for playschool. As she ran with excitement into the kitchen to show me I had to hold back a tear at the thoughts of an empty house for 15 hours a week and no little shadow following me around asking why I was doing this or not doing that! I have been dreaming of this day for years but now that it is almost here I am dreading it. I cried when the boys started playschool as well but back then I either had another one on the way or one still with me to keep me busy. Seems very final when it is just going to be me putting the key into the door and coming home with just Ray Darcy for company. Now I know that I won’t ever be bored as there is always something for me to do, blogposts to write, pictures to edit, roads to be ran but will cherish the memories of the days when all these gorgeous little kiddies had was me and me them. xx

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Ta ocras an domhain orm……

One of the few Irish phrases that I remember from my misspent youth is “Ta ocras an domain orm” which has a direct translation of “I have the hunger of the world upon me’. I love this phrase as it perfectly describes the feeling when you just cannot get enough food into your mouth fast enough! I had one of those moments on Sunday when I had completed my 15 mile marathon training run (any opportunity to throw that into a conversation!). I devoured 4 slices of toast, a bowl of weetaflakes and still had a hunger for more on me. Two packets of Walkers prawn cocktail flavour crisps (not a sponsored post, but they are delicious nonetheless ;-P) just about filled the gap until dinnertime. My clever pal Nitai has been trying lots of recipes with her new found love for coconut oil and I was the happy recipient of some raw energy balls from her during the week. Fast forward 48 hours and I am firmly on the coconut oil bandwagon and I whipped up these delicious healthy treats to stave off the hunger pains after prolonged exercise (here I go again….)!

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To make 18 energy sweets you will need

150g cashew nuts

2 tbsp shredded coconut plus 1 tbsp for rolling

1 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp cocoa nibs

6 dates

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp honey, melted

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Place all the nuts, chia seeds, coconut, cocoa nibs and dates into a processor. If you have a Nutribullet (my favourite kitchen gadget) you can use the milling blade which does the job perfectly.

Melt the coconut oil and the honey in a small saucepan before adding to the milled mixture.

Roll into balls before rolling in coconut and chilling completely in fridge before devouring. Tastes so good that they almost feel wrong! Perfect after a run………..FEEL FREE TO TELL ME TO BUTTON IT!!

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