How my dog saved my life… Cook this: coconut matcha porridge

Summer might almost be here, but we’re still getting some cooler mornings in Melbourne, which means there are still a few chances left for warm breakfasts. But to get to that, let me first rewind a moment…

This weekend hasn’t been amazing. We were meant to stay in Geelong last night and take part in Run Geelong this morning, a 6km fun run husband and I entered together. It was not to be.

After 48 hours of vomiting, I took my fur baby to the vet on Friday morning. There had been a big fat storm the night before which meant the little guy didn’t sleep, I’d only had 3 hours myself, and was exhausted… I expected (hoped for) a check up and maybe some antibiotics for a tummy bug; he ended up staying overnight. After a physical examination found him to be in a fair bit of tummy pain, the vet said it could be anything from having eaten something he shouldn’t have (being part beagle, this was highly likely) to something more serious.


She couldn’t have been more kind and understanding as she gently explained that he would be sedated for his ultrasound, a drip inserted into his little paw to keep his fluids up, and through-the-night monitoring. I cried. Bless her, she gave me a box of tissues, a pat on the arm and the assurance he’d be ok. I just cried harder as she led him out of the consulting room with his tail between his legs, leaving me there with a hand full of tissues and a face full of snot and tears. I proceeded to bawl my eyes out for the next four hours until I had nothing left.

This may seem like a bit of an overreaction to a sick dog, so let me explain. He’s not just a pet, he’s not just family. Depression entered my life in my late teens; by the time I moved out of home straight out of uni, I was in a pretty shitty state. Having never been allowed a dog growing up because my mum doesn’t like them, the first thing husband and I did when we got our own place was to go puppy shopping. Enter little tiny Marley…


He was the best thing possible for my depression; he dragged me out of my bad states because I had to look after him. I couldn’t just sit in a corner and cry, because this little fur blob needed me to look after him. He was totally dependent on me, and I, in turn, became totally dependent on him. He saved my life. When I’m at home, he’s never more than a few steps away from me. When I’m sitting down, he’s sitting on my lap. When I’m depressed or anxious, he senses it and sits with me silently. When I cry, he nuzzles my neck with his nose to wipe away my tears. When I get home from work, the yelping is deafening. He’s my best friend and my shadow and my constant, loyal companion in every sense of the word.


So having to bring him to the vet and leave him there and imagining him waking up from his anesthetic scared and alone was more than I could handle. So I reacted the same way any rational, fully grown woman after dropping her dog off at the vet for an ultrasound; I cried my eyes out. And texted my dad, who called me immediately, and cried to him even harder. It wasn’t pretty.

Anyway, back on the recipe track, we were told we could collect him yesterday morning. It was cooler than it had been in a while and I wanted comfort food for breakfast, which meant porridge. Checking the fridge to make sure there was enough almond milk left, I noticed the matcha jar I’d brought home from Tokyo and thought I’d give that a try…

To make one bowl of porridge:
– scant half cup of rolled oats
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– 1-2 tbsp shredded coconut
– 1 scoop protein powder – I use Amazonia’s raw vanilla protein (optional)
– 1 tsp matcha powder (more if you prefer a stronger flavour)
– 1 cup milk – I prefer almond milk for this

1. Put all ingredients except the almond milk into a tub and shake to combine.

2. Pour the tub into a small saucepan over medium heat, along with the milk, and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to a simmer, and stir constantly until it thickens to a consistency you’re happy with (somewhere in the vicinity of 4 – 8 minutes).

4. Serve immediately – enjoy 🙂

After that warm bowl of love, we collected our fur baby (with a bag full of medication) and took him home to rest. As you can see, he got real comfy, real quick… 🙂 here’s to a better week ahead for my poor little bug, and I hope everyone else has a great week, too! And if you need a warm, comforting breakfast at any stage, I hope this recipe helps! xo

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Cook this: Peanut butter choc chip cookies

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Before I left my husband at home and flew off to Vietnam with my sister, I figured the least I could do was leave him behind with a pile of cookies. Peanut butter + chocolate = happiness. It’s pretty simple, really.

You’re going to need…
– 120g butter, chopped and slightly softened
– ⅓ cup castor sugar
– ⅓ cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 large egg, at room temperature
– 1¾ cup self raising flour
– 1 cup chocolate chips
– 100g crunchy peanut butter

And then…
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugars for a few minutes, until pale and creamy.

3. Next, beat in the vanilla and egg until completely combined. Note: there are two eggs in my bowl instead of one because I’m a fatty and made a double batch. Also, if you have a dog who is addicted to butter like mine is, they may be hiding under a dish towel waiting for the mixture to spurt out from the bowl. Beware.
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4. Sift the flour into the mixture and mix with a spoon to form a thick cookie dough, then stir in the chocolate chips.

5. Lastly, microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds, then fold it into the cookie dough – you’re aiming more for peanut butter swirls than blending it into the dough completely.

6. Roll tablespoon pieces of dough into balls and flatten them a little, placing them on the tray spaced out a little.

7. Bake them for 12-15min, until they’re just golden. Let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

8. Eat. Lots of them. Now.

 

Eat here: Lady Bower Kitchen, Melbourne (cafe)

Lady Bower Kitchen, Reservoir,  Melbourne
www.facebook.com/ladybower

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Sunday mornings are the best. We seem to have falling into a routine now which I really love. It goes something like this:
– Wake up around 7.30 (we’re early risers by nature)
– Walk 5 or 6km
– Find a cafe to eat breaky, relax, discuss future travel plans
– Walk 5 or 6km back home or to where ever we’ve left the car
– Get on with the rest of the day

One of my favourite breakfast nooks is the Breakfast Club (see more of them here and here), but this time, given that it was a surprisingly beautiful, sunny winter morning, I decided on a different spot, where I knew we’d be able to get a seat outdoor in the sunshine, and therefore bring the furry child along as well, who is always keen for both a walk and breakfast.

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Welcome to Lady Bower Kitchen! It’s a bit cute, a bit kitsch, a bit hipster, and as yet, probably a bit underrated. It’s in a quiet area that you wouldn’t be able to easily stumble upon if you don’t actually live in the area, so you really need to know what you’re looking for. If you’re not from the northern suburbs, it’s well worth the trip. I’m quite surprised to see some reviews that reflect some customers’ disappointment in the limited menu (personally, I’d rather a limited menu that’s done well than a million options that are all mediocre) and the “poor, inattentive service” (we’ve been here numerous times and have always had very friendly and attentive service, regardless of the day or time we’ve turned up).

Someone (though it wasn’t me or Marley) was still recovering from a big Saturday night out so he went with the seeded toast and spreads & a fruit punch (in the jar you can see in the very top photo). Luckily for me, someone wasn’t particularly hungry so I got some bread to try the spreads with. Feijoa jam, quince jelly and lemon curd. All amazing. Marley also shared the toast, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, being his mother’s furry son; carbs with fat and sugar are always appreciated.

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I went with the apple, rhubarb & raspberry bircher muesli. Oh my goodness, that’s a seriously delicious bowl of breakfast goodness. The rhubarb and raspberry compote was incredible, just sweet and tart enough all at the same time, and the muesli itself was really creamy. The apples were super crisp – it all just worked perfectly. I rarely order this sort of stuff for breaky because I can do a pretty solid porridge or overnight oats myself. I’m not sure what made me order this, but I’m glad I did, and I’ll absolutely be back for another serve again soon!

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It was a pity I wasn’t super hungry, because there was the most magnificent display of cakes and biscuits sitting on the front counter just begging me to try them all, so it might be a pot of tea and cake for breakfast next time! I know when most of us Melbournites think of great breakfast spots, we usually migrate to Brunswick, Fitzroy, those parts. But with great food and seriously amazing service, it’s worth the trip out to Reservoir to visit Lady Bower for your breakfast or brunch next weekend!

 

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