Wednesday, December 24, 2014

One more sleep!


Only one more sleep!

Wishing all of our Alphabet-Soupers a fantastic Christmas, 
where-ever in the world you are celebrating it.

We are going to take a break and will be back in the New Year.

Merry Christmas everyone and may 2015 have some fun & good times in store for you!

x x
E & S

Monday, December 22, 2014

down to the wire


How are you going? Are you on track to get everything done, come Wednesday night? Food bought, cards sent, presents wrapped?

This is where I put my hand up and say "No, nope, not me, not this little black duck" - all my Christmas plans were travelling along swimmingly, until two visits to the emergency department, two Saturdays running (ahhhh, boys, my lovely, beautiful, accident prone boys!) threw a spanner in the works.

Thankfully, everyone is on the road to recovery (isn't that skin glue amazing stuff!) and although we'll be managing an eight year old on crutches for the next few days, in light of all the terrible events over the last couple of week, we are counting our blessings!

But the cards, yes, I have to confess, a bare minimum of cards been done, and food, well, yes.....we still have to finish off the food shopping, and no nothing is wrapped.

But my boys are all healthy & in one piece and we will all be together come Christmas morning, and I couldn't ask for anything more.

xE


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gingerbread goodness

Wow - where has December gone?

Usually, like Em, I get some great gingerbread house kits and the boys go to town to decorate them. Thankfully one son is a little anal like me and his house is usually very nicely decorated. Wow it kills me not to fix the other one!

Anyhoo...in the theme of this year I have left it too late..so had to buy a cheaper option from the shops on the weekend. A gingerbread train and a shack! 

For a start, the icing was rubbish! Did not stick easily, and just clumped. Also the gingerbread is not the best. Serves me right really for going for the super quick and cheap and nasty option in my haste to tick the boxes! At least you won't really taste it under the layers of lollies!!!

Next year - its calendar notes and planning ahead!

Are you feeling a little frazzled and time poor too?

xSal





Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The end of an era

My first baby finishes primary school today.

Wow. Where has that time gone? It seems like just yesterday that he was starting school, all cute and chubby faced. Now he is a 12 year old boy, with a fab group of buddies, about to embark on the next phase...

All the best my amazing little man! I love you to the moon and back (and I promise to try not to embarrass you by bawling my eyes out on your last moments at primary school!) xx

xMum




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas treats

Not only is it almost Christmas, this also means its the end of the school year and there are parties galore! Pool parties, class parties, graduation parties...you name it..and that is just the kids!

A girlfriend of mine from work as requested some specific treats this year...so I thought Id make them also for both the boys class end of year parties. When I say I will make them I really mean the kids!

Today after work I will be on a mission for marshmallows, candy canes and icing pens!

We have made the Tony Teddy sleighs before - a cinch...and I think the others will be easy too...and lots of licking of fingers at the end!

What treats do you like to make at the end of the ear?

xSal









Monday, December 15, 2014

Running Late!

Em mentioned in an earlier post about how they are the tree up on 1st December kinda people. I am. Usually.

This year my darling husband decided to order our tree from the tree farm at Dural to be delivered (and they pick it up also which is a bonus). We have both been so busy lately that to try and find time to take the boys out to choose one just wasn't going to happen!.

This meant, however, that we were on their schedule not our own. So it didn't arrive until last Wednesday! I have to admit to having some anxious moments thinking that it just doesn't FEEL like Christmas yet.

Thankfully the tree arrived in one lovely piece and yes we have overdone it on the size again! We have started a tradition in the last couple of years where we decorate the tree with the family - the in-laws and my mum and sometimes a good family friend. Everyone gets a new ornament every year to hang on the tree. This year we did little baubles with everyones names.

Oh - yes...we do have the largest tree in the land. For scale - a 12 year old boy standing on front!

Oh but the smell when I get home from work every day....its just Christmas!

xSal












Sunday, December 14, 2014

Perfect way to finish off your christmas shopping!

Quick quick - free shipping on all orders this week over on www.tictactoe.net.au, just for friends of Alphabet Soup and just in time to finish off your christmas shopping - yay, yay, double yay!!




Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blog love - Confessions of a Christmas tragic


My girlfriend was Barbie, has been outed on kidspot as a Christmas tragic - check out the post, it is truly excellent and chock full of all sorts of Christmas goodness!

xE

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Inspo


Where do you find your Christmas Inspo?

Magazines?

Blogs?

Pinterest?

I am still a big magazine fan but this year, I also started a "Christmas Love" board on Pinterest.  In having a quick peep at it this morning, I realised that my pinning vision, a smooth, quiet palette....all dreamy neutrals with hints of candle light, and kisses of gold.......is somewhat different from my multi coloured, mismatching, luridly lit reality.

Oh the joys of the decorating bent of small people - but I wouldn't have it any other way :)

Happy Friday peeps, only 13 sleeps to go!
xE

Thursday, December 11, 2014

An Alphabet Soup type of Christmas - Part 3 - The Ginger Bread House


The Gingerbread House.

We have made Gingerbread houses for the last 8 years. I got involved in the whole Gingerbread caper when my eldest first started school and one of the local churches ran a Gingerbread evening.

I was totally there for the crafting (being non-religious) and as it was a child-free event - I could t.o.t.a.l.l.y. get my craft on - and wow - that first house - let me tell you it was a perfect example of control-freakery colour co-ordinated goodness.

All very orderly, I only used the icing, silver balls, green spearmint leaves, red raspberries and white jelly beans - oh for the love of classic patterns and fine sugar work!

Well......no other Gingerbread house we have done since has ever looked like that....ever again. After the first one, the boys HAD to get involved and I had yet another mothering lesson of "release, it's all about release" handed down to me.

We have now embraced the Any-which-way-goes vibe and turned the Gingerbread House into a bit of an event. On a Saturday in early December, I invite 3 other families over and we all get up to our elbows in lollies and runny icing. (I order the kits from The Ginerbread Folk and highly recommend them.)

The kids love it.........and I have to leave the room while they are sticking the lollies on - pass the Rosé please!

xE




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting our Christmas craft on


Today, we have a guest post from my gorgeous step-sister Emma (yes, we have the same name - long story!). Em has two total cuties who are 4 & 2 (heading for 5 & 3 in the next couple of months), so she in knee deep in christmas frenzy, tinsel love and putting all the decorations half way up the tree.

She's also been getting down and dirty with the glitter........

Emma:
This year I decided the best way to avoid any potential Christmas meltdowns (and the potential is STRONG when hosting 14 on Christmas Day and 12 on Boxing Day!) was to do absolutely as MUCH as possible as early as possible. This includes the cooking of the pudding and cake and the getting on of the Christmas craft!

Now when you live with some little people as I do, a little glitter and starry garland action ahead of time is not seen as out of order, in fact it is applauded and welcomed. We've had our homemade star garlands up for a few weeks now, and though we still have one more (quite long) one to make, I take great comfort in seeing them up and feeling festive.....

To make, we traced a wooden star we already had on a couple of large sheets of white cardboard, then cut out all the stars. This truly did take a fair bit longer than I thought it would, but I comforted myself with how much money I was saving by not buying someone else's homemade gorgeous bunting on Etsy.

We used stick glue to coat before dipping the stars alternately in gold glitter and sand from the little harbour beach close by and stringing up with twine. 

I really wanted to make something simple that fit in with the bush surrounds of our new house but that was still Christmassy.

Whilst involving the little people did result in them looking ready to board a Mardi Gras float by the end, it was fun and they loved making something for our house.


Mission accomplished, feels like Christmas already!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An Alphabet Soup type of Christmas - Part 2 - The Advent Calendar


So, just was we are a tree-up-on-Dec-1st, type of family, we are also a crack-out-the-advent-calendar type of family.

I didn't really grow up doing the advent calendar, but when I had kids, I thought it was a pretty fun idea and looked forward to counting down the days of December with the boys, with little treats all part of the deal.

However, with a handful of years managing super-tired, end-of-the-year, sugar fueled, nightmarish, little kid melt-down moments had me looking for a different way to celebrate.

Years ago, I came across the idea of a photo wreath on Sweet Paul, and loved the look of it. The love of the image of Wreath grew into a photo Advent Calendar.

Every year for the past 5 or 6, I print up a collection of photos from through the year - around 80 usually does it - the last few years I have been using Social Print Studio to get the shots printed (super easy upload, speedy delivery, dreamy card and matt printing - love, Love, LOVE). The photos are them mixed up and divided between 24 labeled bags.

Everyday, the boys get a bag down and each pull out a photo. We then have to work out what the photo is of, and when we think it happened during the year. Once the timing is nailed down, it gets pinned to the wreath in (clockwise) month order. Once completed, the Wreath is a photo memento of the year that has just been, and it stays with us during the coming year, until late November comes, and it's time to take it down and start again.

(For the wreath base, I use a polystyrene florist wreath, which it fixed to the wall using 3M removable tape.)

I love that it give us a tool to re-cap our year AND that it isn't all about lollies or MORE gifts.

For other great non-lollie advent ideas, Natalie over at The Indigo Crew had a great post last week, check it out.

xE








Monday, December 8, 2014

An Alphabet Soup type of Christmas - Part 1


So has everyone survived the first week of December?

That week when it dawns on you that, yes, actually, Christmas is like totally just around the corner and best you shift it & get busy with the Christmas action.

Around here, Christmas action comes in a few different shapes and sizes. Firstly, we are a Tree-up-on-December-1st type of household. This year, that involved H heading out to the Christmas tree farm at Dural and selecting a tree. (said tree then stood patiently in a bucket, wrapped in net, waiting for December 1st to roll around).

But prior to the tree going up on December 1st, we have the annual outing to the shops for the boys to select their new decoration for the year. This is something I have done with them every year, and baring the odd breakage along the way, they now have quite the collection. (please note, this can be quite a painful outing, but I'll go into that at a later date.....somewhere under the heading of "for the love of sweet baby jesus, would you just choose a decoration, the centre only offers 3 hours free parking").

Anywoo, upon choosing a new decoration, we waiting for the December the 1st to roll around and the boys set about decorating the tree with great gusto - as you can imagine, it is quite the eclectic style of tree - not your lovely, simple matchy-matchy goodness that appeals to my inner ODC self - actually a girl friend of mine hashtagged the picture of her tree on Instagram with a beauty  #whenthekidsmoveoutiwilldothetreemyway - I just had to join in! xE

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Super gift for your mum

Want a great gift for your mum? Something lovely, and easy and pretty? 

Not another trinket, not another platter...how about a gorgeous hand poured soy candle with a lovely fragrance?

I just L.O.V.E a nice smelling candle. As a gift they are usually very well received (hint hint darling). A candle and a lovely picture of the kids or something...what any mum/granny loves!

Try these little beauties! Wee Willie Candles - a local business, and some lovely smells...

One big tick off your Christmas list.

You're welcome

xSal



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Its beginning to look a lot like...

CHRISTMAS!!

If you are a Christmas cake or pudding baker, you would realise all of a sudden that its time to get your fruit soaking.

When Em & I had the catering business, this item was a fave of a couple of our clients - I used to make mini loaf sized ones. Now I usually do a big one as well as the smaller ones (usually baked now in a muffin tin) as the boys like to take them to school. The good thing is that the booze you soak it in cooks off when baking. The muffin sized ones are also great to take to people's houses..just sprinkle with a little icing sugar and they look fab.

I have a Christmas cake recipe that I have used for years now - I pulled it out of a magazine in 1999 and haven't looked back.

Until this week that is. When I discovered that I can't find it. NOOOOOO. Recipe LOST. PANIC!

Now I am on the hunt for a recipe that is the same.

I've got my fruit soaking already.... 1.5kg of generic mixed fruit plus about 3 packets of glace cherries. All in a bowl and mixed with about 1.5 cups of booze. Whatever spirit that takes your fancy. Brandy, port, rum. This year Ive used a mix of caramel vodka and Drambuie. Let sit for a few days to macerate stirring every day or so.

Now to find a recipe to cook it! Watch this space...

Do you have a recipe I could use?

xSal


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Would you eat this?

My darling husband, on the odd occasion, likes to eat the weirdest combination on toast. Like. EVER.

Peanut butter and tomato sauce.

YUK.

Ive seen some weird combos on toast. Vegemite & honey. Banana, cheese and bacon (suprisingly ok). But this beats 'em all. I did try it. I had to spit it out.

Now if I have to make it I put silly pictures with the tommy sauce on the toast...may as well have a bit of fun!

Do you know of a worse one?

xSal







Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sustainable christmas wrapping

I am just about organised this year when it comes to the whole present buying things. Except for the boys that is.

Our tree goes up in just over a week, and I am pleased to say that I will already have some wrapped gifts to put under it.

I do and try, most of the time, to do my very best by the environment. Every year we are sure to recycle all of our paper and wrappings. 

This year, I am wrapping all of the adults presents in either a calico bag or a lovely tea towel. Ive seen some great bags on Apple Green Duck and some cute ones on Cotton on.

For the boys, sorry I am using paper as how can you deny kids the mad tearing of paper on Christmas day, but it will be recycled paper. 

For gift tags, every year I reuse old christmas cards that have been sent to us. I cut out the pictures or words, discard the back of the card, and hey presto - instant gift tag.

Maybe next year I will manage to wrap everything in lovely reusable bags....

Do you have any wrapping tips? Know any good places I can get some more bags?

XSal 


Monday, December 1, 2014

Never lose your glass at that Christmas party again

Yup.Its just about that time of year again, the mad festive season where all of a sudden every person you know wants to catch up "before christmas". 

As my big boy is coming to the end of this primary school years, we are having a lot of drop ins and kids coming over for a swim. This also includes usually a few mummies staying too for a nice cold glass of bubbles! 

Along with this, for some reason my boys like to use every glass in the house. Every. Single. Day. At the end of the day we end up with about a dozen glasses lying about.

You know those little dibbers that people have with little items hanging off them that you put around the stem of your wine glass to remember its yours at a party? Well, they are clever, but I always forget whether Im the knife and fork, or the rolling pin etc etc

Ta daa......nifty wine glass markers. I have been using them on the boys glasses of a morning so they only use one each a day, and they are also great when you have a few friends over so you don't forget which glass is yours. 

Get entertaining everyone!!

xSal





Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hello Lazy Sunday

Shopping is done, pork shoulder (to be come pulled pork in about 5 hours) is in the oven,  one child has been dispatched to the movies with his mates and the other is snuggled on the couch watching "The Grinch".

Time for a relaxing cuppa and a quote from the awesome Kid President..

Happy Sunday everyone!

xSal





Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Cocktail Files




Episode 1

Top Left - The "It's-Friday-afternoon-one-son-has-played-five-a-aside-soccer-already-one-son-is-at-basketball-and-the-other-is-having-a-sleepover-I-need-to-sit-down.
A saucy little mix of Vodka and Blood Orange, with a dash of Soda, served over ice, with a jaunty mint garnish. Best sipped alone, relishing the silence of a (very rare!) empty house at 5:25pm on a Friday evening.

Top Right - The Doubting Thomas
A refreshing combo on Vodka (yes, vodka may be the only spirit we currently have in the house....) Fresh lemonade, a dash of Lemon, Lime & Bitters cordial and a squeeze of pink grapefruit juice. Garnished with a slice of the Grapefruit, the Doubting Thomas is best enjoyed when you have declared the glaring lack of mixers and/or cocktail options, and have loudly bemoaned said situation..........only to be proved wrong by your other half.

Bottom Left - The Shouting Thomas
Served to settle the nerves after an afternoon of end-of-year-itis induced, cross-generational shouting matches, The Shouting Thomas consists of Vodka, Triple Sec (yes, we found it at the very back of the cupboard!) Pomegranate Cordial (also at the back of the cupboard....with the Triple Sec) a dash of Bitters and squeeze of lemon, all served over ice, with a slice of lemon and watermelon batons for stirring - bitter, with a dash of sweet, and packing a punch, the Shouting Thomas is the perfect aperitif to settle those frayed nerves.

xE

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

hohoho - christmas comes early


My better half, bless his cotton socks, has a birthday in (early!) January.

This usually makes the Christmas/birthday present haul a tricky equation....do you go long on birthday gifts, but then Christmas looks a bit skimpy? Or do you load up on the Santa love, but risk being thin on ideas come birthday time?

(I know - totally first world problems, right?)

I was feeling pretty good about the whole gifting balance this year - I actually had a healthy amount of Present inspiration, that I felt I could distribute well across the coming season of celebration.

But then came a week from hell (as only late November can dish up - tired kids, crazy work, the first of the proper summer heat.....you name it.....wow....whats with the second half of November?) and I found myself in one of my favourite book stores and there is was....something that was on my list for him, but that I thought he could probably do with receiving right there, right that afternoon, as an "I love you....it'll all be OK" gift .

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

You see, the Better half, as I may have mentioned, is Vegetarian.

Yotam Ottenlenghi is one of his favourite food authors, so when Mr Ottenlenghi does (another!) book, entirely dedicated to Veggies....well, yeah....it's kind of a given that it's on "the list".

So yeah, I am now have a space on the Capricorn Christmas/Birthday list but hey, we sure have had fun these last few days pouring through it - check it out - a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

xE


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jamie Oliver goodness


I am not usually one to go for the pre-prepared, ready meal options - don't get me wrong, we will generally have a back-up frozen lasagna or curry in the freezer, but we haven't really delved into the land of all the ready-to-cook options that are filling up the supermarket fridges these days.

But last week, due to a busy schedule and the need to stream-line the dinner process, I picked up one of these Jamie Oliver packs at the local Woolies.

Cost- effective, easy to cook and well received - all round winner, really! We paired it up with a quick crunchy salad (see yesterdays post) and a quick, midweek summer meal was ours for the eating.

xE

Monday, November 24, 2014

little crunchy sticks

With the weather feeling warmer and the days getting long, dinners are turning "lighter". We have a some sort of salad with most meals - getting the boys to have a variety of fresh (uncooked) veggies every day is one aim, but as Hayden (my better half) is a vegetarian, it means that the evening meal can cater for all family members.

Mandolines are a fantastic tool for salads - they make easy work of all the slicing and dicing (although, if I am honest, the sharpness & stealth of the blade gives my that awful wofty, wiggly, frightened feeling at the base of my tummy every-time I touch it! - no cut fingers yet, though!)

This salad is one of the boys favourites - carrot, cucumber and green apples, with finely sliced coriander stems.

Dressing? see how you feel on the day - lemon juice & olive oil, Japanese sesame dressing, a dash of apple cider vinegar - all good!

xE

Saturday, November 22, 2014

three things i love about saturday mornings.....


saturdays - love 'em
xE

Frappe for a hot day

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, the boys like to have a nice cold drink after school or on the weekend. The favourite go to place is 7-Eleven for a Slurpee.

I don't mind this as a treat, but sometimes would rather get a kick of nutrition into them.

Hello frozen berries!

We are lucky to have a frozen berry distributor that sells to the public that is close to home, so I stocked up the other day on blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango chunks and cubes of raspberry puree. All for the bargain price of around $35. 

So I just got out the blender, chucked in some ice cubes, about half a cup of apple juice and a cup of mineral water and this plate of berries and mint. Whizz it up and there you go!

Home made slurpee and MUCH more delicious and nutritious!


xSal

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hell

Last week was the week from hell.

Last week I've juggled work, sick kids, hospital visits, along with ensuring the rest of the family eat well and get enough fibre/vitamins/goodness etc etc blah blah blah.

I have had two days of courses that I have to commute into city for this week so I tried to get super organised. 

Saturday I did the menu plan. I made the mistake if asking the boys (all three of them!) for their requests:
          - quesadilla
          - tacos
          - pizza
          - katsu-don
          - fried rice

Hmm...... so the menu plan ended up like this:


Sunday - Risotto
Monday - Chicken Pie
Tuesday - Lasagne
Wednesday - Fried rice
Thursday - Quesadilla

What we ended up eating?


Sunday - Risotto (proscuitto, pea & porcini)
Monday - Chicken & vege Pie
Tuesday - Lasagne
Wednesday - Takeaway chinese
Thursday - Leftover lasagne

Not too bad....and the only real bad as the takeaway but we supplemented with some of our own veg (I was so flat out with work and lists and getting everyone ready for weekends etc that I just did not have the head space to even think about dinner!)

How has you week been?

xSal


Super quick midweek meal

So this week I failed to do a menu plan. Bad bad me...

My lovely hubby did the grocery shop on the weekend (I am calling him the lovely hubby in the hope that he reads this and is encouraged to shop more often!) and I have been trying to wing it with a little stress and moderate success. We have come to the end of the week and we both get home late from work with no meal planned. Noooo!

So I pulled together this beauty. It ticked all the boxes: loved by the kids - tick; some vegetable goodness included - tick; super quick and easy - tick tick.


All you need is:
Garlic
Olive Oil
Chilli
Broccoli
Large tin of tuna
Pasta

Put a large glug  of olive oil in a medium sized fry pan (enough to cover the base). Add a clove or two of chopped garlic and a chopped chilli. Simmer on really low while you get the other stuff ready.
Cook the pasta (any old type) according to instructions. 
Chop a head of broccoli and drain your tin of tuna. 
Once the pasta has cooked leave it to drain in a colander. Meanwhile, turn the heat up on your oil to med-high. Add the broccoli, tuna and some salt and pepper and put a lid on. Cook for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally. Add the drained pasta, and lashings of really good grated parmesan cheese.


Serve up and devour!
xS





Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A bit of nostalgia

Does anyone remember these little beauties?


Yup - they are Jelly tots. I saw these in the supermarket yesterday (in the "international" section!) and they took me back - and of course I had to buy a couple of bags.

When Em & I were in our 20's we LOVED these things. You used to be able to buy a largish bag from the supermarket and we'd fill up a jar with them and just munch on them whenever we wanted a sweet treat. Teeny little jubes with just the right amount of chewy-ness.

Now when I buy them i have to hide them. From the kids. They are my secret little treat! I still love them just as much as I used to.

Do you remember these? What was your have treat?

xSal

Monday, November 17, 2014

Super Snack


Yes, moderately heathy but also a treat. Not that much Nutella goes onto the apple but enough to  make the kids feel like they are being a bit 'naughty' - and it tastes delicious! Especially when you still love to eat this stuff by the spoonful.

What's your yummy and easy treat?

XSal

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nothing

I have nothing.

Its been a crazy week of sick kids, hospital visits, home from work with both kids sick, not to mention lots of stuff going on at work blah blah.

Watch this space...

BUT...to make things nice I am going to plug a gorgeous friend of mine.

Want flowers? AMAZEBALLS ones?

See Rebecca at Petal and Pod.

The best flowers you will ever have. They make me happy just by looking at my wedding photos and remember what a great job she did!




xS




Friday, November 14, 2014

When was the last time you tried......


Hands up if you remember the Jacket-Potato fast-food shops of the mid eighties? There was one up the road from us called "King of Spuds". They would have come close in number to rival the abundance of the frozen yogurt shops of today (well, maybe not, but you get my drift!)

With Dinner fatigue setting in fast around here, we have been reverting to some classic "retro" numbers.....nachos, chicken burgers and yes, jacket potatoes.

The Potatoes are a super simple meal and have been going down a treat. Shown here is the "mexican" version, but any savoury mince (such as left over bolognese) will work....add some cheese and avo and you've bumped up the diary and green veg (*cough* i know that technically, avocado is a fruit....but around here, it gets veggi points!) - winner!

Choose 1 to 2 larger potatoes per person, and give them a quick scrub.
Jab each one a few times with a wooden skewer
Lay on a baking tray, give a quick coat of olive oil, and some salt & pepper
Bake in a 180 to 200c oven for aprox 1 hour (or until skewer slides easily into potato)

To serve, slice length ways down top, and across ways a couple of times and press open with a fork, and add toppings of choice - yum!

Happy Fridays - here's to the weekend! xE




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dinner Fatigue


Just the other day, I mentioned lunch-box fatigue.

Well, to be honest, I find that Lunch-box fatigue is usually followed pretty quickly (if in fact, they don't arrive together, hand in hand, all friendly like) by dinner fatigue.

What do you mean you are hungry? Do I r.e.a.l.l.y have to feed you....again? wow

Dinner fatigue - when you really are just completely over the daily grind and the fact the little (even medium, or heading for full-sized) people have to eat....several.times.a.day. wow

About now, our dinner options tend to turn a tad retro.....nachos, chicken burgers, jacket potatoes with toppings-a-kimbo, roast chook.....anything that gets us through with the least amount of grumbly tummies and whingey boys.

What are your go to i-just-can't-think-about-dinner-ever-again options? How do you get through the tail end of the year?
 xE

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How does your garden grow?


We have a planter box (actually, an old concrete laundry sink!) out on the back deck that we use to grow herbs in - I love a good fresh herb or two (and they are so ouchy exy at the supermarket!) but lately, we have also taken to planting something else.....

See the bright green bit on the bottom right of the pic - well, that is a "living lettuce" from the supermarket (you know the ones, they have the root ball still attached....something a friend of mine refers to as the "skanky-root-hanging-stuff"...nice), well did you know that if, after using the majority of the leaves, you re-plant them, they can kick off and keep growing!

We have about an 80% success rate, and you can get about another 6 weeks and at times another 2 to 3 lots of re-growth out of them - winner!! xE

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lunchbox Fatigue


For me, mid-November is around the time that s.e.r.i.o.u.s. lunch box fatigue sets in (I did a quick facebook/instagram post about this last week).

I had to sit down for a little while when I recently realised that, as the boys went to a pre-school that required them to bring their lunch, I am currently at 11 years of school lunches......and looking down the barrel of another 10.

Yep - that will total 21 years in all.

It is this time of the year that all the inspiration has been used up (totally, totally kaput) and it is all I can do to spread a bit of Vegemite on a friggin corn thin and say "good luck to you all!".

Over the last week or two, as I started to feel the fatigue setting in, I have tried to counter it. This year, I have gone down the organised route. I prep as much as possible on a Sunday and have it all in the fridge, ready to go. That way, there is the least amount of time spent, both making decisions and assembling in the morning.

This has involved frozen smoothy pouches, fruit bags, banana cake or muffins, along with my brand-new creation - Spaghetti Cups.

Totally not a new idea and inspired by Son #1 talking about this amazing "spaghetti slice thing" that one of his friends brought to school, the cups are basically a fantastic way to use up any left over spaghetti.

I mix cold spaghetti with some cooked bacon & onion, chopped parsley, tomato paste and cheese, with salt & pepper to taste. (I have found that on the cheese front, a combo of Parmesan & shredded mozzarella works well)

Once all ingredients are combined, divide into a non-stick muffin pan (make sure you press it/pack it in to make quite a firm "cup" - you do get some shrinkage during the cooking).

Cook in a 180/200c oven for aprox 20 mins, or until golden on top.

Allow to cool fully in the muffin pan, then store in the fridge. Winner!
xE




Saturday, November 8, 2014

Blog Love

I have just discovered a new blog. Well the blog itself isn't new, I am just new to it. I cant wait to scroll through looking at the mouth watering photos!

The Sugar Hit. Wow...some amazing recipes.

I cant wait to try this one - Manchego Croquetas
(this picture is from The Sugar Hit - not one of my own. I hope mine look like this!)

What blogs to you love to read?

xS



Friday, November 7, 2014

Bangkok - Two

This is breakfast. Bangkok Style.

Each morning we wandered down the street to another hotel to eat from their buffet. There was the usual stuff - chopped fruit, cheese and meat platters, the yummiest croissants (flown in from Paris once a week apparently). My fave part was the hot buffet.

There was miso soup with an array of condiments including tofu and pickled vegetables, there was all manner of stir fries with chicken, vegetables and noodles. My favourite was the fried rice and the dumplings. The rice varied each day. The first day it had morsels of fresh crab. Day two was with fried garlic. Day three - with egg, and day 4 with chill peas and bacon. Day 3 was the best, however every morning this was my start to the day (yes mum, I did have fruit also!).

Delicious!

What's your favourite international breakfast?

xS



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

High School

I am soon to become one of them. One of the mothers that have a child in high school. I'm not the first one of my group of friends to reach this milestone, but I cant believe it! Where has that time gone?

I seems like an age since I was in high school and I truly cant remember what we did for lunches in the first few years. I do remember hitting the local bakery of a morning for a freshly baked and still warm cheese and bacon roll. I vaguely remember getting things from the canteen...but lunch boxes?

What do high school kids do these days? Do they all have 'swag' (apparently means cool) lunchboxes packed with snacks and sambos? Do they just take a sandwich wrapped in a brown paper bag that they can ever so coolly take out and munch on while wandering the playground?

E's discovery of the pouches will be a good start as J loves to whip up a smoothie. That's where my brain stops. I have visions of the poor guy turning up on his first day of high school with the most uncool lunch. Oh the SHAME! 

I did quickly have a look on Pinterest and some of the ideas were LUDICROUS. At least for a 12 year old boy.  

So its time for me to reach out to those wise wise women in my group of friends who are already there. At high school. Weathering the lunch box issue!

What do you give your high schooler for lunch?

xS