Monday, February 29, 2016

Oh hey there Monday, it's been so long

How quickly it comes around again - monday, monday monday

With a beautifully hot & sunny weekend to see out summer, Sydney turned it on over the last day or two, and with sun kisses skin we are ready to launch back into the weekly to-and-fro.

On the fridge this week, dinners are looking a little like this:

Pulled Pork Soft Tacos

Golden Dumplings and Noodle Salad

Pasta with Pesto

Chicken and Veggi Pies

hmmmm - tbc - between a late basketball game and swim club race night - am not sure at this point what to feed the troops!

It's a busy week, and as you can see, most of the options that we'll be serving up will either be pre-prepped, are awesome-life-saving-freezer-gems (hello dumplings!) or super quick to throw together. We'll let you know how we go - jump on the Facebook page and let us know what your super-speedy-crazy-week-go-to-life-saver meals are! xxE

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday fabulousness

Figs. Love 'em. As a meal or as dessert.

We are lucky enough to have them in season in these parts, so on the weekend they played a part in a couple of meals.

My absolutely FAVE is figs with prosciutto and goats cheese. So easy and so delicious.

Simply wrap a halved fig in a piece of prosciutto, add a spoonful of goats cheese on top, a sprinkle of pepper then bake in the oven on 180C for about 20 mins. Serve warm with a slosh of a caramelised balsamic.



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hello easy dinners!

So, I am a bit of a control freak. I like to plan my meals as much as possible, but sometimes the wheels fall off - especially when juggling full time work and kids.

In comes Hello Fresh. A friend of mine who is also a crazy busy mum told me about it. I was hesitant at first but thought I'd give it a go.

Wow. I was converted. On weeks when I am flat stick, or completely unorganised, this is a gem. Three meals a week for four people. You get the ingredients, all lovely and fresh, and the recipes. I still have to cook, but son#1 can make a start when he gets home from school. To date I have not had a bad meal. Some need a boost of a little extra veg, but I just use what I have lying around the house.

They also do fruit boxes. Really great value for $24.

Give it a try. Just remember that it is a rolling subscription so remember to pause your meals if you are under control that week!! Last week one of the meals was a lamb burger. Lots of veg, delicious rolls and a yoghurty dollop. What's not to love?


Monday, February 22, 2016

Lists - a must!

Lists. I love them. Well, I NEED them in order to stay sane and keep all those balls up in the air.

I have my shopping lists, my weekly meal plan lists, the kids have daily lists of what needs to be done. When I go away I do a list of meals that are in the freezer for my husband as well as a list of all the activities that the kids do on each day.

Recently we went camping for a long weekend. I had three lists! Although the boys really are old enough to sort themselves out, for my own piece of mind I did them a list of things to pack. Just didnt want to deal with the headache of "I didnt pack...". Also things to take and things to buy. One of the joys of camping, we can take loads of stuff from home to empty out those cupboards and freezer.

Do you love lists or are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person? I envy you if you are! I would be insane without my lists!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Recipe Road Test - Donna Hay's Coconut, Chia and Apricot Bliss Balls

So, welcome to Friday morning - well done, you are t.h.i.s. c.l.o.s.e to another week being done & dusted. Ya-bloody-hoo I say (please pardon the fruity friday language).

I thought I would give you a bit of a giggle this morning and share a recipe-road-test.

Donna Hay has been putting out a new quarterly mag called "Light & Fresh", and the latest edition is a cracker!

On an aside, I must say, it has a heap (heap!!) of tasty veggo meals - super handy with H-for-Husband being a card carrying vegetarian (I know, I know...."but he's so tall", "but he's a bloke", all of those comments have been made over the years) it has a ton of awesome looking ideas on the veg front - big tick!

But what caught my eye in a that-looks-quick-and-easy-and-the-kids-might-actually-like-it kind of way, were the Coconut, Chia and Apricot Bliss Balls.

Well - I have to confess, as SonNumberTwo can sniff out a Chai seed at thousand paces (awesome talent, right?)  I judiciously didn't mention that particular ingredient, so Chia aside, I thought, these could be a real winner.

The recipe calls for 1.5 cups of Blanched Almonds, vanilla extract, 1 tbs of coconut oil, 0.25 cup of LSA, 2 tbs of White Chia, 1 cup desiccated Coconut (half for mixing/half for rolling) and 1.5 cups of whole dried apricots.

A quick look in the cupboard said I only needed to purchase the Almonds - happy days.

Now, when I popped into the supermarket, while wandering the aisles, I found Almond Meal on sale - all good right? all the ingredients get whacked into a food processor and whizzed up together, so, awesome, Almond Meal = super good.

Well, as it turns out - no, not really.

I placed all the ingredients in said food processor (well, "all" the ingredients means that once home, I actually discovered I only had HALF the required amount of Apricots - so I whacked in some dates on the fly) and hit the button..........and ended up with a food processors worth of ingredients impersonating bread crumbs - there was no "until the mixture comes together" going of here.

I tried adding a bit more coconut oil.....but nope, still no dice.


So I tried a spoon full of peanut butter (currently have about 5kgs of it in the pantry - what can I say - it was on sale) and you know what.....the mix started to look less like small bread crumbs, and more like bigger clumps of bread crumbs - result! So I kept chucking in more peanut butter until the mixture finally "came together" - yay!

I rolled mixture into balls and coated with coconut and presto Coconut, Chia, Apricot, Date and Peanut butter balls!

And have to say - went down OK!

SonNumberOne called them "strangely moreish"

SonNumberThree said "yeah - I ate them"

and SonNumberTwo stalked in the door and said "they had Chai seeds in them, didn't they?"


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Watermelon Love

A few days ago, my dear middle son decided he wanted to make some Watermelon Iced tea.

Like, he REALLY wanted to make some Watermelon Iced Tea.

I am not sure what sparked this obsession, but it became all he talked about. He found a recipe, tracked down the ingredients and whooshka, just like that, we were off!

I have to say, as far as a "cooking" project, it was a super easy process, with a super tasty outcome.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Meal planning Monday - the Flat Stick version

Up and at it peeps - we are in for a busy one this week - it's go go go.

The wheels fell off the meal plan train last week - not sure what happened, but come Thursday morning, the school lunch cupboard was bare and there was nerry a celery stick for afternoon tea - sometimes, the food just goes!

This week, things are shaping up a little like this:

Breakfast - Apricots with Yogurt, and Hot Cross Buns
Dinner - Baked Potatos

Breakfast - Avo on Toast
Dinner - Crustini Platter

Breakfast - Smoothie
Dinner - Steak Sandwiches

Breakfast - Egg and Ham warps
Dinner - Tomato amd Rice Soup

Breakfast - Toast
Dinner - Japanese Curry

The inspiration for the Crustini platter on Tuesday night came from a quick flick through my Pinterest Board Food Love - and as for a summer dinner option, I have my fingers crossed it will be a winner! xE

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cocktail Files - camping style

One thing that is a MUST to take camping in the summer is a large jug. Perfect for making large batches of cocktails!

We recently went up North to Stockton Beach for a few days camping  with friends and the weather was delightful. Minty Mojito delightful (rum, lemonade, mint and lime....delish!)


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Breakfast of champions!

Breakfast can be a rush in our part of the world (well, our house at least). Its such a rush to get ready, kids wrangled, lunch made and out of the house by 7.30am some mornings. 

To top it off the teenager (Son#1) isn't much of a breakfast person. It usually takes him having been awake for some time before he wants to eat. I don't like him walking out the door though without having something in his belly as its then ages before recess.

Hey presto breakfast smoothie. He is happy to guzzle a glass of this goodness, so I am happy! All the ingredients just blitzed up in the blender.

Adding one weet-bix makes me feel as if there is some proper tummy-filling energy-giving goodness in there. I sometimes substitute half of the regular milk for almond milk just to mix it up a bit. Also a mix of berries or whatever we have in the freezer. natural yoghurt is a must as is a spoonful of lovely Aussie honey!

Go for it!


Monday, February 8, 2016

The day I went on strike

Things are pretty hectic in this neck of the woods at the moment. Getting kids back into school routines, encouraging son # 2 to catch the bus, plus there is LOADS going on at work at the moment.

On the weekend I had a bit of a cook-fest. Made some of my own strawberry straps, some bread, and also some yummy mini macaroni cheese cups with ham and capsicum. Yum, right? 

So, for lunch the other day it was three little mac & cheese cups (made in a mini-muffin tin, so teeny). Son # 2 comes home with NOT A NIBBLE taken from them. 

So I lost it. Told them I wasn't bothering to cook dinner that night (you should have seen the shocked look).

However Son#1 came to the rescue and cooked it for me, bless! Boiled the eggs, chopped the veg, displayed it beautifully on the plate.

I give you Gado Gado our way made by my lovely teen. Served with some leftover marinated grilled chicken on the side.

Do your kids like to cook?


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Meal Planning - the flexi version

One of the reasons we are fans of meal planning around these parts, is that a good plan makes a busy week run pretty smoothly, the wheels stay on the tracks, everyone knows what is happening and to put it happens.

Another reason we are fans of meal planning, is that on those weeks where the wheels aren't gripping quite as well as they know the ones - where a sneaky after school sports sessions pops up and says "Boo" (*cough* such as cricket training did for me last week)...a meal plan means that you have a little room to move - if one meal needs to slide from Tuesday to Thursday, because actually, you aren't going to have the time you thought, to make that Spinach Pie you had planned, hey you know what, you have all the ingredients for the Caesar Salad, so lets just do that tonight.

A plan is just that - a plan, with a bit of flex and give in it - a plan that helps you, not hinders or makes things feel harder.

Our week this week was just one of these - one with a bit of flex and give, a bit of shimmy and shake - but hey, we got to the other end - heres to the weekend Lovelies - enjoy! xE

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Garden Joy

Gardening. Its not really my thing. Its not that I have a "black thumb" as such, its just that growing stuff isn't on my radar. Because Hubby can. He plants stuff and it grows. Eggplants, lettuce, chilli, cucumber, name rocks. Me: I plant things. Thats it...! Currently, like Em, we have a great tomato crop at the moment, not to mention the basil, oregano and thyme.

We had a blackout the other day due to some nasty storms that rocked our area (more than one blackout actually but one we were asleep for and the other we went out for!). It was a Friday night so I didn't have much planned anyway. So bring on bruschetta!

Welcome to our tommy's and basil! I just some chopped tomato, tore up the basil and crumbled some fetta cheese onto some slices of sourdough (sorry, yes I had some in the freezer). A drizzle of Pukara Estate Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar just finished it off.

Yum. Simple and tasty. We just added a bit of whatever else we had in the fridge (pickles, ham, cheddar) and had a great candlelit picnic. 

A perfect Friday night easy dinner.

What do you have as your go to easy throw together?


Monday, February 1, 2016

Welcome to 2016 - Alphabet style!

Right then.
Everyone back at work? All small peeps back to school? Sport started back up again? Found your first piece of abandoned fruit at the bottom of the school bag yet?

Yes, that's right, 2016 is up and running - big time (hey, January has already disappeared in a blur, we are kicking of February people!).

The work/school/life balance has shifted a little around these parts - we are now the proud owners of 2 High-Schoolers (who, at the moment, seem to be taller every morning they get out of bed), and one (slightly cranky, but still oh so lovable) primary school guy. It's a little bit of a "two speed" vibe - embracing burgeoning independence, with still providing support and guidance - stepping through Year Four projects, while balance the time management needed for a Year 7 Newby, all the while offering the quiet hand of "you can do it, off you go" that is Year Nine & the world of elective subjects.

Time management (as ever!) is crucial for keeping the wheels turning and everyone getting where they need to be, wearing what they need to be wearing, and eating what they need to be eating.

This is what Week 1 of Meal Planning 2016 looks like:

Breakfast - Omelettes
Dinner - Chicken Stir Fry with Cucumber and Cashew Nuts

Breakfast - Fruit Toast with Banana & Ricotta
Dinner - Stuffed Pasta Shells

Breakfast - Boiled Eggs with Soldiers
Dinner - Caesar Salad

Breakfast - Pizza English Muffin Toasties
Dinner - Spinach Pie

Breakfast - Baked Eggs
Dinner - Tacos

Wish us luck - as we are wishing you,
Lets go 2016, I have a good feeling about you!