Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Monday Meal planning - the Tuesday Edition

Oh glorious, fleeting four day weekend (otherwise known as Easter) you have clicked your heels and disappeared for another year, off into the sunset, to be remembered for almost, oh so almost being able to actually turn to the significant other and ask "what day is it?".

Ours this year was filled with looming high-school assignment deadlines, the eldest Son turning fifteen (gulp....yes, fifteen....if any one can let me know, please & thank you, where, exactly I have placed those 15 years of my life, it would be greatly appreciated) and for the grown-ups, a small binge-session on the latest season of House of Cards (omg....thats all I'll say......o...m....g).

And so Tuesday is upon us (and I just know that I will feel a day behind all week, so hell, lets just call tomorrow Monday shall we?) and the meal plan for dinner looks a little like this....

Monday Tuesday
Chicken, Mushroom & Bacon Stew with Cous Cous

Tuesday Wednesday
Pumpkin Soup

Wednesday Thursday
Stir Fry Beef with Soba Noodles

Thursday Friday

Have a great week you guys! xE

Monday, March 28, 2016

Oh Easter Monday, I do love thee

Oh me oh my, I must confess.....I do think that Easter Monday tops all over long weekend Monday's.

It has an unfair advantage really.....being the FORTH day of a long weekend. 

It is totally, undeniably, utterly delicious.

Enjoy people 😘 we'll be back to regular transmission tomorrow xxE

Friday, March 25, 2016

Radom facts about the lowly hot cross bun.

I love Easter. I love the chocolate and I love the hot cross buns. I love the time spent at home hanging out with friends and family. 

What I do NOT love is the fact that they are in our supermarkets from January 2nd every year.  I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to these – I flat out refuse to buy them until a few days before Easter, and then we all eat them constantly! Toasted with lashings of butter. I also think you have to keep to the fruit ones. Chocolate or plain just do not cut it.

So, in honour of the about-to-happen-hot-cross-bun-bingefest here are a few random factoids to think about while munching on these tasties:

1.  If you share a hot cross bun with someone else, you’re supposedly going to be friends for the year, especially if you say “Half for you and half for me. Between us two shall goodwill be” at the time.

2. They apparently protect against shipwrecks while at sea.

3. And, if you hang one in your kitchen, they’ll protect against fire and make all your breads rise perfectly – so long as each year your replace the bun.

4.   Contrary to popular belief, hot cross buns pre-date Christianity.  During the Pagan festival of 'Eastre', in which they celebrated the goddess Eostre, the Saxon’s  prepared and ate buns marked with a cross.  An ox was sacrificed and the bread was marked twice with the horns.  Interestingly, the word for ‘sacred ox,’ ‘boun’, may be the origin of the term ‘bun.’

5. Eostre, as goddess of the dawn, was associated with spring, fecundity and the joy of new life.  Her light was thought to be carried by hares.

6. Due to their pagan heritage, the Christian church attempted to ban the buns.  However, when they proved too popular the church moved to Christianise them instead.

7. To maintain the religious significance and symbology of hot cross buns with resurrection, Queen Elizabeth I, passed a law during her rein, which only permitted bakers to produce the buns at Easter and Christmas.

8.  Buns baked and served on Good Friday will not become mouldy during the subsequent year.

What are your Easter traditions?


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Awesome prints

I am surrounded by cleverly creative people. Most of my close friends do lovely creative things for work, and in life.

I am not creative. At. All. I love that I can look at these amazing women and really admire the things they do, and be really proud to be one of their clan (and pinch a few ideas too).

One particular friend is an illustrator. She has illustrated a ton of lovely children's books (see some of her work here). My absolute favourite is called Ballroom Bonanza and is all about animals, the alphabet, music and dance. My boys and I have read it again and again and they still love pretending to look for the hidden musical instruments (as they have memorised where they all are!)

Nina has now branched out to some beautifully done prints that she sells via a store on Etsy. They are whimsical bird prints, with some really clever plays on words with some of them.

This one below was perfect for my anniversary!

So check it out. You can find her here.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Dinner of champions

Sometimes life just gets busy. You know? With work, juggling after school activities, shopping, cleaning, not to mention trying to schedule in time to catch up with friends or just do fun things with the family.

The other week it got to dinner time and I realised that I really hadn't had anything planned. The cupboards were fairly bare so very slim pickings on the food front.

So I just let it go, my anal retentiveness that sometimes mean I try and  make too much of a fuss of ensuring there are lots of good things on the plate, and just gave the fellas a random selection of bits and bobs. Fried egg, leftover mash, peas, baked beans, spring rolls and baby tomato (that was their salad).

I have to say it was quite refreshing to just not care too much. I knew that it was better than feeding them KFC or McD's, it certainly wasn't the worst that they could have. They even laughed at me when I told them to "eat their salad" and threw a baby tomato onto their plate.

We get so bogged down sometimes that we forget to have a little fun, and just to relax a little. I need to remind myself more often that basically, my kids eat really really well, so falling off the wagon and having a random meal sometimes is A-OK.

Do it. Its worth it!


Friday, March 18, 2016

The Doingness of Life

One of the things I love about travel is how it opens your eyes to new things, and to new ways of doing things, while all the while also helping to underscore the things that make home "home",  and maybe showing you the small things that you take for granted while in your familiar space.

Travelling through Hong Kong and China are not for the faint hearted, but you can't help but be energized by the shear scale of humanity, and to be amazed by how individual lives are lived, when personal space is at a premium. Small kids sitting under market stalls on the steeply racked streets of Hong Kong, or a high school girl, sitting side saddle on the back of her mothers motor bike, weaving its way through early evening peak hour traffic in Guangzhou. Life, with all its demands and requirements rolls on for everyone, everywhere.

I land home this morning after a whirl wind five days away and can't help but feel that these sorts of trips help to show me how very caught up in the "doingness" of life we get, when kids, work and family are all a significant part of the mix.

All of the scheduling and planning are a vital part of keeping it all on the rails - but it's nice to step away every now and again, and come back with clearer eyes and more appreciation for both the Life and the Process, that is the daily "doingness" with the boys. xE

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Greens anyone?

Now, while my kids aren't too bad on the fresh veg front, they do have a certain blind spot with your basic  green options . Anyone who remembers my discovery of "green rice" will know this isn't a new situation.

Your basics are definitely ok - avocardo, cucumber and lettuce - all a'ok. Just about anything else? Yeah, not so much.

One never fail that works everytime in the fresh factor, is the classic Insalata Caprese - tomato, mozzarella and basil. To get some green-factor going, sometimes we'll add some cucumber for extra crunch, avo also works well  - and hey, the basil counts as "green", right? xE

Monday, March 14, 2016

.........and this is why I need to Meal Plan

Last Monday, Sal shared what meal planning does for her family, so I thought that this Monday, I would expand on this and reflect on how it helps us out, over here in boyxthree land.

I am totally on the same page with Sal on the budget front - a good meal plan definitely helps to keep the budget in line. And a good meal plan also helps things run smoothly, the weekly shop is based around what is going to be cooked and consumed, cutting down on waste and letting everyone know what is coming up on the meal front (it really cuts down on the "whats for dinner?" banter, and complaining!). It can also stop the wheels coming off during those weeks when you get slammed by kids, work, family and life.

We are currently right in the middle of a grand-daddy slam-fest (it's been that crazy, I had to check that we hadn't suddenly been transported to mid November - total slam-o-rama!). I know, I know - everyone is super busy these days and life is crazy crazy, but my head really has been spinning over the last few weeks - Middle guy off onYear 7 camp, Little guy heading to Band camp, but not before an OzTag Grand final and a Zone swimming carnival. The Big guy kicking off a new part-time job, got selected for a third Basketball team (because, well, thats what we need, another set of synthetic sports gear to manage!) and is also feeling the pinch of the new school terms work load. The usual rounds of homework, tutor sessions and music lesson, swimming squad, family birthdays and paper rounds, oh and in amongst all of that, work, washing and family time. (and did I mention a work trip for me to Hong Kong & China? No, I didn't? well yeah....that too).

So meal planing for me means that the wheels stay on, I can work to a plan and I have half a chance of getting at least some of the "Me" things (like this little blog with Sal) squeezed in there as well.

The Meal plan for this week is dictated by ease and the fact that I won't be here - I have wrangled some help for the afternoons in the week that I am away and dinners will look a little like this:

Monday: Lemon and caper Chicken with mash

Tuesday: Spag Bol

Wednesday: Pulled pork soft wraps

Thursday: Home made gnocchi

Friday: Dinner on the fly, before Basketball game

Tuesday & Wednesday are pre-done and in the freezer, Monday and Thursday will be whipped up on the day

Wish us luck! xxE

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sometimes my kid is a little weird

I heartily encourage my boys to try new things. Especially when it comes to food. There are so many amazing things to eat in the world, so many combinations of flavours.

So recently the youngest came up with this concoction for breakfast:

Yes, that IS peanut butter, Vegemite, honey and cinnamon all on one piece of toast, all together. He reckoned it was tops. 

I will take his word for it!

Do your kids like to eat weird combinations?


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Why I need to menu plan

Recently I took some time off work over the school holidays to just hang with my peeps. We hung out with friends, went to the beach, and chilled at home. 

I let EVERYTHING fall by the wayside, especially menu planning! Consequently, I think our grocery bill must have doubled. I found myself at the shops every day to pick up the odd piece of something that I needed to be able to cook dinner or sort lunch. Of course, when shopping for three things, you end up buying about 15. Hence the overspend.

Not only does menu planning keep me moderately sane, its a huge help on the budget. Below is a picture from just a few days! Crazy right?

So....flying by the seat of your pants is fine...as long as you have backups in the freezer. For me anyway. I really dont know how people wing it day to day! Life is a juggle enough as it is with work, school, kids, homework, after school activities and the like.

What about you? Are you a fly by the seat of your pants kinda person or a list maker like I usually am?


Monday, March 7, 2016

Its the simple things

The other week el husbando and I had some time to ourselves - no kids and no chores! I always feel like seafood and champagne on sunny summer days, so I popped up to our local fishmonger and grabbed some super sweet prawns.

Wondering what to do with them, I decided to bring back a fave from the 70's. The good old prawn cocktail. Just some shredded lettuce, sliced avocado and home made seafood sauce. 


Sauce Recipe:
Equal amounts of tomato sauce and whole egg yoghurt
A few splashes of Worcestershire sauce.
Mix and season to taste.

It was just the perfect simple dish to have with a glass of bubbles on a balmy Saturday evening!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Squffins - I think they could be a thing

So....recently, I found myself in a supermarket that I don't usually frequent.

You see, I'm just not a fan.

Not of this supermarket, not of the overall "brand", not of the layout or low ceilings of this particular location - it's just a whole bundle of not-what-i'm looking-for-in-a-supermarket.

What can I say.....it happens.

But, there I was, wondering why, oh, why, I had managed to find myself there....wandering it's incoherent shelf-layout, my shopping list in disarray, shoppers giving me disapproving looks as (apparently) I was going "against the flow" (I would argue this super market  has . no . flow ) when a little gem caught my eye, down on the bottom shelf, across the other side of the aisle, and for the bargain price of $10.....a non-stick, 12 hole, SQUARE muffin tin.

Yes - square.

It's a little bit wrong, but it's a whole lot of right!

I am now a "Squffin" convert....now before you start showing me pictures of square apples and tomatoes (which, for the record, are totally wrong) the square muffin tin is a thing of wonder....lunch box wonder. Things just fit so easily - I have done "Squffins", mini quiches and bacon & egg pies - options are endless!

(I even bought one for my step-sister, whose little boy started school this year - spreading the lunch box love people, spreading . the . love!) xxE