Monday, August 29, 2016

Good morning Monday, nice to see you again


How do you start your day? Are you a breakfast person, or a cup-of-coffee-and-a-snack-at-10am type of person?

I tend to occilate between the two. Of late, I have been on a breakfast jag. And my breakfast of choice reflects my yearning for the warmer days that are just around the corner (yes, bye bye now winter, it's been grand and all, but yep, done now!). I am loving kicking off the day with a fresh crunchy salad (I have been making a large tub of this salad on Sunday, keeping it in the fridge for the week) of fennel, cabbage and zucchini, with a healthy handful of fresh herbs and a good punch of Dukka mix, all topped with a fried egg - a whole bowl of yum.

The fact that I have been so organized on the breakfast front belies the dinner planning, so, currently there is no dinner planning situation. We have fallen off the wagon this week and will be flying by the seat of our pants, at the mercy of the vegetable crisper and pantry shelf.

Wish us luck, happy Monday peeps! xE

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday's fab drink finds!

Oh..its all about the alliteration this week!

Last  week I was reading an article on Champagne Cartel that listed 5 great sparkling wines under $10. You can read it here.  Being a lover of the sparkly stuff, I thought I'd try and make my way through the list to find a good el'cheapo for the Christmas rounds. Not the stuff you'd take to a good friends, but for when the neighbors pop over or the like.

I bought the Wolf Blass Red Label Chardonnay Pinot at my local Dan Murphys for around the $7 mark. Hubby and I carefully cracked it.

Insert drumroll...

Thumbs up from us! It was really lovely for a cheap quaff. Not too dry and not to fruity. Just as the lovely Champagne Dame said!

I cant wait now for the sun to get warmer so I can sit around in my friend's lovely garden, or around by my pool and sip on this yummy bubbly!

S x

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Recipe Road Test Wednesday!

Here on Monday I mentioned a new recipe that son #1 had picked out for our weekly meal plan. It was a five spice chicken number from the ever great Donna Hay.

I have to say it was a hit. Recipe worked out fantastically, and although it took a little time to fry off the chicken in small batches, it was worth it. I served our dish with some quick pickled carrots and some lovely freshly steamed bok choy.

Below is the recipe, what Donna's looked like and what ours looked like. Not bad huh?

Yes. I am being REALLY lazy this week by not typing up the recipe. But hey....whatevs!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Meal Planning

Ho hum...another week rolls by and another weekend of sifting through mags looking for meal inspo for the family for the week. I am ever so slightly off the hook this week with a friend of the Husband coming to stay for a couple of we are going to get takeaway that night. Woo hoo! Some weeks I love the meal planning thing and some weeks I just dont have the mojo....this was a mojo-less week!

Son #1 did help this time though and has picked something out of one of my Donna Hay magazines . So this is what the week is looking like. I will let you know how I go with the new son-chosen looks a winner!

Five spice chicken with crispy noodles (this is the road test for the week!)

Vegetarian lasagne

Maple & seeded mustard glazed pork chops


Prawn & Chorizo pasta

Have a great week!

S x

Friday, August 19, 2016

A sporting we shall go

Oh sport - sport sport sport - I have had no option but to learn to love you in all your synthetic fabric and muddied knee goodness.

With three sons, I have lost count of the number of hours spent freezing on the sidelines (including standing in the rain,  hung-over after my Fortieth celebrations, as eldest son was playing in a rep comp on the same weekend).  Rugby, Soccer and AFL, Cricket and Fustal, Basketball and Swimming. We have done it all, and often, between the three, all the same time.

This year though, the shrill of whistles and baying of buzzers has been more common as the eldest two have taken to Basketball with great gusto.

Weekdays are busy, and Friday nights rounded out with Basketball. The closing days of winter are welcoming the pointy end of the rugby season and the littlest is swimming hard, with his eye on the next squad.

But busy boys are happy boys, and busy boys are healthy boys.

Happy Friday peeps, may your weekend be sunny, and your sports fields forgiving.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dinner Ladies - I am in L.O.V.E.

Back on the other side of Winter, I talked about the trying not to buy into the cult of "busy busy busy" and deciding instead to manage the "is" of life by finding solutions and support systems to keep the wheels moving,  just "being" in our week to week schedule dictated by the orbiting lives of five people.

Part of the equation that works for our family is meal planning, and a weekly calendar checking/schedule session. This helps to keep everyone across all the moving parts and has also facilitated the older boys stepping into more direct management of their own schedules.

More recently I have embraced an element of food delivery. Quite of few family and friends have used a couple of "recipe delivery" services such as Marley Spoon or Hello Fresh, but in looking at these, although everyone I knew was happy with everything, with the three boys, and a vegetarian husband, I didn't get the sense they would be a great fit for us.

Quite a few of my friends have been using The Dinner Ladies for a while, and after looking at their site, I decided to give them a go.

I have been doing a delivery every two & a half to three weeks, meaning I usually qualify for free delivery and we end up with a good variety of options in the freezer. On average of late, we have been having an evening meal curtesy of Dinner ladies once, sometimes twice, during the week.

Meat Balls and Butter Chicken, Lasagne and Citrus Brined Roast Chicken, Pizzas and Enchiladas - all have been met with a very positive response and the quality and favour have been fantastic.

Cost wise, on a per-head per meal basis, while not nickle & dime cheap, it works out at a very reasonable price for good quality food, and is alot cheaper than take away. I have been able to work the deliveries into our overall weekly meal budget and have found the time savings alone to be well worth it.

It certainly helps when doing the post-work-sport-and-study-run-around knowing that all you need to do is cook some rice and heat up a curry (or, even better, ask whichever teenager is home to turn on the over, pop in the lasagne and make a salad) and bam, dinner is served.

Thank you Dinner Ladies, thank you!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Meal Planning Monday - The We Need More Food edition

One of the comments that I get (alot) when people learn I have three sons is "Wowzers, how are the food bills?" or the other perenial favourite "jeez, teenage boys can e.a.t, can't they?"

Up until now, I would nod, knowing that we weren't really "there" yet, and smile politely saying "Oh you know, it's not that bad" or " well, they like pasta, and milk, but, yeah, it's not that bad..."

That was up until now.

The 15 year old's consumption has kicked in, and not to left behind, the 13 year old is starting to stretch his wings.

We are going through almost 12 litres of milk a week. 12.
Loaves of bread are sitting between 3 and 4.
We have graduated to the LARGE box of Weetbix.
And I make sure there is always cooked rice in the fridge.

And that is just with the Eldest hitting his stride.....I shudder to think when all three are up and running. It is fair to say that the age of the Appetite has commenced.

To keep the wolves from the door, this is what this week is looking like:

Monday: Dinner Ladies Butter Chicken with Rice

Tuesday: Pasta (and lots of it!)

Wednesday: Slow cooker Brown Sugar Chicken with crunchy salad & cucumber

Thursday: Top your own pizza

Friday: Good luck kids, Mum & Dad are away for the weekend!!

Wednesday night I am trying a new recipe, so I'll report back on that soon (how yummy does it look!) and Monday & Thursday are thanks to The Dinner Ladies.
(Dinner Ladies -  I am in love!)

 Have a great week Peeps!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fun time Friday

Social media. GAH! Sometimes the connectivity of my eldest son drives me mad! We recently spent 4 weeks travelling through parts of Australia, and having zero mobile phone reception was a god send. The teenager was a bit grumpy at first, but both kids handled it really well.

So this brings me to Snapchat. For a laugh, my friend and I have downloaded it to send really silly pictures and videos to each other. The initial response from the teen was (skeptical voice) "YOU'VE got snapchat?" I assured him that it wasn't to stalk his friends, its just for some mummy fun.

Its actually a really good time waster. I had fun in the car the other night while I was waiting for son #2 to finish his class.

So here are some really silly photos of us. Just to have a good giggle on a Friday. Give it a go!!

S x

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Recipe Road Test: The Banana Bread edition

My kids LOVE banana bread. Don't love or even like the fruit in its natural state, but mush them and add eggs, flour, sugar etc and they cant get enough.

When I was hungrily doing the grocery shop on the weekend (never a good idea to shop when you are hungry!), I noticed that Donna Hay had a new packet mix. I tend to not go for the packet mixes too often as I usually have everything in the cupboard anyway, but this was a spelt banana bread without a lot of the nasties in the mix, so thought I'd give it a try.

.Its not a complete mix. You still have to add eggs, the mushed banana and the oil. It was really easy to do, but in my oven took a little more time to bake than it mentioned on the pack. No biggie though - ovens can be tricky at times.

It came out very well (love the smell of cakes cooking!).

It passed the taste test, and now my boys have had thick slices toasted for breakfast for the last couple of mornings.

Yum and a success in my book. Give it a will look like a gourmet cake baker!

S x

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Meal Planning Monday

Yes..another week has rolled around. Our meal planning Monday actually is usually meal planning Saturday. I love sitting down with a selection of cook books and magazines and picking out a couple of recipes. I am my own worst enemy though - hate having the same thing too often!

So, this week's meal plan is looking a little like this:

Pork and noodle soup

Loaded nachos (served in a massive bowl with homemade tortilla chips, topped with grated cheese,  avocado, halved baby tomato, massive dollop of natural yoghurt and coriander)

Slow cooker vege curry

Fish tacos (use Jamie Oliver's fish fingers - they are tops for a super fast meal)

Home made pizza

Its an easy week this week as I ease back into the whole work/kids/life routine after four weeks on the road (more about that later!).

I leave you with a picture of my lovely teenager and his cinnamon doughnut and jam jaffle. Made fresh over the fire in Birdsville. Jury is out on that one!

Have a great week peeps!

S x

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

He's a What? (Part II)

Welcome to "He's a What (Part II)" - you may be familiar with Part I  - so yes, to recap, my name is Emma, I have three sons, and yes, my Husband is a vegetarian.

And before you ask, no, that isn't as tricky as it fact, it barely causes a ruffle (well...maybe only when you are invited to someone house for the first time and ever so occasionally, have the "hey quick heads up, he's a vegetarian.......oh, no, he doesn't eat no, not fish either......just veggies, as in, you know 'vegetarian' " conversation.)

Anyway....back to the main point, did you know this week is Meat-Free-Week (in Australia)?

If you are keen to take part, there are some great ideas here or even here. We end up with the kids having two to three meat free dinners a week and I am probably at about 4 to 5....and Hubs, well, he's round the clock with that vibe. Enjoy! xE

Monday, August 1, 2016

Oh well hello there Monday, fancy seeing you again!

Is it just me? Or is it you too? Have we officially entered the end-of-year-acceleration zone? You know the one...the one where one minute it's almost the end of July and then suddenly you are opening invites to Christmas Parties and trying to juggle school concerts, work lunches and general silly season cupboard stocking.

So in that general vibe, oh hi there August, gosh, it's you again :)

Monday is upon us and that means meal planning. The plan has a slightly slippy feeling this week....I kind of have a handle on everything up until about Thursday afternoon, and then it's getting a bit "lets just roll with it" - fingers crossed everyone gets fed come Saturday!

Monday: Chicken wings with a crunchy side salad

Tuesday: Made-your-own Omelette

Wednesday: Roast Chicken with baby potatoes & broccolini

Thursday: Top-your-own Pizza ( i think......)