19 August 2014

New Crochet Blankets - another WIP



Some random colour choices and progress. Always with the granny squares!


And the sun has finally started to shine, for a couple of days at least! 
x

18 August 2014

New Crochet Blanket Inspirations

I've decided to start a couple more blankets. For the boys, so I'm hoping to finish them before they go into big beds. (See, a deadline! That'll help with my blanket problem!)

Here is what I've found inspiring so far... Thank you Pinterest!





16 August 2014

Bathroom Reno! Week 1

So, this is finally happening!
Dust. Dirt. Open doors. Loud banging. Walls being knocked down. Walls being built. Tiles going up.
Most important, things being waterproofed and moldy walls going away for good!
Exciting!
And somehow through it all - the boys are napping through like nothing is happening! Fingers crossed that continues..

14 August 2014

Muesli Bars with Coconut Oil {Kid Cooking}

These are something I make quite often. I found the original recipe here when I was just starting out Baby Led Weaning and solids with the boys. They are nice little afternoon tea snacks and yes, there is a bit of sugar in them, it's not ALL bad. Besides, I think Jacob and I eat most of them! 

The last batch of these I made, I had some handsome help in the kitchen! 

Here is our latest version of them!

The Always Keen to Help Hendrik. 
Preheat your oven to 180C and line a baking tray, 20x25cm, with parchment paper.

Place all of the dry ingredients into a big bowl and mix to combine. The key is to have 3 cups of a mix of oats, fruit, nuts etc. We use our favourite muesli from Moore Wilson's that has oats, almonds, papaya, raisins, and such. Then we add in anything else we like. 

Melt the coconut oil and golden syrup, it doesn't combine as well as butter, but still does the trick in the long run. 

Pour the syrup mixture into the dry bits bowl and stir to combine. Pour it all into the baking tray and pop in the oven. 

Bake for about 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely before cutting. This is the hardest part, especially if Jacob's around to sneak a few nibbles off.

We leave it in a airtight container in the pantry, I wouldn't know HOW long it would last, as it's usually gone in a couple of days. 

H & W proud of their efforts.




print recipe

Muesli Bars with Coconut Oil
Ingredients
  • 125 grams coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats, or we use our favourite muesli
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C and line a baking tray, 20x25cm, with parchment paper. 
  2. Place all of the dry ingredients into a big bowl and mix to combine. 
  3. Melt the coconut oil and golden syrup in a saucepan. 
  4. Pour the syrup mixture into the dry bits bowl and stir to combine. 
  5. Pour it all into the baking tray and press it down and into the corners of the tray and pop in the oven. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. 
  7. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely before cutting.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:

13 August 2014

Spring...... Where are you!?

Ok. Seriously. Winter. Go Away!

Everyone is sick. Snotty noses. There is snot everywhere. On my clothes. On the boys bedding. On the couch. On pillows. So gross!

We are ready for warmth.
Sunny days.
New plants to go into the garden.
Come on already!!!




These were all taken on a rare day the temp was above 10C. I think it was 13C!!! Hallelujah! But of course, this was followed by days of 3-4C, wind, hail, rain. What I wouldn't give to let the boys run around outside in tshirts and no gumboots!

Soon. Sooooooooon!!!

11 August 2014

Couscous Fritters {Leftover Makeovers}

I'm discovering a passion for using leftovers. Even when I am cooking something, I am thinking about what I'll be able to make that last uneaten portion into. Frugality at it's best I like to think. 

Last week, Jacob made some lamb and couscous for dinner. The lamb was perfect. So was the couscous. But there was a lot of it! He had made it with a mix of onions, garlic, silverbeet and currants. So yummy!

The next day, I had over a cup leftover in the fridge. So, I did what people tend to do with quinoa and such, Fritters!
The boy friendly lunch.
Couscous Fritters, baby cos lettuce with carrot 'slaw' and blackcurrant jam for dipping.
If you know how to make fritters, you can really make them from anything. Potatoes, kumara, mixed veggies, lentils, beans beans and more beans. It's all a bit to easy not to try. 

First, whisk the egg then mix in your couscous. Add in the breadcrumbs slowly, a little at a time and mix. You may need less or more depending on the texture of the couscous and what is in it already if you are using leftovers. 


Add in the feta and let it crumble a bit and keep some pretty chunky. I love the texture of big bits of melted feta. Next, you want to be able to make them into balls with your hands and have them stay together. If this isn't happening and it's still too wet, add more breadcrumbs.


Heat up the pan with a bit of oil. I used regular canola oil for this one, but tend to do grapeseed oil when frying. Pop them into the pan and let them brown a little bit and then turn them and flatten a bit with a fork or a spatula. 


They should be browned a bit on each side, it's just the egg you need to make sure cooks through, so it usually won't take any longer than 4-5 minutes on each side. 

Drain them on a paper towel and serve 'em up! I was secretly hoping the boys wouldn't like them so I could have the whole lot, but no such luck. They were, sadly, a hit. 



print recipe

Couscous Fritters
Ingredients
  • 250 g (about a cup) cooked couscous, inc any yummy bits and pieces
  • 1/2 to 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2-3 tbsp crumbly feta
  • 1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
Instructions

  1. First, whisk the egg then mix in your couscous. 
  2. Add in the breadcrumbs slowly, a little at a time and mix. You may need less or more depending on the texture of the couscous and what is in it already if you are using leftovers. 
  3. Add in the feta and let it crumble a bit and keep some pretty chunky. 
  4. You want to be able to make them into balls with your hands and have them stay together. If this isn't happening and it's still too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat up the pan with a bit of oil. I used regular canola oil for this one, but tend to do grapeseed oil when frying. Pop them into the pan and let them brown a little bit and then turn them and flatten a bit with a fork or a spatula. 
  6. They should be browned a bit on each side, it's just the egg you need to make sure cooks through, so it usually won't take any longer than 4-5 minutes on each side. 
  7.  Drain them on a paper towel and serve 'em up!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: approx 8 fritters

10 August 2014

Boy-Made Wrapping Paper {Kid Crafts}

We are all about exploiting our children for cheap labour. Willem has taken on the role Lead Laundry Assistant. Most mornings after breakfast, he can be found pulling laundry from the hamper and putting it into the washing machine. He has to have some training in wools vs cotton and darks vs lights, but with time, no problem. Hendrik is now the Lower Dishdrawer Project Manager. If it is clean, those dishes come flying into my hands for putting away faster than anything. He even locks it when it's empty. 

So, it's no surprise that when it comes to crafting time, it's easy to get some good work out of them. Heheheee, ok seriously though. I think some of the best gifts are wrapped with love. Homemade wrapping. Scribbles and paint globs that you can't bear to throw away! And all of those doodles get sent to friends and family with pride and love..

We will be starting our Christmas wrapping paper soon and will keep you posted on that, but here is some that the boys made for their cousin..


Super cute. Super sweet.

09 August 2014

A Week of Toddler Lunches

I wanted to document what we are having for lunch lately. It's been a pretty awesome change over the last year. There is something so cool about when your kids start eating "people" food. Or grown up food. Or at least a variation of it. Here is what they had last week ...

Tuna Melt on Vogel's Bread with baby cos and capsicum.
Hard boiled egg, hummus, carrot and capsicum, and an apple.
Couscous Fritters, baby cos lettuce and carrot 'slaw' with balsamic, and blackcurrant jam
Curry Kumara Puffs, pear, mixed beans and lettuce
*Mousetraps, mandarin, edamame, and mixed beans
Please note the *. This was a very, very special meal. The mousetraps were made by the boys. Mostly. They spread the vegemite on the bread with actual knives, placed the cheese on top, and only ate a few bits of it. They were so interested and excited when I took them out of the oven! It made my day! Also, this was their first day with edamame in their pods. They loved it! It was a bit of a challenge at first, but even today, Willem had the technique down pat! Totally aced it! 

I love that they are so keen to help and watch what is going on in the kitchen. I never remember being that excited, but then again, when I met met Jacob, the only thing I could cook was pasta and red sauce. True story. 

The more I involve them, the more interested they are. The mousetrap making was just awesome to watch. They are naturals in the kitchen! 

xx

08 August 2014

Crocheting again...

Oh yes. My wool problem has returned. I've taken to making smaller things lately... yes, my five year blanket is still going. Sad. But true.

In the past, I've gone into projects without a means to an end or without direction or an end date. So now, I like to think I've learned from my mistakes. I finished a pillow cover, a hot water bottle cover and two hats for the boys in a few weeks. It's a record for me!


The rainbow pillow was something that I had been wanting to make for a long time. I had drawn out the colour pattern ages ago and originally wanted to make a blanket, but we all know how blankets end... Or don't end... So a pillow it is. 

The hottie cover was without a pattern too. And noticeably so. But it serves it's purpose and keep my hottie hot until the late morning. Heavenly.


The hats were from a pattern (micahmakes.com). And thank goodness. While Willem's (the blue one) is slightly small, I'll easily be able to make another. 

It feels good to actually finish some crochet projects. It makes me want to do some more smaller pieces, but what to do...?

What are you working on this weekend?

xx

04 August 2014

Fish Fingers and Trying Fighting School Holiday Boredom....

This past school holidays were slowly driving me a bit mental. It rained. It was cold. There were next to no playgroups and it was too crappy to go out anyway. So what did we do?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Made Fish Fingers. 

I know. I know. 

Its the bane of so many mum's existence. But honestly, we never have them! So, it quite was a treat! 

We used about 400 grams of fish (I think it was groper) cut into easy to manage strips. 
Put it into a bag with 1/2 cup of flour. Shake it baby! (the boys loved this for about 5 seconds)
In a bowl, I combined equal parts shredded coconut and panko breadcrumbs with a little salt and pepper. Then (without egg, crazy I know!) put the coated fish into the coconut mixture. Press them in thoroughly and make sure it all sticks. It's easiest to do this in batches. Then in a shallow fry pan using grapeseed oil, fry them up until they are golden brown and cooked through. Drain on a towel and squeeze a bit of lime, good to go!


And while this was all going on, I was baking some chips in the oven and making some of my favourite tartar sauce via my childhood memory. I felt like a true mum (or Mom) when I made that. 
Mayo. Relish. Stir. 
It brought a tear to my eye and made desperately miss my Mom back in the states. 
It was a total 80's flashback lunch for me.
And the boys loved it. Especially the tartar sauce. 




Coconut Fish Fingers with Mom's Old School Tartar Sauce


Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Ingredients
  • 400 grams Groper (or any other hardy fish)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • approx 1/3 cup grapeseed oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp mayonaisse
  • 2 tbsp gherkin relish
  • a squeeze of lime
Cooking Directions
  1. Cut the fish into easy to manage strips.
  2. Put the fish strips into a bag with 1/2 cup of flour. Shake shake shake!
  3. In a bowl, combine the coconut and panko breadcrumbs with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Then put the coated fish into the coconut mixture.
  5. Press them in thoroughly and make sure it all sticks. It's easiest to do this in batches.
  6. In a shallow fry pan using grapeseed oil, fry them up until they are golden brown and cooked through.
  7. Drain on a towel and squeeze a bit of lime, good to go!
  8. Mix the mayo and relish together and serve on the side for yummy dipping action.



xx

02 August 2014

Curry Kumara Puffs - More Freezer Fare! {Leftover Makeovers}

"Snacks!" demanded two crazy wee boys. "Snacks!!!" they yelled again. It was actually time for lunch, but they never yell for lunch. Snack. Snack. Snack! Always a snack. And in my head, I hear "Milk! Milk for the morning cake!" Ugh. Too many kids books!

For these two little men, food is something that must be consumed at all times. There is always a cracker stashed somewhere in the house. Raisins find their way out of books and into their mouths if they are denied a fourth helping of dates. I know they are growing boys (growing like mushrooms according to our 90 year old neighbour) but the consumption levels are incredible. "Astounding!" said the Gruffalo.

I hate throwing away food, and luckily most days there is little that goes to waste. But once in the while, there is a bit of leftover curry or bolognese or roasted potatoes. They get thrown in the fridge or the freezer for tomorrow's lunch for me or... A leftover makeover! (Que the cheezy music and the fancy intro.)


So. Seriously. Veggie Korma. What to do, what to do... Pasties. Pies. Puffs. Samosas. Call them what you want. Well, this version, we call them Curry Kumara Puffs. There was maybe about a half-cup to a cup of korma left over from the night before. So, hello kumara!


We baked a couple kumara (or you can use regular sweet potato, or not sweet potato) for an hour and then let them cool down. You could peel and cook them in a pot I guess, but baking them is a nice "leave it and play with the boys" way of cooking. Once they are cooled, take off the skins and mash them all together with your leftover korma.


While this was tasty on its own, don't eat it all!
Next, roll out some shortcut pastry. You can use the store bought stuff, which I did here, or you can easily make your own. Roll it out until you have a nice thickness, about 5mm or so. Then using a bowl or a big cup that is about 10-12 cm in diameter, trace or press through the pastry to make your circles. Keep doing this and then re-rolling until you've used all of you pastry. 

Now - fill it! I used about a tablespoon and a half in each pastry circle, but use your best judgement with the amount the leftovers you have. Plop it on one half of the pastry and then with a wet finger, dampen the edges of the circles. Carefully fold over and press the edges together. I used a fork to make some silly edges as you can see, but they barely ended up noticable once they were cooked. 


Brush them with some beaten egg and put them into a preheated oven, 200C for about 25 minutes or so. 



Pretty awesome. I put them in the freezer on the baking tray after they cooled a bit. After they were nicely frozen, I then put them into a freezer bag. The boys love them. I love them. Before I go to bed, I take a few out of the freezer, leave them in the fridge and after we get back from an outing before lunch, I put them under the grill for about 15 minutes to warm them through. 

Pretty damn tasty. But I'm a sure for carbs and fluffy crispy pastry!

xx

Big Batch Cooking... What took me so long?!


Honestly! What the hell!?

I have spent the last few months looking up all these big batch recipes online and wanting to join up on some cooking groups and such... But I was going about it all wrong!

Early last week, I decided to do a triple batch of the old standby tuna casserole recipe. Yes, those are peas in there, old standby recipe thank you to my dad. After no extra energy wasted I had three dinners in the time it took to do one. I popped one in the fridge for later and the other two in the freezer. 

Last night was the moment of truth. I took out one the freezer meals to thaw in the fridge overnight, and had pretty much the whole afternoon naptime to myself. Tidy up, vacuum, dishes, and finally sit down to finish up some crocheting. I'm such a nana, I know. 

Dinner time came, put the thawed meal into the oven, made a quick salad and that was it. Brilliant! Too easy!

I know a lot of people do this and have been doing this for ages, but it was such a lovely break for me to have. And I was all concerned about trying all these new recipes, when really, it was taking something I know how to make in my sleep and just making it bigger, doubled or triple, maybe even quadrupled! Wooooooo!

I have a strange suspicion that I made start secretly saving for a deep freezer in my piggy bank... Just saying...

Happy Weekend!!!
xx


25 July 2014

Strange food requests and so many new words!

The boys are getting more and more vocal everyday.

"Please"

"Thank you"

"Curry puff"

"Proper fluffy please" (Hendrik)

And I ask "What veggie would you like for lunch?" Willem says, "Lettuce please."

19 months. Crazy.

But I am shocked and amazed that somehow they have taken to eating salad! And requesting it on a regular basis. It's probably just a phase and they will hate it next week. But still pretty cool...

 

 

27 June 2014

My future Edward Hopper and René Magritte

After struggling with the idea of managing my twins boys with paint, I finally was able to get the boys painting! I may have cried a wee bit :)

My goodness. I was amazed. They LOVED IT! Really LOVED IT! Hendrik was so upset when the session was over. LOVE IT! Seriously, they took to it like a fish to water... 

We used a homemade milk-based paint that I found here.

Basically, it's sweetened condensed milk and food colouring. That's it, easy as. As the boys still put everything in their mouths, it was important to be an 'edible' recipe. Henk wasn't into it. Willem didn't mind the taste. But it was rather tasty ;) After using it though, I think I need to make a version that doesn't take 4 days to dry! And it's so sticky! But mission accomplished. The boys are painting. I'm a happy happy mum.



Happy Friday!
Enjoy the weekend! 
xoxo





Persimmon Bundt Cake (and an almost Beetroot Gnocchi.)

The last few weeks have been a bit crazy.
Crazy running and jumping boys.
Me with food poisoning. Bad enough to send me to the doctor finally...
J working multiple weekend nights in a row.
We all need a break.

On top of trying to stay on top of life, I've been trying new recipes here and there... One still needing a bit of work is Beetroot Gnocchi, or rather I have a boatload of leftover roast veggie-gnocchi. They were ok. But just ok. I'm still working on those. I'll get there damn it!


But this one was a winner! We had a few persimmon kicking around in the fridge recently and while I was thinking of a way to use them as a chutney or something, I ended busting out the old bundt cake mould. I hadn't used it in ages and they always make some pretty cakes. I need to start using them more often. 

So this treat was first found here.


I made it minus the currants, which I just forgot (that happens a lot lately, they were sitting on the bench and all! Ugh.) and minus the nuts as you never know who might have a nut allergy these days. 

It's a pretty basic recipe really. Very similar to a pumpkin cake which is always a happy treat for me!

xoxo

26 June 2014

Some new adventures...


The Potty. Well, potties. I can't believe how eager they are to use them. We're only starting out and I'm not putting any pressure on them right now. But both of the boys are telling me when they need to poo and potty, so I thought we'd give it a go! Not too bad so far. They are more into washing their hands after and singing songs while sitting there... Pretty damn funny! 


And yes. New ouchies. *sigh* This we had to put a plaster on Willem's toe from a really bad scrape. And later in the morning, Henk's forehead decided to meet the edge of the coffee table. Within ten minutes of cuddles and drinks of water, we was back to bouncing on the couch and reading books. 

Ugh. 

This is what being a mum of boys is all about huh? 

x

*ps
Sorry for the icky iPhone pics. :P 

06 June 2014

A plastic-free life...

Is it possible?

It's something that I would love to achieve. Last week I realised how much our recycling had gone down. We recently started getting raw milk which is delivered in a 10L bucket that gets sent back to the farm every week. And we keep our milk in big glass 2.2L jugs in the fridge.

So that and getting the boys off formula recently (yaaayaayyyyy!) has cut down our fortnightly plastic/metal/paper recycling to one bag instead of two! That's pretty massive really.

But the question I have at the moment, plastic bags... The ones we do get from the shop are strictly used for rubbish. It seems sort of pointless to have my green bags with me everywhere if I'm still going to need a couple plastic shopping bags anyway! It's a stupid cycle that we need to break. It's the fact of the matter that they are STILL going into landfills. Frustrating!

We compost, we recycle, we try and avoid excess packaging, so that's all working. But we still have rubbish.

Then, I saw this image again recently and I started to wonder...

Yes, she is amazing. Always an idol, but the bin. A newspaper liner? This is what got me thinking. We don't need plastic bags at all... But what's the best way to go about this? Using newspaper and those pesky junk mail flyers to line a bin? A washable cotton liner? Or just go without all together?

What are your thoughts? How can we see an end to it?

X

 

05 June 2014

When toddlers go bad...

Yeah. It's been one of those weeks.


On and off eating.
Clingy.
"Up!"
Nappy rash.
Not napping.
"Up!"
Full on napping. Talking like 2+ hours.
Tantrums.
More not eating.
Cranky.
Cranky.
"Up!"
Cranky.
"Up!"

Teething? Possibly. I hope so.
Growing pains? How can you tell?

Any ideas?
xx