26 December 2013

Merry Merry Christmas one and all!

What a lovely holiday we have had here in Wellington! Christmas Eve day was spent waiting for Jacob to finish a short work day, listening to christmas songs, and reading The Night Before Christmas!

Christmas Eve was pretty icky weather, rainy most of the day, gusting winds, but Jacob being a brave cook, headed out to the BBQ for some tandoori chicken and an oven roasted terakihi for the fam. Odd combo, but so yummy!

Our first whole fish! Love it! And I think we'll be seeing more of them! The rest of the evening was getting ready for a lovely Christmas... Washing hand-me-down wooden blocks, decorating chalkboard toy boxes that Jacob built, drinking wine and snacking on mince pies.

So, the next morning...

Then off to Auntie Lisa's for an amazing day of feasting, beautiful weather, and warm family fuzzies...

Santa Etta
Silas opening a rather important gift from Opa
Monkeys all around!
Hendrik loves his monkey!
Timmy may be a bit over Christmas...
Cheese of the addictive variety
Etta's Adventures in Cheese Appreciation
Opa and Silas
Yes. Turducken.
Layer upon layer upon layer....
Thank you Lisa, Paul and Jeremy for an amazing meal!
And somehow I ended up on the wrong side of the camera. A rare sight.
A little playtime before...
... an beautiful Christmas dessert!

We hope everyone has had an amazing holiday filled with joy, love, family and the warmth of summer!

xo

 

13 December 2013

ONE!

How is it even possible that a year has gone by so quickly? To be honest, I barely remember the first six month after these little men came into our lives. It is a complete blur. And even now, with more lack of sleep and teething and constant changes in the wings, the blur continues...

But one year! So many adventures, so many highs and lows, so many lovely moments that make me cry with happiness when I think back to them. It is so amazing how much I fiercely love both of those little men.

Our lives will never ever be the same!

 

Willem


Hendrik

Thank you everyone who has helped us get through this crazy first year! It's true that it takes a village to raise a child...

And two countries to raise twins!

XO

12 December 2013

My moment of greatest today...

Everyday is a challenge with twins, but I try and have at least one good thing to look back and say... "Woooo! I did _________ today!"

Today, after a big morning of playgroup, shopping, lunch with Jacob, the boys promptly fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Somehow, I managed to get them both out of the car, Hendrik into the front pack, Willem curled up in my arms and made it down 72 step home, into their cots, still asleep!

Seriously. Shoes still on and all.

Tomorrow's moment of greatness...

THEY TURN ONE!

I may cry.

X

19 November 2013

Dirty Rice - Naptime Cooking



I love Dirty Rice! It's a great back up recipe to have the wings. There are so many weeks that we will have heaps of random leftover veggies, that by the end of the week when I do my shopping, I pick up a small bit of chicken livers and it's sorted!

Yeah, I know. Chicken. Livers. Well, that's what makes it all so dirty!

Seriously though. It's an easy as recipe that I start prepping when the boys are hopefully napping.

This is the original recipe here. 
  • 1 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 300g pork mince
  • 300g chicken livers
  • 3 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1-3 jalapeƱos, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning 
  • 2 green onions, chopped
Most of the time you can wing it, add whatever veggies are on hand. I've added carrots, leeks instead of celery, mushrooms, capsicum, and a lot of hot sauce. I've used bacon, not used bacon - you get the idea. A handy thing that Jacob is great at doing (yes one of the MANY things) is stashing away hot chilli peppers in the freezer. And speaking of freezing - dirty rice freezes quite well!

You can find the method to the madness (aka the how-to) here. Just adjust it depending on your veg and meat. 

And yes, don't forget the hot sauce!!
x

26 October 2013

The best ever Crusty Bread!

I have always been intimidated by baking. Especially bread. I have watched River Cottage in awe so many times determined to get over my fears and take it on with gusto! That never quite happened. 

But, in my many random Pinterest travels I came across this amazing recipe! I read through the instructions about 15 times before I decided to jump in. That's me. Research, memorise, then go. Well, most of the time. Otherwise, known as procrastination. 

But I did it! My first loaf was ok. Second loaf was better. By the 5th, aced it. Lucky I like bread! Lucky that even though Jacob doesn't like bread, he loves this! And the boys love it as well - especially with cottage cheese or covered in hummus.

So, my version of it after a few tries goes a little something like this...
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/4 cups additional water
In the 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, sprinkle in the yeast and let it stand while you get the rest of the ingredients together. 

In a big mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and the salt. With a handy dandy rubber spatula, slowly add in the yeasty water. Then slowly add the rest of the water. It will be a messy looking hunk of dough, but that's fine.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave overnight on the kitchen bench, at least 12-18 hours. Of course depending on the temperature of your kitchen overnight, it might be best to bring it to bed with you. It's an attractive move - coming to bed with a bowl of dough. Actually, just leave it on the night stand or a dresser. Trust me. 

In the morning, the bread should have risen to at least double. 

Pop a enamel cast iron oven friendly covered pot into the oven and crank it to 230 C (450F). I use one of our Le Creuset pots, but apparently you can use a variety of things. Just think Dutch Oven. (No, not THAT kind of Dutch Oven...) Check out the FAQ's for more info on the Simply So Good blog on the pots you should be able to use.

As it's heating, I pop the dough out onto a floured surface. It will be stick as, but it usually stays together nicely. So, with very floury hands, shape the dough into a good looking ball and put the plastic wrap back over it. 
Once the pot is hot, take it out of the oven, CAREFULLY and with good oven mitts! I finally burned my index finger just on Friday for the first time, and it hurts like a you-know-what! Pop the dough into the pot, put the cover back on and back in the oven it goes. 

This is when I have all of my not-so-reliable kitchen timers set to 30 minutes. 
After 30 minutes, take the lid off (CAREFULLY) and cook for another 15 minutes. 

And that's it!! 

The hardest part is waiting for it to cool down. Seriously!

I've had it as sandwich bread, toast, french toast, with olive oil and balsamic. It's really lovely. And of course, the boys love it!

Enjoy!!
xx

22 October 2013

It's been a week of..

Over a week has gone by since Bruce moved in with his new family. I chatted with them Friday and it sounds like he is doing well. We are all having to adjust I guess. Timmy has been a slightly different dog since Bruce left. I think he's just happy to be the only-dog-child. For example, we all went to pick up Jacob from work, me, the boys and Timmy. Timmy walked with us slowly up the steps, off lead, followed us to the car and happily jumped into the boot. I don't think he would have done that if Bruce was tagging along. It's an adjustment, but we are getting on slowly.
It's also been a week of Willem crawling! He's taken a few days to get the hang of it, but is rocketing around the house now. Now that he's moving as well, he's been following Hendrik from room to room, Hendrik's little shadow. But they are starting to play together which is awesome! I've been sneaking in on them playing and chatting to each other, kicking their feet in sync to crazy little tunes on their toys.

Strangely, with only one dog and the boys keeping themselves busy, I'm actually finding time to do things around the house and finishing them! Cooking has stepped up a notch! I'm loving it more than ever. Mexican pumpkin soup, potato and onion frittata, and my new love it bread making!

Well, more on that soon!

X

 

15 October 2013

Bitter-sweet Goodbyes...

I'm never a fan of goodbyes. Especially when it's someone you know and love and looked after for the past 4 and a half years. But I think we are all ok with it, as sad as we are...

Bruce has found his new home! A lovely family has taken him in with open arms! And yes, they are perfect for each other! We're are so happy he will get the one on one time he needs. So happy, but still so sad.


We'll miss the sound of him running down the hallway when he hears someone in the pantry and his inspiring optimism. We will be visiting them again soon to make sure it's all going well. But at least for now, knowing he is the happiest dog he possibly can be is making this all ok.

That and the knowledge that he will always be a part of our family, no matter what.

We love you, Brucie!
xx

05 October 2013

Naptime Cooking - Wild Pork Enchiladas

Some days, being a Stay-at-home-Mum is not much different than being a project mananger. You plan your day based on what available time and resources you have. Somedays it's the only way to get through it!

I'll admit it, I love it when the boys are napping! Ahhhh quiet... Ahh the serenity... And then about 5 minutes later, it's a mad rush for me to eat lunch, tidy up quickly and get dinner started, or at least some prep done. (Unless, of course, Jacob is keen to cook, which has been a lot lately! Thank you, dear!)

I have a handful of go-to recipes that I use. I tend to change it up here and there, but the basics remain the same. This is one of my favourites because of how flexible it is...

  • About 1 tsp (or to taste) of each of the following : Cumin, coriander, dried chilli flakes, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper
  • 1 can of tomatoes, chopped or whole, whatever is available
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400 grams wild pork mince
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese
  • 6 tortillas (store bought is totally cool. I struggle to make my own tortillas most weeks)

In a mortar and pestle, bash all together until mostly crushed and combined.

Put all the spices and the tomatoes into a pot, stir and simmer through. Once it starts to cook through a bit, add more spice if you like. I usually add a bit more chilli... We like it hot!

While the sauce is simmering, get the meat on!

For this instance, I used about 400g of wild pork mince. I usually use about 350g of chicken thigh cut into small bite sized bits, but you can use whatever you have available. For a vegetarian option, black or refried beans are awesome!

Cook the onions in a well oiled pan until they begin to soften. Add the mince and brown off. If the meat has too much grease, drain on a paper towel and pop back into the pan then add half of the sauce.

Let the flavours combine and then take off the heat.

At this point, I divide the meat in the pan into 6 even portions. Now fill up those tortillas. I add a little bit of cheese to each before I roll them up and pop them into the baking dish.

When all 6 are rolled and in the dish, cover with the remaining sauce and cover the rest of the cheese.


So now it's ready to go. When this goes in the fridge for later, there is that moment of pride, you know the one - oh thank goodness I accomplished something today moment...

Anyway, pop this in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 180C. Let stand for a few minutes before dishing out, top with some avocado, sour cream, and jalapeƱos and dig in!