31 March 2014

My Monday Caffeine Hit - Sweet Tea

Trouble. On the move.
As of late, those sweet little boys of ours have slowly become little monsters. Climbing, clingy, fighting, crying, whining, dropping that morning nap, teething... Ugh. By 2pm they are HOPEFULLY down for an afternoon nap. A loooooong afternoon nap. I take about 15 minutes to sit down, have lunch, breath, and plan the rest of the afternoon, which usually means getting dinner started too. So it's lunch and a little caffeine hit and I'm good. But sadly, by this time of the day, our most loved and most used kitchen appliance (our coffee machine) has been off for a few hours. And seriously, having a flat white that late in the day just feels wrong! So, the answer?

Hello, Sweet Tea!

It's such an American thing... Sweet Tea. I love reading a trashy Sookie book and she offers someone a sweet tea. Makes me a bit nostalgic. There are many many things that I do and don't miss about the US, but Sweet Tea is in the definitely 'miss' category. I know, I know, you can buy it at the dairy and you can get Lipton, but there is always that part of me that hates giving in to things like that! Maybe it's just my stubbornness. I am a Taurus after all! That and it's probably not very good for you, and definitely not for the little ones (holy sugar batman!) ... but it's sweet tea. Everything in moderation, right? 

btw, this was a double batch :)

Anyway, here's how I make mine...

27 March 2014

Wheat and, even better, Rye Thins!

I'm a bit of a fan of snackie, salty, crackers and chips. I blame my darling mother for my addiction to chippies. All too easily a bag will disappear in a sitting. Crumbs poured into my mouth and everything. It's my Homer Simpson moment. Also, the boys love crackers, and having control over the ingredients makes me feel a little better about the addiction I will probably be handing down to those little men. Let's just say, finding recipes like these are just little highlights to my day. Especially when the come out so well!

24 March 2014

Meatfree Monday - Mushroom & Silverbeet Lasagne

I love a good, hearty lasagne. And to get that heartiness in a vegetarian dish - always add mushrooms! I found this recipe and thought it was a good basic idea. A great starting point for an easy lasagne. Also, as I try to budget more and more (it's amazing how much those boys can eat!!) I switched up a bit of the original ingredients for more of a budget conscious mind.

This is what you need...

23 March 2014

It's Fluffy Time!

The boys are still slowly learning how to use their cups and dishes and utensils properly. It's messy business. But great for some sunny time spent outside.

22 March 2014

What does the fox say??

We all know what the fox says, but what about the snail or the squirrel!?


I have had these cookie cutters for ages and ages and have never used them until now! I absolutely love them! I decided not to ice them, even though I need practise. They were so cute and simple just like this. And the added sugar is something I wanted to avoid since I knew I couldn't resist giving the boys a sneaky tail or two.

This recipe I found a long time ago, doubled the batch, and chucked it in the freezer. I love simple recipes that you can do that with, but might end up needing a larger freezer.


21 March 2014

This guy...

My son? Are you sure?

Ok, maybe.
Willem. A nutter just like his mum. 

Happy Friday! Have a safe and happy weekend!!

20 March 2014

19 March 2014

Leftover Makeover - Risotto Balls

Sheesh! Balls!

Right. Mind back in the right.... Leftovers.

We've been lucky the boys are ok with leftovers, but I feel bad making them eat things for lunch they may have had for dinner the night before. Not to mention, I get bored of eating the same things as well.

One of the MANY dishes that Jacob is amazing at, is his risotto. Amazing. Did I mention amazing? He's got the technique. And the free for all of the garden and the fridge. Maybe.... MAYBE... Someday, he'll write his own risotto post/recipe. Maybe.

Anywho, to get the boys to finish off this super tasty dish...

18 March 2014

No Bake, Date & Coconut Balls... Dreamy...

After the big pantry clean out of 2014, I found a lot of ingredients that I noticed hadn't been used in ages or just about to go off. Soooo.. Hello coconut!

Since the boys love eating pitted dates, google uncovered this combo in this gem! Easy as and actually the only tedious part is making the actual balls. I wanted to make them small enough for the little mens' fingers to handle, so I used a teaspoon to form each one. Also, beware, when I first started the food processor, it was full on! I thought it was going to dance it's way off the bench!

It's really cool to see what happens when the coconut gets mixed and pulverised and turns into an oily mess... My hands loved making all those little bits and slithering in the oil..

Toss them in remaining coconut and ta-da!! After some chatting with a lovely old friend, I'm am really inspired to try some crushed nuts to coat them, especially walnuts! How yummy does that sound?!

So success! Boys love them. I love them. Done. I can't wait to try our next incarnation of them!

Ingredients :
  • 2 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups (200g) pitted dates
Method :

Place 2 cups of coconut and the dates into a blender or food processor. Process on high speed for 3-4 minutes, pausing to scrape down sides as needed. Remove from processor and roll teaspoon-sized balls. Roll in remaining 1/2 cup of coconut.

What variations have you tried?...

17 March 2014

Happy Monday! And a special thank you!

Yes, it's Monday again... Sigh... Back to the grind, eh?

Just a quick note as the boys are down for bed, a glass of wine, some bad television, and a whole heap of crocheting await me in the other room...

Thank you so much to everyone at Kiwi Mummy Blogs! I'm really stoked to be apart of the great list of bloggers! And it's actually been a good motivator for me to do a lot more writing and photography. I'm feeling really inspired lately and I feel like it's all coming together.

Go check out their site to see heaps of other great NZ blogs! 

Kiwi Mummy Blogs


16 March 2014

Our cleaners are horrible!

They don't dust properly, they leave a bigger mess than when they started... And vacuuming? Pffffft! All they do is try and play with the attachments. Well, at least I don't have to pay them very much!

Some of our latest adventures might seem a bit odd. I have been teaching the boys pick up after themselves, put their toys and books away, help empty the dishwasher by handing us forks and spoons and such, dusting, and the latest - handing me pegs and nappies to hang on the air-dryer. 

I think it's really important for the boys to be involved and while it's something new and interesting, I'll be taking full advantage of it! 

When I was growing up, we had our weekly chores that we were expected to do. On Saturdays, as a family, we would have our big clean up day. After cartoons and breakfast, we would dust, wipe down the coffee table and the bookshelves, little things like that. We would move things in the garden when my dad would mow the lawn and move them back again. THEN, we would be allowed to go out and play. I remember going out to feed the dogs, chickens and rabbits when I was fairly young. So, having this in mind, I saw this list and was happy I found it!

To me, it all makes perfect sense. A family is a working unit. Everyone pitches in, everyone helps, and everyone benefits. 

I'd love to know your thoughts!

14 March 2014

Happy Friday!!! (and fruit picking!!)

Today, it's just strange. Apparently there is a cyclone on it's way and you can just feel it in the atmosphere. A chilly breeze from the north, a humidity you can see in the air. It's all quiet except for the cicadas. So while we have the chance, today was spent outside for a long long time. Because I'm sure the next few days will be relentless and horrible with two bored and ansty beasts running around. Yikes!

Lately, the boys want to go outside a lot. I think mostly to eat the ripening chilean guavas. Dodgy sneaky men! Today I was finally able to get a small handful to save for Jacob and me. They are sooooooo tasty! They are a cross between cranberry-blueberry and somewhat tropical. Jacob has done such an amazing job growing them, but sadly the boys seem to have taken over the pruning of them... Hopefully they survive Cyclone Lusi and Cyclones Hendrik and Willem....

Have a good weekend! And stay safe if you're in New Zealand!!!


11 March 2014

Protein, veggie style!

I saw this recently somewhere on Facebook, and thought it was pretty brilliant. I do try to use most of these as often as I can, but didn't realise that many of them were good sources of protein! I'd be keen to try out chia and hemp seeds.

If anyone has some yummy recipes for them they would like to share, please do!



10 March 2014

Kid friendly Curry? Yes! Score!

A couple of years ago now, I worked as a nanny and looked after two lovely little hobbits! Cooking for them was pretty easy with the exception of the curry dilemma! They weren't really keen on anything curry. Not even butter chicken! It was something that I was hoping wouldn't happen with the boys. As soon as they were old enough, it's been all about variety.

A recipe for a veggie korma was sent to my inbox from the Vegetarian Times. I made it with really no intention of giving it to the boys, but when Jacob and I had it for dinner, I thought the boys might actually like it. The next day, I warmed up the leftovers, curious to what would happen, ready in the wings were a couple sandwiches, just in case.

Let's just say, I had the sandwiches for lunch, the boys devoured the korma! It was a triumph for me! I am amazed everyday at what they enjoy eating. Things that are basic and bland seem to get thrown on the floor lately while the garlicky and spicy get eaten straight away. Hendrik will lick Vegemite off of crackers and leave the crackers.

Anywho, this reasonably mild korma still has incredible flavour and Jacob who is renowned for his hot sauce consumption, didn't use any. It's loved by everyone in our clan! 
Sorry for the lack of photos!
So here is our version...

07 March 2014

It's almost baking season.. Apricot & Orange Muffins

This week has been a bit chilly here in old Welly. A brutal reminder of the upcoming winter. We've had to bust out a bit of the winter gear and merino pyjamas. Cold southerlies, rain, chapped lips, and heaters on... Time to start baking.
A couple of weeks ago, I came across a very simple, easy baking cookbook from the library. I was drawn to one recipe in particular, it included two of the boys' favourite snacks, apricots and orange. There was no losing with this one.
The recipe is only altered slightly from the book, as those hungry boys love chewing and eating oranges. Peels and all! The original recipe only calls for the zest of one orange, instead I used two for that extra bite they love.
To make these awesome zesty muffins...

03 March 2014

Crispy Tofu Teriyaki - Meatless Monday and Naptime Cooking!

A couple years ago, I came across this recipe from the lovely Pip @ Meet Me at Mike's. The first time I made it, it was love. It's still in regular rotation on the menu planner, but has gone through so many incarnations.

This is our latest version! With crispy tofu and udon noodles! Super yummy! As per usual, making a stir fry in our house means whatever veggies are in the fridge and garden are fair game! And of course, a lot of the recipe can be done when the kiddos are napping. Chop the veggies, cook the tofu, whisk up the sauce.. This makes actually cooking dinner with two little men under your feet quite a bit easier.

First things first. Crispy tofu. I've been trying to get this right for years! When I was vegan, back in my early 20's, my best friend and I would have this amazing crispy tofu and broccoli take away from our favourite Chinese restaurant at least once a week. The tofu was the perfect amount of crispy and still soft in the middle... *droooool* anyway! this is the closest I've got to that! and it's only taken 15 years!

So anyway... To make this lovely (boy-loved) dish...