Thursday, July 29, 2010

Perfect day for baking

It was wet and miserable here today and the kids (ok so Cooper) were pretty upset to discover that it was still raining when they woke because we had planned a day in the park. We've discovered this lovely park and only about 10mins from our house which is a bonus and I had planned on taking them there this morning. Every Monday morning Cooper's latest thing is that he requires an itinery for the rest of the week. He has recently learnt the days of the week and now every morning when he wakes up he wants to know what day it is and what the plans are for the rest of the day. So this week I told him that on Thursday we're going to go to the park on a leaf hunt. I want to do some leaf painting and leaf collages with the boys. But of course the weather this morning was miserable so no park for us.

How was I going to make it up to him ?

So I planned a full day of craft, painting, drawing and of course some baking. My boys absolutely love 'helping' me in the kitchen and they love taking it in turns to stir, sift, measure or crack eggs. Something which their anal retentive clean freak of a Mum isn't so good with but I just have to let it go because they just love it. And hey kids have to be left to be kids. That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

So today on the menu was date loaf and savoury vegetable muffins.

Now the recipe for my date loaf is far too extensive to go in too and quite frankly it's my secret recipe that i'm not prepared to share.

Ahem. So yes I know it's a packet mix and yes I know about the extra preservatives in them. But this particular one is quite harmless. In fact it was actually given to me by my mother. Shock horror. For anyone that knows my mother would know how shocked I was when she suggested I use a packet mix of any sort. My mother is a brilliant baker and cook and let's just say that she's definitely NOT a packet mix kind of person. Anyway it's gluten free and my Mum is completely gluten free now and she has experimented with some of these gluten free packets and recommended I give it a go. Plus for $2.50 on special it's a bargain way to bake. Amd it was a super easy thing to do with the boys and for a packet mix it actually turned out quite well. In fact it was delicious. Although next time I think we'll try a gluten free date loaf from scratch.

Now rest assured my famous Savoury Muffins are something I make from scratch. I say famous because i've made these a few times now and they've been a hit with everyone. I love recipes like this that number one are super easy and number two are healthy. I hide lots of yummy vegetables in them and never hear a complaint from the kids.

Savoury Muffins

2 cups self raising flour (we use Gluten Free)
1/2 cup finely chopped ham (I use either chicken or if I want a vegetarian version I use corn kernels instead)
1/2 cup grated cheese (I use 1/4 cup of tasty and 1/4 cup of parmesan)
1/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 small red capsicum finely chopped (I use green and yellow as well depending on what i've got in the fridge)
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (I use basil or baby spinach)
125g melted butter
1 cup Milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

As you can see I probably use more vegetables than what the recipe says too but it's all about trial and error.

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease muffin trays
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
3. Stir in butter, milk, egg until just combined - don't over mix
4. Bake in oven for 15 mins or until golden brown on top

Now there are a few things I also add that make it even yummier. Sometimes i'll add different vegetables depending on what i've got in the fridge. I've also added caramelised red onion before which was delicious as well as grated zuccinni and i've also added slices of cherry tomatoes. I add a teaspoon of curry powder to the dry mix as well as a good sprinkling of mixed herbs. I also top my muffins with a sprinkling of parmesan and mixed herbs.

The kids will love them and so will you. I also make mini ones which I can send along in their lunchboxes to kindy.

This is the gluten free flour that I use. It's actually a brand that is often on special in Aldi so i'll always stock up when they have it come in.

And of course I have to share some photos of my little helpers

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Winter wonderfuls

We are very lucky with our winters here on the Gold Coast. We really don't get too many weeks where it's super cold like down south in Sydney or Melbourne. I've really been enjoying the crisp cold mornings, of course as long as I have my cup of coffee in hand and my Elmo slippers on. They are definitely my winter staples. Although my back hasn't enjoyed winter this year. You know it's a sign of getting old when your body aches in the colder months. Well I am going to be 30 this year.

We've had some amazing sunsets these last few weeks. Sunrises and sunsets are one of my favourite things in this beautiful world of ours. Thankfully my boys are great at sleeping in past sunrise time in winter so we've enjoyed more sunsets this year.

These are some of the gorgeous sunsets we've had at our house lately. There is definitely something magnificent about the beautiful colours in the sky when the sun rises and sets again. Nature really is amazing isn't it ?

If you squint and stand on your left leg you can see the slither of the moon just above the cloud cover down the bottom.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Healthy afternoon snack

My boys are fruit bats and cost me a fortune with all the fruit they eat. Not that i'm complaining because I know it's a great thing but I can fill my fruit bowl to the brim and it's gone in 3 days in this house.

I've actually found that making them a fruit platter or a fruit salad makes the fruit last a little longer and i'm able to share it out evenly. As apposed to them grabbing fruit at their leisure all day long.

So I wanted to share our version of a fruit salad which we've been having as an afternoon snack and the boys are loving it.

We just use whatever fruit I have in the fruit bowl or in the fridge. Today it was apples, banana and strawberries.

Then we top it with yoghurt, dried fruit and seed mix. Sometimes I use toasted muesli but I didn't have any today. And then a sprinking of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. It's so delicious. The combination is just beautiful especially with the texture of the seeds and sultanas.

Give it a try. Not only will the kids love it but you'll be addicted to this great afternoon pick me up.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

Blake is definitely the talker of the family.

His words are flying out now and some of the things he has started to say i'm not too happy about. Of course his big brother prides himself on the fact that he taught his little brother how to say "poo" "wee wee" "doodle" "bum" I'm not sure if it's a boy thing or not, maybe an age thing. But Cooper is obsessed at the moment with bums and poo and all things gross. Everyone is a poo head or a bum bum face.

Cooper has been going to Speech Therapy for about 6 months now because he was a late talker and still has a few issues with his sentence structure and joining words. He loves his speech therapist Zoe. I'm not sure if it's because of her kind nature and the way she is with him or if it's the fact that he gets a balloon or a sticker at the end of a lesson. He really loves going every second Friday and looks forward to his sessions with anticipation. He has improved out of sight since we've been going.

Blake is talking a lot more than Cooper was at the same age. I started writing down all of his words in his memory book when he first starting chatting but now there isn't enough lines in the book. His first word was of course Mumma just like his big brother Cooper. Then came Dadda, Nanna, Pappa, Pa, Ta and Uh Oh.

Now he has started stringing together 2 and 3 word sentences. His latest few words are "Bubble" "Buzz Lightyear" "Mandarin" "Banana" "Thanks Mumma" "Do it" "Football"

And like the typical boy he has his transport words down pat - "Car" "Truck" "Bike" "Fast" "Light Queen" "Roary Car"

And my Wiggles obsessed boy can even say "Wake Up Jeff" and "Play Ta Murray" (Play Your Guitar with Murray)

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Live in the moment

"The secret of health for mind & body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely & earnestly."


This is something I try and remind myself of every single day!!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dreams are free

For as long as I can remember i've been interested in Asian Culture. I'm not entirely sure where it even comes from. Possibly my parents fascination in the same or maybe even a past life.

My house is filled with Buddha's, Balinese furniture, artwork which I brought back from a Thailand trip, Indian fabrics, photo frames from Malaysia. The list goes on. It's all very random I know but I love anything to do with asian culture. I could practically live on nothing but Sushi.

So when I came across this amazing home my heart skipped a beat and I dreamed that some day I would have something like this. My dream has always been to have a Balinese style home. Lots of huts/chalets joined by meandering paths. My very own yoga and meditation room. A massive timber kitchen with large bi-fold windows which look out on to a gorgeous asian inspired garden.

Picture this amazing home on 20 acres somewhere in the world. A vegetable garden out the back with chooks laying fresh eggs. My children chasing a goat around the property. Fruit trees that border the fence line. A herb garden that would make Gourmet Garden jealous.

Dreams are free...... and sometimes they do actually come true.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Tis the party season

This time of year we have lots of friends and family who celebrate their birthdays and on top of that we've had a Christening, 30th Birthday Party, Engagement party and also a Wedding coming up. We had 3 birthday parties in one weekend this weekend just gone and i'm actually kind of glad it's over for a while. I think the next birthday party will actually be Blake's who's turning 2 in September.

It's actually been a little surreal this year watching the 'babies' of the group turn 2 and even 3. It really does make you realise how quickly time goes by and sometimes I just want to stop time and turn it back. I'd kill for one more snuggle of Cooper has a newborn or to feed Blake one more time. And no i'm not getting clucky. Just reflecting I guess. It certainly makes you realise how you have to cherish every moment and not take anything for granted. I feel blessed in every way. Sure the last twelve months have brought a lot of turmoil to my life but I also know that there are alot of other people out there who have it a lot worse and i'm just so grateful for what I do have and I try and remember that every day.

Anyway kind of got off track there. Here are some photos of my gorgeous boys in their party best.

Cooper & Blake with their good friends Jackson & Thomas on the morning of Georgia's Christening

Cooper enjoying the party festivities of Thomas's 2nd birthday party

My boys in the car race at Xavier's 3rd Birthday

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

The terrible two's

My little man Blake is approaching that beautiful charming age of 2.

Need I say any more....

Who would have thought this darling little face

Could possibly utter the words "stop" "no" "go way" or "don't like" with such anger and frustration.

Well gone is my sweet little innocent and charming Blake. Okay so he's still charming but he has turned in to an independant, stubborn and very strong headed little man. My baby is a distant memory and I have this little person who's desperately trying to make his mark in our house and stand up to his big brother. Cooper is very affectionate with his wittle Blakey and Blake doesn't want to know about it. I couldn't possibly kiss and cuddle my big brother, that's simply not cool. I'd much rather rumble with him on the floor or steal his books and toys. Oh yes the terrible two's are definitely on their way around here and quite frankly i'd rather skip that entire stage and move straight on to 3. It's time to duck for cover.

Would you trust this face ?? Don't let this innocent look deceive you, it's all cheek on the inside.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A mothers gloat

Cooper has been able to write his name for about a year or so now I guess but he's never really liked the idea of writing his surname. In fact he wouldn't even attempt it. But lately he's been fascinated with the idea because we've been talking lots about middle names and how we all have a last name which is a family name. So my clever little 4 year old can now write his full name, well with exception to his middle name. One step at a time hey ?

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

I really want to share this recipe with you.

I have never attempted a Lemon Meringue Pie before and to be honest I can't even remember whether or not i'd ever even tried it before because i've always found most lemon desserts to be too sweet for my liking. But this one is just delightful.

I recently discovered this recipe and it's actually from a friend of mine that I used to do Tupperware with so you'll have to excuse the references to Tupperware. You can substitute all of the utensils for whatever you've got in your collection.

I've now made this about 6 or 7 times in the last month or so because it has been requested at most of my family social gatherings as it seems everyone is as addicted to this pie as I am. It's so super easy and also VERY yummy. Not so good for the buddha belly though.

Lemon Meringue Pie

180g Arrowroot biscuits
100g Butter (so it is moist enough)
1/2 cup Lemon Juice (2-3 lemons)
Lemon Rind
400g Condensed Milk
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Caster Sugar

- Using your TUPPERWARE SCALES measure you biscuits and butter. Crush the biscuits using you QUICK CHEF, and combine in the butter. Put the biscuit mixture into a the flan form
Put this in the fridge while you do the next step.
-Using you CITRIS WONDER juice 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Separate your egg whites and yolks using your TUPPERWARE EGG SEPERATER. Combine the eggs yolks, lemon juice, lemon rind and condensed milk into your TUPPERWARE MIXING BOWL and combine using your TUPPERWARE SPATULA.
Spoon mixture onto your biscuit base
- Using the SPEEDY CHEF whisk your egg whites until stiff, gradually add in sugar. Using your SQUEESE IT pipe the meringue on top.
- Bake for approx 15min or until golden on top

See I told you it was super easy. The kids love helping with this one too, especially with the meringue. They're fascinated with the egg whites turning in to meringue. I've also made this pie using gluten free biscuits as i'm slowly trying to elminate gluten from our diet and it was just as yummy.


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Monday, July 5, 2010

Precious time with my first born

Today is Sunday and I decided it was time to battle the crowds and chaos that would be the movies on a Sunday afternoon and the first weekend of school holidays. Yes i've gone completely mad. But it was all for a good cause. Cooper who is my first born and turned 4 in May has become completely mad over the latest craze to hit our shores. The Toy Story phenomenon. It's everywhere you look and because Cooper just celebrated his 4th birthday most of his presents involved his new found love. Buzz Lightyear!! To infinity and beyond. Gosh the things you find yourself saying when you're a parent. So I decided it was time for some one on one time with my biggest boy and we headed to the movies to watch Toy Story 3.

We arrived to complete chaos and unfortunately there were no more tickets available to the session we wanted to see. This was a little disappointing to say the least. Not only because this was going to be super special for Cooper but it was also really special for me because this is the first time he was going to be seeing a movie at the big screens and I didn't want to disappoint him. Thankfully he couldn't really care less so ventured down to the restaurants and play area and made the most of having to fill in a couple of hours before the next session started. We met up with some of our friends who we bumped in to and the kids had a blast playing in the playground and Cooper and I treated ourselves to sushi for lunch. Mummy and Cooper's absolute favourite food.

It was time to go and buy our tickets for the next session. We wanted to get in line early so that we didn't miss out again. So with our bags filled with lollies and Cooper's excitment building we headed in to the cinema. We actually ended up seeing the movie in 3D which made for an even more interesting afternoon. My big boy struggled to start with trying to keep the glasses on but eventually got used to it and enjoyed the movie. He was glued to the screen for an hour and a half. I've never seen this boy sit still in the same spot for that long. He licked away at his ice cream and nibbled on his lollies (which is a big treat for my kids because they don't get them very often) but not once did he remove his gorgeous big blue eyes from the screen. He was enthralled in it and I was enthralled in watching him. I get so much pleasure out of watching my kids and even more so today because it was a brand new experience.

Cooper couldn't wait to get home and tell his little brother all about this massive big TV where Buzz Lightyear and Woody popped out of the screen to say hello. Awww the things kids say.
And that was Cooper's first movie experience. And Mummy even had a tear in my eye by the end of the movie. Ssshh don't tell anyone.

Oh Cooper how I heart you precious boy!!!

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Some random facts about me

So I thought i'd start this blog off with some random facts about me. For those who don't know me you might get an insight in to my strange and wonderful world and even for those who do know me you might learn something you never knew about me. This is just thrilling isn't it.


I'm 29 years old.
Born in the beautiful country of New Zealand
Moved to Australia with my family in the late 1980's
Went to school here on the Gold Coast
When I grow up I want to be a Lawyer. Ok so that was back in high school.
I secretly wish to be a Midwife and deliver babies for a living
My favourite colour is Coral, in fact I think it's more of an obsession
My favourite flower is Orchids
My favourite food is Sushi, followed closely by chocolate
My favourite drink is a Lychee Caprioska
I'm obsessed with asian culture
My house is filled with buddha's and i'm not talking about the size of my buddha belly
I admire my parents and family means the world to me
My favourite holiday destination is Thailand
I want to retire somewhere in the South Island of New Zealand
I secretly miss New Zealand so much it hurts
I'm getting a Tattoo for my 30th birthday in honour of my birth country
I always wanted children, 4 actually
My boys are the best thing that has ever happened to me
I love spending time on or near the water
I'm addicted to gorgeous fabrics and textiles
I would love to one day own a health food shop/cafe and inspire others to live well
I love taking photos, especially of my boys. They have permanent retina damage from the flash
I love entertaining and having people over
I love baking and cooking with my boys
I love practising yoga and I desperately wish I had more time to do so
My dream is to one day have a small lifestlye farm and have a fully sustainable life

OK so that will do for now.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

The 1st of July and my first blog entry.

Today is the 1st of July.

The 1st of every month is always exciting as you enter a new month and ponder over what is to come. What exciting adventures will be in store for us this month ?
This month symbolises a fresh start for me. A new path to walk. New adventures to be had. A renewed attitude to life and it's surroundings. New dreams to make a reality. A new me!!

So I give you my first blog entry.

Simple and yet very refreshing.

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