Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crumbed sausages



Take one small child (preferably baby/toddler) and cover liberally in sunscreen.


Take said child to the beach.


Allow to play.


Encourage (or at least ignore) free-flowing drool.


Enjoy.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Meatless Monday - Creamy veg pasta



Ok, this recipe doesn't make any sense at all.

It has the weirdest combination of ingredients, but it works so well! It just kept evolving as I was thinking about it, and there was a bunch of stuff I needed to use in the fridge, and at the last minute, the mushrooms were singing me a beguiling song and I knew I needed to add them. It may look disgusting, you may wonder what the hell I was thinking, but once you taste it, you'll know.

Promise.

I just can't do pasta without mushrooms. and garlic. usually cream. and when asparagus are in season, then LOOK OUT.

The capsicum was just along for the ride.

Serves 2-3 (or maybe 4 depending on your pasta packet size)

(yes I'm still waiting for a pasta roller)

Ingredients:
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red capsicum
200-300ml cream (depending on how many you're cooking for)
salt and pepper
parmesan-style cheese
fresh asparagus
fresh pasta

Directions:

1. Melt the butter and heat the olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook over medium heat until softening.

2. Add garlic and capsicum and cook 1 minute.

3. Add cream and turn heat on to high. Bring to the boil and let it bubble away for about 5 minutes to reduce.

4. Cook pasta. One minute before it's ready, throw in the asparagus. Drain.

5. Add some parmesan to the cream sauce and season to taste.

6. Add the cream sauce to the pasta and pile in serving bowls. Top with asparagus and extra parmesan.





Linky Bitz
♥ The linky will be up every Monday morning, and will stay up until the following Sunday. It doesn't matter if you eat your meal on a day other than Monday - it's just an easy day to create the link.
♥ Grab the Meatless Monday button above and put it in your post, and even on your sidebar if you're feeling generous!
♥ Visit at least one other blogger and leave some love. This is so much more cool if we're in it together!










Sunday, October 28, 2012

Love to Dream Organic Swaddle Giveaway!


Swaddling was something I was determined to master when I had Abby. Whatever was going to get me MOAR SLEEP was something I was going to perfect, come what may.

And I did. I am (self-proclaimed, but try me) the Best Baby Swaddler Ever.

I even hated when other people would swaddle her as I knew she was going to come undone and wake herself up. There would be tears. Mostly mine.

But Abby was a winter baby. She could handle an extra couple of layers, and since a large swaddle was one of the Key Things To Keeping a Baby Swaddled, it meant even more layers of muslin.
I thought about getting a little swaddle bag for Pepper, as they're only one layer and quite light for summer. I wasn't sure, as I still wasn't sold on their ability to really stifle the startle reflex that I was pretty certain would keep waking her up. Then I was given one as a baby shower present and that was that.

She has not been out of one since she was born.


Ok, that's a lie - one day she puked on one and had a poosplosion on the other, so they were both in the wash and I swaddled her. She sweated all over me. 

Turns out Abby really liked to play with her hair when going to sleep, so the swaddles didn't last more than a few months.

It also appears Pepper really likes sleeping with her paws up near her face. These cute little bags allow her to do that.



I really, really like to hold her (my last baby... waaaaaaahhhhhh) and it's getting really, really hot. I'm so thankful someone smarter than me designed these so I can squish her all day long and not overheat her, but when I put her down she's still snuggled.

The swaddle is stretchy, and after tucking their little wings in, sits super-close to the body to make the babies feel warm and comforted. 

And I can let others zip her up in one without wigging out that I'm going to have to re-wrap her in half an hour anyway.

She also really hates getting her nappy changed, so the clever double-zip means she can be swaddled at the top and I just unzip her bottom half and get business done. No unwrapping the whole baby. Given babies poop nine million times a day, this has been fabulous for us, and our eardrums. 

But for you? This is what it does: 


Love to Dream asked me if I'd like a Love To Swaddle Up Organic which is even lighter than the one I originally had, and if I'd like to give one away to you guys.

A lot of you are already fans, so if you know someone who just had a baby or who is going to, then enter on their behalf! Or let them know... every mum needs the best sleep they can get!

Oh yeah... the babies. The babies do too.

So here's what you'll get:

A Love to Swaddle Up Organic




because you'll probably be washing yours as often as I do mine!

All's you have to do is leave a comment telling me your swaddle stories. We will pick one that resonates with us and you will be the winnah!

It's Ok. I don't like games of skill either, but without a permit we can't do a random draw. Sucky McSuckerson.

The competition will close next Sunday November 4 at 5pm Queensland time.

Please make sure you're contactable in your entry - I've had a few winners go missing so don't forget!
I will email the winner and announce it on my Facebook page.

Good luck xx

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Guest Post - keeping bugs from your garden the natural way





Today I'm super-excited to bring you some tips to keep your garden bug-free, from Amanda who blogs at Cooker and a Looker, down the road from me. I don't know whether to make this stuff or just invite her over to do it for me! I have such an issue with caterpillars and spiders so this is invaluable.



I love to garden. I hate to share.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing that makes me prouder than offering friends an armful of home-grown silverbeet. Equally, there’s nothing more disappointing than finally harvesting a veggie that you’ve lovingly nurtured to maturity and discovering that something beat you to it.

So I’ve put together a few ideas for keeping your veggies to yourself:


In my experience, the easiest way to do pretty much anything is have someone else do it for you – and keeping bad bugs out of your garden is no exception. Birds, lizards and predatory insects all make their livings by feeding on bugs. Encourage them into your garden by providing shelter, flowering shrubs (for birds), and permanent water.




Keep It To Yourself Tip 1: There’s an army of animals out there waiting to do your bidding, so invite them into your garden and get on with your day.

There are a lot of pesticides and fungicides on the market. The problem with chemical pesticides is the great majority don’t distinguish between good and bad bugs – they kill everything. The best way to garden is to adopt an “innocent until proven guilty” approach. There are lots of good bugs out there – predatory bugs; like centipedes, lace wings, lady beetles and small wasps, will keep your bad bug numbers in check. While pollinators; like bees, some flies, butterflies, moths and some wasps, will help ensure your crop is burgeoning.


It’s worth trying to encourage more good bugs to make your garden home. You can plant a selection of herbs and flowers to attract good bugs – the Heritage Fruit Society have an extensive list on their website 

Alternatively, you can do what I do and buy “Good Bug Mix” from Green Harvest at Maleny.


Non-sharing Tip 2: Not all bugs are bad. Adopt an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ approach and befriend good bugs.


Even after you’ve tried all of this, chances are you’ll still have a few buggers who decide they deserve your veggies more than you. Here’s an easy, safe spray that you can make with a few household items:


Chilli Soap Spray

Ingredients

8-10 chillies (fresh or dried)

4 cloves garlic, diced

2 tablespoons soap flakes

Method:

Combine chillies, garlic, soap flakes and about a litre of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and then allow to cool. Decant mixture into a glass jar and set aside for 24 hours. Sieve and pour into a spray bottle.

The chilli and garlic in this mix with discourage leaf-eating bugs. The soap flakes act as a surfactant – helping the chilli and garlic oils to stick to the leaves.

A word of warning: although this spray is non-toxic, it’s worth keeping away from children, pets and husbands. I’d also advise not spraying on windy days.


As the weather warms up, powdery mildew will start making an appearance in many gardens. Mine included. A local farmer taught me a really easy method for eradicating mildew in home gardens, and the best part? It’s also cheap!

Organic fungicide

Ingredients:

100mls full cream milk

1 litre of water

Method:

Combine the milk and water in a spray bottle.


Initially apply to all areas of the affected plant, and then treat new growth weekly. This milk spray is also effective against black spot.




Finally, I don’t have too many problems with snails and slugs in my garden – but there are plenty of people who do. It turns out snails, slugs and I have a common weakness – beer.

Snail Trap

Ingredients:

Empty plastic bottle

Scissors

Beer

Method:

Using the scissors, carefully cut two doors into the sides of the bottle. Leave the ‘doors’ attached at the base. Fold these down, so they form little snail drawbridges. Don’t cut the top off the bottle – it keeps rain out of the beer. Bury the base of the bottle in the garden, fold down the drawbridges and pour beer into the base of the bottle. Snails and slugs will be drawn to the smell of the amber ale and will pass out faster than Year Twelves on schoolies week.

Left-over beer? Novel problem isn’t it? I’m sure you’ll think of something!

Non-sharing Tip 3: Forget honey, skip the vinegar. You catch more everything with beer!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Feeding a starving breastfeeding mama



Oh man. I am mid-voracious appetite, just like I remember from last time. I have never been so hungry in all my life. Not only am I having second breakfast, but I'm having two lunches, two dinners and god knows what else in between.

Last time I didn't know what was coming. Last time I was so hungry but so busy and I'd end up eating nothing but toast all day because it was quick. Sometimes some cereal. Nothing substantial. I lost soooooo much weight and felt weak and tired all the time.

This time I was proactive. At the start of each week I make a batch of quinoa or brown rice and make salads ready to go for lunch time. I make sure I eat a ton of breakfast in case I can't get to food before lunch. Hell, before 3pm! I make sure there's snacks aplenty and I watch my protein to make sure I'm fueled up enough to not only feed a new human, but make sure I can get through the day with two very little kids.

So I thought I'd share what I've been eating in case it helps another new and starving mum. I know the feeling and HANGRY aint pretty!

Breakfast
* Porridge with coconut sugar, dried raspberries and cacao nibs * cereal with soy milk and banana * scrambled eggs with tomato, spinach, mushrooms and beans * toast with avocado, tomato, feta and lemon * organic deluxe buckinis with banana and strawberry * apple pancakes *

Porridge. Is good.

Loving Earth deluxe buckinis.

weekend breakfast recipe here





Lunch

* grilled cheese sandwich and salad * burrito with beans, cheese, salsa, avocado, lettuce and sour cream * quinoa/brown rice and roast veg salad with feta * veggie nuggets with zucchini, feta and pea salad * leftovers* caramelised onion and feta frittata * veggie burgers * salad wrap with quorn chicken fillets and caesar dressing * quesadillas * 


frittata brought to my house from Mother Down Under. What a gem.

Brown rice salad recipe here.


veggie quinoa salad recipe here.




Dinner

*eggplant and sweet potato haloumi stacks * cheese tortellini with veggie-tomato sauce * homemade pizza * veggie curry * stir fry * black bean quesadillas * broccoli slice * zucchini and feta quiche * 


quesadilla recipe here


caramelised onion and feta frittata recipe here


Yakisoba stir fry recipe here



Snacks

*banana berry smoothie * date and coconut balls * cereal * Loving Earth Luvju superfood bar * cheese and crackers * fruit crumble * apple cinnamon pikelets * banana pikelets * veggie-cheese pikelets * apple oatmeal cookies * homemade muesli bars * finger sandwiches * savory muffins * 


recipe here 


recipe here. 


recipe here


banana pikelet recipe here


All to help feed this adorable thing: 

Outfit thanks to Cotton On Kids!

Any tips you want to add? What did you eat? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Post: Salad sandwich... no meat.

Ooh hello! Today we have Mrs Sabbatical, also known as Emily, with her "turning vegetarian" story. This post cracked me up. Her everyday experiences are a lot like mine - but we're fierce and funky and your freaking out or poking fun when we turn up to your barbecues with veggie burgers AIN'T NO THANG!

Three years ago we moved to Australia from Scotland - a big, exciting move, and one that promised lots of changes. We couldn't wait for all that warm weather, plenty of beach time, surfing, and lots of fresh local produce. It was so exciting.

How does one mark their new beginning in the land that used to ride the sheep's back? Well, you go vegetarian, don't you know!



Why did we jump over to the green side? Surely it couldn't be just for fun and social awkwardness at family gatherings? There were a few reasons, but the main ones were environmental for him and health for me - although I still think being a bit awkward for family occasions may have been a small factor for some.

Australia is quite a meaty country, there is meat running through the IV of Australian life. I know, I grew up on a sheep farm and we ate a lot of those sheep.

I shouldn't tease Australians, there are some amazing local veggie cafes we have found, but they still feel like they are a little on the outer, almost a novelty - like Middle Australia expects you to eat there only if you have tatts and hairy pits.

Then there is the alfresco dining that Australia is so attached to.

Our BBQ hosts often get a little flustered, until we assure them we will bring our own. And then it is "what about poor little Crazy?". It's OK, our daughter can eat meat if she likes, and don't look at me like that - being vegetarian is not some sort of torture.

Mr F takes cheeky glee in approaching the gathering of men around a BBQ as they murmur appreciation over the charring meat mountain. It's such a blokey thing, tongs in one hand, beer in another, opinions flowing fast.

And then, right at the crucial "burning the crap out of the meat" moment, Mr F moves into the thick of it, throwing down his Quorn Fauxsages with gusto. He is man enough not to be intimidated by a sizzling carcass.

What about work? At every office lunch, the vegetarian sandwiches always disappear first. Why? because pesto and roast vegetables look a far sight better than the flaccid ham and cheese delights that are left behind? C'mon people, leave some of the good stuff for us!

And why now is it that everyone seems so concerned about our protein levels? It's OK, we're not the Cullens... we can survive without the gristly stuff.

But one of our favourite experiences came from a small cafe in rural Victoria when we ordered a salad sandwich. We were asked "would you like meat with that?"

No, just salad thanks.

This was followed by a shout out the back: "salad sandwich, Cheryl, NO meat!".

That's right, Cheryl. No meat thanks. No, not even chicken.

**


Mrs Sabbatical is one of those Australians who left years ago to with a backpack and came back with a family. Now a mum to 9yo Crazy, she decided that corporate life was over-rated and thought it was time to take a sabbatical for her health and to learn something new. She likes to pontificate on pretty much everything and is desperately trying to be cool and crafty.

Mrs Sabbatical blogs at http://www.mrssabbatical.blogspot.com and on @mrssabbatical (and facebook, and instagram and……).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm going to attempt a fun run. Running optional.


So this year I am a Variety Australia Santa Fun Run Blog Ambassador.

I am going to wear a Santa suit and a baby and take my family to dawdle walk the 5k fun run track around Brisbane on November 25. Thank goodness there's a Walkers category, or they'd still be waiting for me to finish the run the following week.

Variety is expecting 20,000 fun runners this year, across Australia, to help raise money and awareness in support of sick, disadvantaged and children who have special needs.

Abby getting her gear sorted.

If you'd like to take part, go here and register. You even get your own Santa suit! It's especially designed to deal with Australia's summer Christmas conditions, THANK GOODNESS. If you're in the area, I'd love to see you in the Brisbane run.


If you would like to sponsor me and let me do the running walking for you, please go here

Where will your money go, you ask?

Why, to buy things like mobility equipment for those who need it. Medical assistance. Supporting children in educational, sporting or artistic endeavours. Those cool yellow swings designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

Variety delivers around $1m in individual and organisational equipment grants every month, filling the gaps often left by government and other organisations. It's often their last resort.

Last year, they made these differences in children's lives:



  •  Over $2.1M used to purchase 38 Sunshine Coaches for schools and support organisations, bringing sunshine into the lives of many children who through either disadvantaged circumstances or health issues would have previously not been able to get “out and about” in their community.
  •  34 Walkers and Standers given to help children get out of their wheelchairs, to interact with siblings and friends, take part in fun activities and learn to move about.
  • $2M spent to purchase equipment for the Caring 4 Kids program – life saving equipment for Australia’s children’s hospitals
  • 11 Human Hair Suction Wigs were given to young girls suffering from Alopecia – the disease that affects mostly teenage girls and causes complete hair loss
  • $519,671 spent on Liberty Swings now installed in 20 more locations across Australia, giving children in wheelchairs the chance to swing and laugh.


  • Me walking 5k and making a twat of myself in a Santa suit is worth every minute.

    Come join me xx

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Meatless Monday - roast tomato, haloumi and mint salad





    This was something I created a little while back with Gourmet Garden. It's no secret I adore haloumi, and with a minty dressing, I'd just about do anything for anyone. The roasted tomatoes are a little change from fresh, but work so well with the ingredient combination, and I like to squish them so their juices run out and mingle with the minty dressing...

    I nearly ate this whole thing when I first made it. And I made enough for four people.

    You can find the recipe here.




    Linky Bitz
    ♥ The linky will be up every Monday morning, and will stay up until the following Sunday. It doesn't matter if you eat your meal on a day other than Monday - it's just an easy day to create the link.
    ♥ Grab the Meatless Monday button above and put it in your post, and even on your sidebar if you're feeling generous!
    ♥ Visit at least one other blogger and leave some love. This is so much more cool if we're in it together!





    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Guest Post: Asparagus with vegan hollandaise.



    Oh Anne... you had me at "vegan hollandaise"! Anne blogs about homemaking over at Domesblissity - check it out, it's got tons of wonderful ideas for recipes, craft and being a stay at home mum.


     

    I'm Anne and I blog at Domesblissity. I'm a 48 year old SAHM of a girl aged (nearly) 8 and a boy aged (nearly) 6. I cook everything from scratch and make ends meet by making do. I'm sure I'm my grandmother reincarnated. When Stacey put the call out for guest posters to give her time to settle in with her new baby, I jumped at the chance. Although not a vegetarian, I love vegetarian food and use vegetables, grains and pulses a lot in my cooking for flavour, nutrition and, mostly, cost.  I love Stacey's recipes and have made quite a few.


    I only buy seasonal produce and use what I have on hand. The asparagus looked beautiful when I did my fruit and vegetable shopping the other day and what goes perfect with asparagus? Hollandaise sauce. I did a bit of a browse online for vegan versions (not that I'm a vegan) and I found this one which uses soy milk and vegan margarine. This suited me perfectly as my sister had a huge cleanout of her pantry and gave me a couple cans of evaporated soy milk. I wondered what I could use them for.

     

    The recipe is super easy and all done in a saucepan. (I was a little heavy handed with the turmeric so it's a little too 'yellow'.) It would be perfect served over any vegetables or a poached egg on spinach for breakfast. I think I might use this version all the time as I'm not a big fan of eggs anyway.

     

    There was an error in this gadget