listening / watching / reading

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There’s nothing quite like the start of Spring to bring about feelings of freshness, new beginnings, energy… I absolutely love the Winter but it always drags on about a month too long here in Melbourne. All of you Melbournians know what I’m talking about!

Over a month into Spring now it finally feels like the sunshine has arrived. KB is on long service leave for another two and a half weeks and we have just got back from a lovely holiday on the south coast of NSW – a magical and inspiring coastline if you ever do get the chance to visit.

On the way home we heard a song by Nick Mulvey on ABC radio which was a treat, and I have been listening to his album every day since we got home! I’m sure I’ll be told to turn it off soon but in the meantime I’m dancing around in bare feet to it on a daily basis.

In our usual pursuit of slow and calm I also bought this book and devoured it in 48 hours. I’m now well into the process of #konmari – ing our house. I’m up to papers. I have such a problem with papers. We have no system with bills or anything and it’s just so boring that we are always finding ourselves getting into trouble with late notices and so on. Who has time for this stuff? We can’t work out a system that works so I’m loving Marie Kondo’s paperly advice: to throw it all away. Duly noted and obediently doing just that. What a relief to see all those old bills, receipts, notices, blah blah blah going into my throw out pile. KB will most likely have a minor freak out when he sees my pile but shhhh let’s keep it our secret for now.

While I was pregnant I succumbed to netflix and promised myself it would just be for the free month. Five months later we still have netflix. Yesterday I watched Cowspiracy, and I have to say it has had such an effect on me that I am dragging out all my old vegetarian recipes and taking a good hard look at our diet… again. When I began eating meat again after a period of time as a vegetarian, I was so careful with my choices and seriously limited our meat intake. As the years have gone by and more children have been born, meal times have become a last minute panic, throwing together whatever I can during the last dash before bedtime. I hate eating this way as I love cooking and planning and preparing and being thoughtful about what we eat and when we eat it, and while we have a number of good habits it has been difficult lately to be mindful about it. Cowspiracy has given me that motivation again. Tonight we’re having eat your greens pesto pasta (with brown rice instead of pasta because I don’t have any in my pantry). My sister gave me the recipe a while ago; you basically just cook up some garlic and leek or onion and any other vegetables you like that you have on hand, mix through some pesto and serve. You can be as creative as you like with this dish and it will always taste good. You can make your own pesto but I usually let myself off the hook and just buy a jar because this is meant to be an easy and cheap meal, after all.

In other news Pearly pops is already rolling over, and yesterday at the dreaded Maternal Child Health Nurse appointment she said it’s time to put her in the cot (!) and start thinking about giving her food (!) and all sorts of other dreadful things like that. I nodded my head like the good mother and threw the papers in the bin when I got home.

Well, it feels good to be here today. The sun is shining and I’m about to make myself a coffee. Birdie is at kinder, the Pixie is with her Daddy out for the morning and Pearl is demanding that I turn the computer off. Right. Now. So… goodbye and have a lovely day.

there are peanuts in my bed

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I am absolutely ravenous. I can’t stop eating. I am an eating machine. I hide food from my children and take bites when they aren’t looking. I eat the contents of lolly bags they are given at parties after they have gone to bed.

This is me: the breastfeeder. I am a lot more prone to “cravings” while I am breastfeeding than when pregnant. I like food at the best of times, but when a small human is sucking the life out of me at two hourly intervals, I’m a food obsessed monster.

I spent a foul twenty minutes on the coles online website last week searching variations of “m&m’s” to no avail… mandms/m&ms/m and m/m and m’s… etc (take note coles, you lost $5 because of this and made me very mad).

I met some girlfriends at a friend’s place today. While they were drinking cups of tea I was hovering around the kiddie table, stealing watermelon fingers from the childrens’ plate.

The thing I love about this is that it’s the one time in your life you can eat like a killer whale while simultaneously feeling like a supermodel because you’re still getting used to feeling 20kg lighter than you were a few weeks ago. Best!

So excuse me while I go and prepare my bedside snacks for night time feeding… a tasty selection of nuts and biscuits tonight I think, or perhaps a bag of corn chips, or maybe a handful of choc chip cookies…

school lunches // take two

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(rainbow chard fritters + a sneak peek at my massive 29 week belly)

Thank you so much for all your lunchy suggestions! I am finally finding my feet in the kinder lunch box department and Birdie has only had the odd sandwich thrown in the last few weeks (once after I asked her what she wanted for lunch and she looked at me with pleading eyes – “Mum, can I just have a vegemite sandwich, like the other kids?” :/ )

On the agenda this afternoon was a big batch of fritters for this week’s lunches. A few weeks ago we had an influx of rainbow chard in our veggie box. When this happens I always have good intentions to eat said chard, but I don’t like it very much so those good intentions seem to turn sour quite quickly, ending with a soggy heap of green stuff at the bottom of my fridge. So this time I tried chopping the whole bunch up, blanching it briefly and then froze in small lots to use (hide) in meals. Fritters seemed like a good way to get these nutritious greens into not just the kid, but into me too!

Rainbow Chard Fritters – with millet and corn

:: 1-2 cups blanched rainbow chard (or other green veg like spinach or maybe even kale… they would also be delicious with coriander added)

:: 1 cup millet

:: 1 can or 2 cobs of corn

:: 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot flour or similar

:: 2 eggs

:: salt/pepper if you like

You can really do whatever you like with these – any grain or flour would do the trick really. Quinoa? Oats? Or you could start with just your basic pancake recipe and add veggies… whatever works. I’m so haphazard with cooking and generally just feel my way. Trial and error – there’s no better way! Lucky for me, these turned out well.

:: cook millet on stove

:: whiz up blanched greens in blender, then add in two eggs and other ingredients. Depending on your blender you could blend a little, or if it will get too chop-happy, tip everything into a bowl and mix through with a wooden spoon. You want the corn to be whole, not blended.

:: use fat of choice (I used coconut oil) and cook up in fry pan or on BBQ.

:: eat!

I’m on kinder duty tomorrow so I’ve also packed a lunch for me – I mixed some sweet chilli sauce and cream cheese together to go with these… I don’t know if this is completely weird or if it is normal, my pregnancy taste buds have got the better of me at the moment. For Birdie I’ve packed a small container of yoghurt for her to dip them into. If she eats them, I’ll be super duper happy.

school lunches: a whole new world

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Birdie started four year old kinder last week. And I started my new occupation: kinder lunch maker. As the title suggests, it’s a whole new world.

Last year she only needed a snack which I found difficult enough sometimes, particularly when we don’t eat much dairy, and the kindergarten has a no egg and no nut policy to boot.

We are big nut and egg eaters and I find my options slightly limited when they are taken out of the picture. Factor in a fussy four year old who keels over at the sight of anything green and only eats two mouthfuls at any given time and you’ve got some challenges on your hands!

Last night I was motivated by my sister to make some gelatin jubes for the kinder lunch box today (my favourite recipe here). What is meant to take 15 minutes ended up taking two hours after I accidentally blended up a foil easter egg wrapper in the final mixture (Prince Charming is still questioning me on how it got into the blender… I have no answers), moments before I was ready to pour into the moulds. Bye bye to over 10 tablespoons of grassfed gelatin (anyone who has ever bought this will be feeling my pain), two oranges, a few apples, acai powder, flax oil and some sweat.

Yes: I did shed a tantrum induced tear over the kitchen sink as I poured my foil laden tincture into the compost.

By this time I had also run out of most of my ingredients resulting in the jubes (pictured in heart shapes above) tasting rather foul in my humble opinion, but both kids were asking for more this afternoon, go figure.

The girls are going through such a fussy time, being forced to make kinder lunches has motivated me to find some meals I am happy to feed them, that they are equally happy to eat… no easy feat.

Birdie came home from kinder the other day and said in disgust: “Alexander ate a little tomato today.”

“Oh, did he get it off the plant?” I asked.

“No, it was in his lunch box.” she replied, her face filled with horror. To open her lunch box and discover a cherry tomato is one of Birdie’s worst fears. This is what I am dealing with.

In my searches this week I’ve found a few new, a few rediscovered, and a few daily used (by me) resources:

:: This Whole Family

::  Well Nourished

:: Jude Blereau – my favourite family friendly chef lady ever

:: IQS for kids

:: My sister 🙂

How do you organise your kids’ lunch boxes? I’d love some more ideas…

meal planning

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The last six months have been probably the fullest, busiest, craziest six months in my short history of parenthood thus far. With me heading back to work three days a week, Birdie starting three year old kinder plus a day of childcare and little Pixie going to childcare one, then two days per week, along with Prince Charming working his regular two jobs, our lives were jam packed with drop offs and pick ups, tearful goodbyes and all the in-betweens – cooking, cleaning, dressing, bathing, and so on. I’m not sad at all that the juggle of those six months are now behind us. We are starting the year with a clearer outlook and a readjustment of priorities. After seeing my little Bird develop a tendency towards being anxious and panicked, and less like her normal cheerful and bubbly self over these past six months, we all knew it was time to make change. She was not the only one feeling like this.

So. Last week was my final week of working three days. From this week onwards I’ll be working 1.5 – 2 days a week on average and the plan is that I will have a little bit more time, more energy for my girlies and will slowly wind down between now and end of April towards maternity leave, again!

And more time means one thing in this house: meal planning! Oh how I have missed being able to actually think about what we are going to eat for more than five minutes before we actually need to eat it.

This morning the girls and I spent an hour and a half cleaning out our fridge while PC was at work. It was actually frightening to see its contents, vomiting (literally: vomiting) out onto the kitchen floor. Needless to say, there was unfortunately a lot of waste and horrid, nasty things hiding in the dark depths that I never want to have to think or talk about again. Like in most other areas in our life, we are now ready for a fresh foodie start and I can see what we’ve got to work with.

This week we are planning on having:

:: Lentil loaf with sweet potato mash and veggies (using a combo of this, this and this recipe I reckon, all of which I’ve cooked before but I am missing at least one ingredient from each so there will be a lot of improvisation – ah, time for cooking improv, my favourite thing!)

:: Scrambled tofu and veg using a recipe I’ve made up myself after lots of failed and dry scrambled tofus!

:: Quinoa salad and roast veg.

:: Coriander chicken burgers and salad.

:: Stirfried brown rice with toasted nori and sesame, with maybe some avo, homemade hummus and veg, recipe from one of my all time favourite recipe books.

:: BBQ something and salad.

In the past two days I’ve made hommus, almond milk, chicken stock, candy bars (one of my fave recipes!), smoothies, egg free mayonnaise for this preggy belly (naughty!!!), and a variety of other meals around these staples. Yay. I’m baaaa-aaaackkk!

homemade natural cold and cough remedies for kids

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I mentioned the other day that little Birdie woke up feeling unwell. Yesterday the first words she sobbed upon waking were: MUMMY! MY NOSE FEELS TEWWIBLE! 

Through the sharing of mummy wisdom, lots of reading, along with help from my naturopath sister (how lucky am I to have one sister who is a midwife, and another a naturopath?!) and consultations with my own naturopath I realised that my cough and cold repertoire has expanded a little since this post almost two years ago.

My cough and cold remedies as of today…

// Rest, rest, rest!

// Water, water, water! (Preferably warm, I use cooled boiled water)

// Chesty cough remedy tea and cough syrup with manuka honey and apple cider vinegar as previously mentioned.

// Olive leaf extract. Its antibacterial properties help to combat yucky germs. From the end of a silver spoon they lap it up. Yum.

// Vitamin C. Good quality. Powder form. Say no more. (We use this.)

// Depending on the nature of the cold/cough, we use a vapouriser with eucalyptus oil.

// I also often mix together some sweet almond oil (or other base) along with a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to rub on little chests and backs before bed.

// Warm baths with a few drops of essential oils, with the bathroom door closed to trap the steam.

// We always eat lots of kiwi fruit and strawberries when we are unwell for the vitamin c content.

// Garlic, ginger, tumeric, etc – get it into the kids in any way possible! Try using it in stir fries, soups, muffins, teas…

// I also love, love this immune boosting chicken soup by Teresa Cutter – whether you are ill or not, it is delicious!

// Lastly, for those times when home remedies just don’t cut it and you need to move onto store bought medicines, I am a huge fan of the Brauer range which, in Australia, you can buy at the chemist. They are homeopathic remedies and are always our first port of call before moving onto panadol (yes, we use panadol, not on a whim or without consideration, but when it is needed). My only suggestion regarding the Brauer products I have used is that you must follow the dosage to a TEE otherwise the results will not been as successful – in our experience. (NB of course you always follow dosage instructions when giving medication, I mean more specifically following the timeline of doses: don’t miss any. You will understand when you read the instructions.)

We obviously don’t use all these remedies at once, but I pick and choose depending on the type of cold, the season and so on.

I’m sure there are so many more, what do you do at your place?

*Please note, I am not a medical professional nor claiming to be qualified in anything but mothering. If you choose to use any of the above remedies, make sure you research them yourself so that you are aware of the pros and cons, if any, and can decide for yourself which suit your child and family best. Don’t just take my word for it… this is the internet, afterall. (For example, babies under 12 months old should not consume honey… etc, etc.)*

on the menu

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Cooking, cooking, always cooking. I borrowed Supergrains: Cook Your Way to Great Health by Chrissy Freer from a friend, so that has influenced our meal planner this week.

Here’s what’s cooking at my house:

Monday // pesto pasta with slow roasted tomatoes with a few modifications

Tuesday // tofu and veg stirfry with brown rice

Wednesday // lemon, herb and oat crumbed fish with salad or veg (from the Supergrains cookbook)

Thursday // chickpea, tomato and quinoa soup with pesto toasts (also from Supergrains)

Friday // bacon, spinach and leek frittata

Saturday // leftovers and/or homemade spelt pizza with whatever is in the fridge on top

Sunday // (I’m going out for dinner!) but the rest of the family will have either roast chicken with veg or healing chicken and millet soup (surprise, from Supergrains) depending on the weather along with the state of Birdie’s cold which she woke up with this morning.

What’s on the menu at your place?