The adventure of trying to make a house a home that we built for our family of six plus some craft, home décor, recipes & any family fun we might have.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Cooking with Kids

A tradition I'm trying to encourage at the moment is having a special family breakfast every Sunday morning. I'm not wanting to do it every weekend but I'm hoping that this time in the morning will allow me to teach the children so cooking skills. At the moment my son and two daughters aged 9, 6 and 4 really want to help me when I'm cooking. Unfortunately this is normal at night when I'm at my most busiest with the evening routine. So I decided that last weekend I'd make something yummy and talk to them about taking turns to cook with me.

On Saturday after a visit to the local library my 4 year old borrowed a cookbook and when we got home she ran through all the things she wanted to cook then and there. I promised her that she could try something out the following morning and that I'd help her make it. The recipe was something that I didn't need a cookbook for but as she's starting school next year I knew using the cookbook would be a great teaching tool. I had enough eggs to make breakfast for just the kids as I'd forgotten to buy more when I'd done the weekly grocery shop. She was more interested in making breakfast just for herself but I was able to talk her into making a bit more.

So for our first cooking experience together we made Eggs and Ham from the cookbook which is a basic scrambled eggs with ham mixed through it. Although the entire cooking experience was less than 10 minutes she was able to see results quickly and this kept her engaged in the experience. I've included the recipe and a picture of the finished product. She was really happy with the outcome and she's looking forward to cooking with me again.

Scrambled Eggs

Eggs and Ham (Scrambled eggs with Ham) Serves 1
small knob of butter
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
30 grams (1 oz) chopped ham, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
1 piece of buttered toast

1. In a small bowl, using a fork whisk together the egg and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Chop the ham into small pieces. If doing this with your child make sure you help them when using a knife.
3. Place the toast in the toaster and toast until brown. Once toasted spread butter over warm toast.
4. Melt butter in the pan, over medium heat. Add the egg mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir continuously until the eggs are just set and still creamy. Depending on the child's age you might need to assist with this step.
5. Mix the chopped ham through the egg. Serve on top of your buttered toast.

Scrambled eggs

I'm about to start negotiations with my six year old as she's desperate to make everyone 'stripey ice lollies' (they're frozen fruit blocks) for breakfast. I'm thinking that we could make these on Saturday for Sunday's afternoon tea. I know that the kids will love to have fruit ice blocks especially after they've been running around all morning. So tell me do you make your own ice blocks or do you just buy them from the shops?


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Teaching craft at school

Two months ago my lovely son told his teacher that I'd love to come in and help make cards with the students for Father's Day. At first I was a little worried, working with 50 children sounded very scary and I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. However, once I made the decision to help them create a card I got started on creating a simplistic card. I settled on a navy blue, red and white colour scheme with a wood grain stamp to make it more male orientated. Both year four teachers were happy with what I put together so I got started gathering the supplies I'd need.

After talking to my son's teacher, she advised me I'd be able to save time wasting if I cut and taped up everything first prior to coming into the classroom. I took three weeks to cut, score and stamp all 600 pieces that I needed to create the card. Early on I worried that I'd be sitting up the night before madly trying to finish things off so I could teach the kids. This time my pre-planning played off as I had everything bagged up and packed away 20 hours before I needed them.


During my time up in front of the kids I found it difficult with the amount of noise that the kids were making but with the help of my sons teacher the kids were soon under control. The best thing about making the cards with the kids was that I was able to help them when they got stuck but overall they created a card for their Father's that was unique to the card that was been made next to them.


I thought I'd share some photo's with you of the different cards that the kids made and some pictures of creating their envelopes. I enjoyed the 90 minutes that I spent in the classroom and at the end of the class everyone had finished making their card and envelope so this saved the kids having to finish the cards at home.





I had enough supplies left over that I was able to give another kit to a student because she had two father's and I also made another two cards. One for my father in-law and the other for my dad (sorry Dad it'll be in the mail sometime this week). All up each card costs $0.80 which wasn't bad and it was way cheaper than a store bought card.


The best thing about been in the classroom was I got to watch my son make his card and halfway through he called me over and gave my a quick kiss. Not bad for a boy who's going to be turning ten soon. I could see how proud he was to have me in the classroom, it's a pity that I've had to put off helping out in the classroom during the last five years. I know that I'm going to be making more of an effort to help out in the classroom next year.

Hope all the Dad's had a great day last Sunday and that you got to tell you're father how grateful to have him in your life. I think that I'll do this again next year with my children because they had fun and it'll be so much easier doing four cards compared to 50 cards. Do you make cards and if not have you ever thought about doing it?


Friday, 29 August 2014

Yoga Party Decorations

Earlier this week I showed you the quick and inexpensive birthday invitations that I made earlier this month for my daughter's Yoga Party/ You can find the instructions here.  So today I'm going to show you the other things that I made for the party. For months I'd listened to Mackenna talk about what she wanted for her party and all she really wanted was the girls to come and fun with her while they did some yoga, played in the playground and eat some party food. So I tried to make the decorations, cake and favours reflect the playful, happy and chilled theme that she wanted.

I decided a minimalistic approach would work well for her party as it would allow her to spend time playing, laughing and eating which meant that I could also interact with the other parents. We had planned on doing a few different pink and purple decorations, however the park we used can get really busy so the few things I'd purchased from the discount store didn't get used due to it been really windy. 

When we arrived the first thing I did was cover two tables with coloured plastic table clothes because the tables never get cleaned. I also didn't want to have any of the kids get sick because they'd touched the dirty tables. Luckily I'd bought a roll of stick tape with me so when the wind started blowing the table clothes off, I was able to wrap the table like a present and this ensured that everything stayed in place. 

Yoga Party

As you can see from the picture above I kept the food quite healthy to work in with the yoga theme. The first thing that I made for the girls to tie in with the birthday invitations were water bottle labels. I made the labels in PicMonkey and then I printed them off at the local copy shop. After cutting them to size (I used the same measurements as the water bottle labels) I used a felt pen to colour-in the yoga ladies outfit, I then used clear contact to cover each label before attaching it to the bottle.

Yoga Party

Yoga Party

Mackenna had requested cupcakes for her birthday so I made her red velvet ones with chocolate icing just for something different. I made the Too easy chocolate cake from my thermomix Everyday Cookbook with a few changes to suit our party. Mackenna had picked out some cute purple polka dot cupcake cases so I made some cute cupcake toppers that would tie the theme together with the yoga. I used the same elements I'd used for the party invitations and the drink bottle labels. Each child was given the coloured cupcake topper that matched their invitation and water bottle.

Yoga Party

The last thing that I made were the gift bags that we gave to each girl when they were leaving. Usually these bags are filled with sugary treats and toys that don't last very long. I thought that because Mackenna had a Princess theme for her Yoga class, I decided to include lots of princess things as well as a few stationery items.

Yoga Party

Yoga Party

I'm glad that I put all my effort into making these few things for Mackenna's birthday party. At the end of the party every little girl came up to me and thanked me for their water bottles and gift bags. I'm so glad that I went with the colour theme mixed in with the princesses because I think that was something the girls weren't expecting. Overall, it was a great party and I got to talk to a few mums and put a mum to a child's name. I also kept costs down with all the decorations and food. This meant we could take Mackenna out for a special dinner on her birthday which is something we've never done before.


Monday, 25 August 2014

Book Week 2014

Every year most Australian schools have a special 'Book Week' celebration that encourage the kids to read more books and fostering a reading relationship. The children are asked to bring a book that goes with their costume. Every year I leave organising a costume to the last minute so my son ends up wearing his everyday clothes and he goes as his favourite author. This year I was determined to be better organised as I now have two costumes to come up with. If I get it right this year then next year will be a breeze especially with three kids at school. 

The good thing about this years Book Week is that my son already knew what it was he wanted to go as and it wasn't an author. The bad news was I didn't have anything he needed to create his costume so I went off to the thrift shop to see what they had. I was really lucky to find an army t-shirt and army cargo pants for nine dollars. This was a little more than I wanted to pay but he would be more comfortable wearing a cotton outfit than the cheap nylon dress up outfit the local shop was selling for ten dollars. With a few extra accessories the entire outfit has cost me fifteen dollars but he's so excited to be going as a army private that it's money well spent.

Australian Army

My daughter started Prep this year so her costume requirements are different. The class had a theme so each Prep class was asked to come as a character from a fairytale. Many of the girls chose to come as a princess (Frozen was a popular choice). The boys had the opportunity to come as fairytale character, our class had more superheroes represented than Prince Charming. With this in mind I jumped on Pinterest to see what I could find for my daughter. We were thinking of dressing up as a fairy but we thought this fairy costume would be very different from all the other fairy costumes that might be worn on the day.

I found these instructions at Lilliedale for her Book Fairy Costume and the best thing was she provided detailed instructions that helped when I put the costume together. The best part about this costume was that all I needed to purchase were a few second hand children's storybooks, ribbon and a few glue sticks which cost me less than eight dollars. 

I made a few changes to the wings so that they looked more fairy like and less like the pages were falling out of the book. I didn't reinforce the book with wire but I did use two books to stabilise it so that it stayed in place. I also used a drill bit to make the hole as I didn't have anything else that would make a hole big enough so that the ribbon would thread through to tie around her arms.

Book Fairy
1. Remove pages from book and glue to book.
2. Glue both books together making sure the cover is on display.
3. Drill through both books.
4. Insert ribbon so that it can be tied off.
The outfit was a great success, with a heap of parents stopping to comment on the costume and asking how I made it. The only negative aspect to the outfit was that it was impossible to sit in the car while wearing it. I ended up having to place it on the front seat and dress her at school. She loved wearing it and she didn't complain once. However with the weather being questionable the school cancelled the parade and they took the children into the school hall. Each year level had to sit down prior to been called up on stage, they showed off their costumes and then they returned to sitting down on the floor. As you can imagine she didn't have a big area to sit so the skirt was compromised. 

Book Fairy

Although she had to sit down for the best part of ninety minutes. She did a good job looking after it, only a few cones came away from the ribbon. I'd bought my glue gun with me to school in case anything like this happened so I was able to fix it quickly without it causing any problems.

Book Fairy

From the look on her face she had a great day and after the class pictures were taken I took her costume home with me. Having her wear it for the entire day would have resulted in her not being able to play and the costume would have gotten in the way. When I picked her up from school she was still wearing her crown and she told me that the librarian had come and talked to her at lunchtime. Apparently the librarian had never seen anyone like it in all the years she'd been working. Overall, it was a great costume and she looked beautiful.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Colourful Tulle Tutu

We have a heap of events coming up in the next few weeks at Kindergarten and school which require me to create outfits for the kids to wear. The first event we have is the Kindy Disco. Some of the lessons they've been doing is learning about patterns so the teachers have asked the kids to wear a patterned outfit. After looking through her wardrobe I soon discovered that she would be wearing solid colours so I decided to make her a skirt.

After talking with Viveca I soon realised that she didn't want an A-line skirt she wanted a tulle skirt so that she could look like a ballerina when she went to the disco. So I took her to Spotlight as I had a 30% off discount voucher which I was able to use store wide. Viveca decided that she wanted her skirt to have her four favourite colours in it so she picked out a glittery yellow, hot pink, red and a glittery purple. These four colours formed the pattern of her skirt. We also decided on a hot pink ribbon to use so that she could have a pretty bow on the front of her skirt. Originally, I was going to sew together a piece of elastic to make the waistband but after searching Youtube I decided to use the ribbon that I'd bought as the waistband instead.

After watching the video by NashvilleWraps I knew that I had the wrong sized ribbon but I thought I'd give it a try before rushing off to the shops again for more ribbon. I'd purchased one metre of soft tulle (1.09 yards) in each colour so in total I had 4 metres (4.37 yards). Using a rotary cutter I cut my pieces three inches wide as six inches didn't provide enough pieces of tulle to attach to the ribbon. I also used every part of the tulle so if I had two inches left over I used those to fill in spaces that needed it. I'm really happy with it and for $27.00 it might not be cheap but it's original.

Tulle Skirt

Overall I'm really happy with our Tulle Tutu and Viveca loves it. She's going to wear black leggings so that the tulle doesn't itch her in any way shape or form as I'd hate to be halfway through the night and she's wanting to remove the skirt. She's already put her outfit together and she's counting down the the day's until the Kindy Disco. (Sorry about the picture but after been out all day the light wasn't working for me.)

Tulle Skirt

I'm thinking that I might make a couple more for Christmas Day as I can picture both my girls wearing pretty glittery red and green tulle tutu's on Christmas morning. So tell me what you think does she look like she's ready to rock and roll on Friday night?


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Yoga Birthday Invitations

Three months ago I decided to take the family to our local handmade market for a bit of DIY inspiration and to sneak in a bit of exercise as the kids had been spending too much time sitting down doing nothing. I discovered some really cute handmade clothing, nappy covers, soaps, toys and lots of lovely home baked goods. As the market was held on the grounds of a local school they had lots of stalls located near the playground.

Walking towards the playground Mackenna was stopped and asked if she would like to get involved in a Yoga class that was taking place. She jumped at the chance, so I sent the others off with daddy while I stood and watched her listening and participating in the class. While I was watching I was asked if I'd like to enter a competition to win a birthday party package valued at over two hundred dollars. We'd talked about having a party this year so I thought I might as well enter. The following week I received a message informing me that Mackenna had been the lucky winner.

Many of the parties we've been invited to this year the kids go and do an activity for two hours, mine eat too much sugar and then they come home with a lolly bag and the other children WANT something from the bag. As you can imagine this isn't going to work with a Yoga Party. I've had to rethink all the things Mackenna has wanted talked about all year, now I have to find a tranquil space to create a calm space, it also needs to feel like a birthday party and the food needs to be healthy so that the kids can be relaxed while participating in the Yoga.

After looking online I decided to make our own invitations as this allowed me to add the details that Mackenna wanted. To create the invitations Mackenna and I sat down together to choose the font, image and the size in PicMonkey. Caelan also helped with the wording which made my job even easier. I then took Mackenna off to Officeworks to print off the invitations.

After the printing was completed we walked across the road to a local scrapbooking shop to purchase some cardstock for the invitations. While we were designing the invitations Mackenna had already decided that she wanted to use purple, pink, yellow, blue and red as the colours for her invitations. So when we arrived at the scrapbooking store I had Mackenna choose her favourite colours in the cardstock and we purchased two sheets of each colour (leftovers to be used later). Each invitation ended up costing us twenty cents which is the least I've ever paid for an invitation.

With this in mind I decided to make my own envelope due to the size of our invitation. As the invitation is small (10 cm by 10 cm OR 4 by 4 inches) I needed to create an envelope that wasn't going to be to big. I had Mr Opoes print off an image from Google Images and then he reduced it in size to fit an A4 piece of paper. I traced out the first envelope I needed onto a piece of card (similar to what you would use to do a school project with) as you want something that'll bend easily. I then cut out the shape and folded the flaps inwards.


I then placed the invitation inside the envelope templet and using some double sided tape I marked on the inside of the templet were the tape should stop. You could also use glue for this part but I found the tape easier to work with. I also stuck a coloured jewel on the envelope with double sided tape so that the girls could open the envelope easily.

Mackenna was really happy with the invitation and as each invitation cost me fifty cents to make I was really happy. The girls enjoyed receiving them and they were small enough for the children to put on the fridge or noticeboard at home without it taking up too much room. I was also able to carry the colour scheme though to the rest of the party and each girl received additional items that matched their invitation. This also allowed me to do all the colouring in I needed to do in one go as I knew how many of each colour I needed. So tell me do you make your own invitations or do you buy them. Although this took time Mackenna was over the moon and that's all that mattered.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sweet Potato Scones

Growing up I loved getting into the kitchen on the weekend and doing some cooking. When I first started on my cooking journey I didn't do so well but I slowly learnt how to make the basics. The one basic I never mastered was scones and it wasn't from lack of trying. My scones have been doughy, resembled rock cakes, crummy and not edible. So when we went out to Warwick for a Sunday drive during the school holidays I jumped at the chance to buy some lovely Pumpkin Scones for the children's morning tea.

The next day after purchasing four kilograms (81 pounds) of sweet potato I decided to make Sweet Potato Scones using the Thermomix, because there's no way the Thermomix could mess up scones. So after a little bit of research I found a light and fluffy gluten free scone on the Quirky Cooking Facebook page. I made a few changes to the original recipe because I didn't have everything on hand but overall I was really happy with the outcome of the scones. I also made them in a muffin tray instead of on a baking tray the first batch spread out.

Sweet Potato Scones
300 grams sweet potato
300 grams self-raising flour
60 grams butter
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs
150 grams milk

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spray with a little bit of cooking spray.
2. Cut the ends off each potato and place in the oven until soft and roasted through, depending on the size of the sweet potato this could take up to 30 minutes.
3. Once cooked, remove from the oven, cut open the skin and scoop out the cooked flesh. Mash with a potato masher or set aside for later.
4. Add flour, butter and salt to Thermomix on speed 6 for 5 seconds.
5. Add eggs, milk, reserved sweet potato and mix 6 seconds on speed six or until just combined.
6. If the mixture is too wet add a little bit more flour and if it's too dry add a little bit more milk.
7. Drop large tablespoons full onto your lined tray, placing them close together.
8. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown on top.
9. Serve with jam and whipped cream.

There are heaps of different scone recipes so tell me do you have a favourite recipe that you use or are you lucky enough to be using a recipe that your grandmother passed down to you. I've always wanted to use my grandmothers recipe but with children who don't like cooked sultanas I'd end up having to eat them all on my own. So tell me what type of scones do you love.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Playroom Inspiration

We've lived in our not so new house for two years now and I'm presently looking to create a kid's area for the children to play in, create in and study in. With four children ranging in ages between nine and two it can be some what difficult to make the space work for everyone all the time. I knew straight up that I wanted the room to be multifunctional while also making it a fun and happy place to play in. So the first thing I did was search Pinterest to great some ideas of what makes a great playroom.

If you click on my Pinterest board you'll notice that colour, reading and homework area play a large roll when I've chosen the pins I've picked. In this post I thought I'd share my favourite playroom finds and the idea behind what I was thinking when I pinned each picture.

Love the colours and the amount of storage for toys.

Love the coloured canvas storage cubes and the little reading
nook between the bookcases.

A great bench seat that would be ideal for a reading nook.

Cushions for a reading nook to encourage
the kids to read.

Love the book cover letter to promote reading.

Long desk for all four children to sit at when
everyone is at school.

Love. Love. Love the colours in this room. It's so what I want for our
space because it would make you smile.

Love this rug and would love to great
something similar to it.
As you can see I have picked images that have a heap of storage within the room as well as lots of colour. If I had to describe my design criteria for the kids playroom I'd say that it might look like a 'Rainbow has thrown up in the room'. I'm wanting the colours to work within in the room without competing so I'm hoping that I'll e ale to pull this off when it all comes together.

In the coming weeks I'll share a few things that I've achieved so far within the room. I've got plans to paint a recently purchased bench seat using a new Australian made chalk paint that was released by a local business called Canterbury Blue Shabby Chic Furniture. The paint is called Chalk EZ2 Paint it's really easy to use and I'll go into more details when I get my seat finished.

I can't wait to share the things I've completed with you and I'm hoping that I get everything finished. I've now found the few things that I spent months searching for and I just need to find the time once school goes back to get this project FINISHED. Don't hold you're breath projects in this house seem to take forever to get completed. Wish me luck I'm sure I'll get there ha ha.


Monday, 7 July 2014

Donut Pudding

I love winter but this year we seem to be experiencing chilly winds and very cold nights so most nights we're enjoying so a few hot and comfy desserts after our main meal. The upside is the kids are eating their dinner most nights and we're getting to finish off dinner with a yummy warm dessert. While at the supermarket the other night I was walking through the bakery section and I noticed that they were marking down a heap of sweet treats. Walking over I was hoping to find a bargain for the kids morning tea but what I found was even better. I picked up three packets of cinnamon donuts and a a packet of date scones for $2.00 which was a fifth of the usual price. Bargain. Now for my two dollars I got 18 cinnamon donuts and 4 scones.

Straight away I knew what I was going to do with both of the sweat treats I'd purchased. Last year I shared with you my childhood favourite dessert Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding and this time I thought I'd use the donuts and scones separately to create this classic bread pudding. I decided to make a Donut Pudding using the same principle as the classic recipe.

Donut Pudding
18 cinnamon donuts
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 cups of milk
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs until they're well combined. Add sugar and milk and continue mixing until well combined.
3. Pour a small amount of the egg mixture into your medium oven proof dish.
4. Cut each donut into slices and place them on top of the egg mixture. When you've used up all your donuts carefully pour the remaining egg mixture over the top of the donuts.
6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until its firm to touch.
7. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving with ice cream.

In total this dessert end up costing me just over $5.00 and of five people I thought that wasn't two bad especially when everyone will get two serves each. Overall, I'm really happy with the way it turned out and the kids thought it was great. I decided to make another pudding using the date scones and with the same egg mixture and a little bit of butter on each piece of scone, it turned out beautifully.

I had one happy husband and four excited children after making both these desserts. I think next time I find that donuts have been reduced at the end of the day I'll grab a packet or three and make up this dessert again. Maybe next time I might even try it using jam filled donuts as that'll give it a nice gooey jam flavour to the entire pudding.


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Caramel Gluten Free Cookies

My children love cookies and its been ages since I've made a batch of cookies for them. So last week I set about making these Caramel Cookies for the kids just before I left to do school pick up. The plan was to have them finish cooking just as I was about to drive away, hopefully they would still be warm by the time we got home. However, what I got out of the oven was nothing like the picture in the recipe book. They looked terrible but they did taste nice and the kids seemed happy.

I posted this picture of my FLAT COOKIES on my Facebook Page and I also shared it with a few other blogging friends. Thankfully I had a few people give me some suggests on how to selvage my cookies. The suggestions made so much more sense as did reducing the cooking time and with these few piece of helpful information I was able to make some more Caramel Cookies. So here is my version of the Caramel Cookie, I hope you have the same success as I did the second time round.

Caramel Gluten Free Cookies
110 grams butter, not to soft
110 grams brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 small egg
230 grams of gluten free self-raising flour
30 grams of cornflour (make sure it doesn't contain gluten)

1. Pre heat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until the mixture has changed colour slightly.
2. Add the syrup and egg and mix until its light and fluffy.
3. Mix in the flour and cornflour until a soft dough has formed and the texture is such that you can roll into tablespoon sized balls. It your dough is to soft add about 10 grams of flour until the dough has formed.
4. Place on a lined baking tray, 2cm apart and press each gently with a fork.
5. Bake for 7 minutes or until golden.
6. Cool completely before eating and enjoy with a glass of cold milk.

Gluten Free Cookies

I'm really happy with the how the cookies look. They kept there shape, they didn't melt all over the baking tray like the first batch and they were ready to eat five minutes quicker than the first batch. In my world that's a good thing because it means my kids are eating quicker and complaining less about been hungry. I'd love to hear about the disasters and the successes you've had when making cookies and cakes.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Banana Pancakes

In my family my sister is known for her love of sharing recipes on Facebook. My brother thinks its strange but as a male who's in his twenty's he doesn't have the desire to create quick, simple and delicious things. I'm always guaranteed that my sister will share something that the kids will want to eat of that Mr Opoes will spot and start drawling over for awhile. So when she shared these Banana Pancakes on Friday night I knew straight away we'd be having them for breakfast sometime during the long weekend. 

As Monday was a public holiday for the Queens Birthday (we changed the date so we celebrate it after her actual birthday) and I knew the kids would love having something special I wiped up these pancake in a matter of minutes thanks to my Thermomix, however you can still make them without one. I've included both the recipes because sometimes it makes for difficult reading.

Banana Pancake
1 egg
1 Banana, mashed up
1 cup Milk
1 cup Self Raising Flour

1. Sift flour and add a pitch of salt. Add the egg.
2. Beat gradually while adding the milk and mix until its thick and smooth.
3. Add banana and mix through.
4. Heat non-stick frying, pour desired quantity into frying pan. Cook until bubbling on top and then flip.
5. Serve with maple syrup and sliced banana.

Banana Pancake (Thermomix)
1 egg
1 Banana, mashed up
1 cup Milk
1 cup Gluten free Self Raising Flour

1. Add banana and egg speed 7 for 5 seconds or longer if you want your banana to be smoother. Scrap down the side of the bowl.
2. Add milk, salt and flour on speed 8 for 15 seconds until its smooth.
3. Heat non-stick frying, pour desired quantity into frying pan. Cook until bubbling on top and then flip.
4. Serve with maple syrup and sliced banana.

Tip: you can use any types of milk it's up to you. You can also use any type of flour be it gluten free or wholemeal but you need to remember to use 175 grams of flour whenever you make this recipe.

I really like how versatile this recipe is. As it's Winter here in Australia I really liked how basic this pancake recipe was. Next time I make this for the children I going to put warm caramelised bananas on top. If you're enjoying the lovely Summer weather at the moment you could add fresh berries or a tropical fruit salad on top to accompany your pancakes.

The kids really enjoyed these pancakes and I was able to get my four year old to eat these. She isn't a huge fan of pancakes but when she eats three of them for breakfast and asks you for more you know you're on a winner.


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Costco will it work for us!

A week ago Costco opened in Brisbane, Australia and the number of people who visit the store is amazing. People camped out overnight just to be the first in line, some of them even missed watching 'The State of Origin' (big football match here in Australia) and others spent ages in line waiting for the large cues to shuffle through the doors. Since it's opening last Thursday our major media outlets have done there best to either sell Costco as a great thing for people OR they've fallen over themselves to give you all the negatives.

I've seen a few media reports on the television about Costco and I must admit they're trying really hard to sell the other three major (Woolworths, Coles and Aldi) grocery stores as been better value for money. I tend to shop at all three for different things but the majority of my shopping is done at Aldi and that's because I can get better value for money. The only things I buy in bulk is toilet paper, nappies and rice so having an issue with storage isn't a big deal. Now with our family of six I tend to spend around the $200 mark for a weeks worth of groceries and that covers everything. There are weeks when I spend more, especially if I don't FAIL to draw up a Menu Plan.

So when a girlfriend offered to take me to Costco for a look see I was really excited to say the least. The car park was nearly full by the time we arrived arrived. I took my youngest two children with me and when I told them what we were doing they jumped up and down. Their reaction was priceless and I was lucky enough to get a picture of them.

I spent about 90 minutes walking around the store and honestly I have to say that I probably only saw about forty percent of the store. In part this was because my little boy was tried and I straggled to keep him in the trolley. He was happy when various Costco ladies offered him food samples, which he took, ate and said thank you for. Although he was in a bad mood I was pleased that he did remember to say Thank You.

I did make a purchase from the bakery section so that the kids could taste something yummy after school. However, what Viveca and Quinlan enjoyed the most was the Hot Dogs after we'd paid for our purchases. My girlfriend contacted me later in the day, letting me know she'd returned to purchase the strawberries and blueberries we'd spoken about as we walked around the store.

I haven't made up my mind yet as I'd like for Mr Opoes to take a look before we sign up to becoming members of Costco. So far I'm happy with what I saw especially as Costco has more health food items than my local supermarket does. One thing I'm thinking of doing is doing up a price comparison per 100 grams to see if Costco offers me value for money. I read an article today from Christina, Plain and Simple and she raises a few points relating to the true value of Costco and other Wholesale group.

I have decided that I'm going to wait a few more weeks before deciding to sign up or not as I'd like to take a better look inside and preferably without the children in tow. I would have to say that I am very interested in the store especially if I'm able to make some savings with our food budget. I'd love to know if you're a Costco customer and how long you've been shopping there.


Friday, 30 May 2014

Rustic Ricotta, Egg and Zucchini Pizza

Just because you're egg free, gluten free or dairy free doesn't mean you have to miss out on having pizza! Last weekend I wanted to create a delicious pizza that didn't look boring, inedible or just plain weird. Since finding out that I can't tolerate gluten I've tried using a few things to create a great pizza base and none of them have wowed me. About six months after becoming gluten free I tried to make a potato pizza base, I've tried a cottage cheese and potato base, rice paper rolls and my all time favourite FLOP was the rice, egg and cheese base. So when I discovered a gluten free base that was similar to our local pizza shops 'deep pan base' at the supermarket I was in heaven.

Recently I purchased a new cookbook 'Quirky Cooking' by Jo Whitton and Thermomix. In the past I've purchased cookbooks that are specifically designed for people with a gluten intolerance and all the pictures look beautiful but the taste isn't always the best. Jo's book is completely different, the pictures look great and the food tastes good as well. So when I saw her recipe for #Egg and Zucchini Pizza I knew that I had to give it a go. Now as always I change recipes up because I need them to fit into my budget, the ingredients I have and to the likes of my children. So with Jo's help this is the recipe I came up with.

Rustic Ricotta, Egg and Zucchini Pizza

Pizza Sauce
2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves
2 sprigs basil, leaves only
2 sprigs oregano
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
pinch fine sea salt
80 grams tomato paste

Ricotta, Egg and Zucchini Topping
400g zucchini, cut into quarters
150g sun-dried tomatoes, cut in strips
2 eggs
100 grams soft ricotta
capsicum, cut into fine strips
3 mushrooms, thinly sliced 
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
pinch of salt

Pizza Dough
1. Preheat oven to 210°C. Prepare your pizza dough as per recipe and place it on your pizza tray.
2. Set aside.

Pizza Sauce
3. Place all ingredients into mixing bowl and blend 4 sec/speed 5.
4. Spread over pizza base.
5. Rinse and dry your mixing bowl.

Ricotta,Egg and Zucchini topping
6. Place zucchini into mixing bowl and chop 4 sec/speed 5. Spread zucchini over pizza sauce.
7. Top with sun-dried tomatoes, capsicum and mushrooms.
8. Bake for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from oven. Place spoonfuls of ricotta around the outside of the pizza base to keep the egg in.
10. Lightly beat eggs with a fork, then drizzle over pizza and sprinkle with herbs and salt.
11. Bake for a further 8-10 minutes at 210°C or until the egg is cooked and the pizza is lightly browned on top.
12. Allow to cook slightly before slicing and serving.

Now if you don't have a Thermomix you can use a blender to mix all the ingredients together to make the Pizza Sauce and to chop up the zucchini. Just follow the instructions as above and remember to clean the blender between both step.

All in all I had this pizza all made and cooked with 40 minutes. Mr Opoes and I really enjoyed our pizza and as I made small pizza's for the children using small pita breads they had their pizza's within 20 minutes. Nearly everyone liked their pizza's but I did have to make a few changes to Quinlan's one. I ended up adding more vegetables to his pasta sauce and I making him an Egg, Ham and Cheese Pizza.

If you want to make it more of a meal I would suggest adding a garden salad to go with a pieces of pizza. This also allows you to add some more vegetables to your daily allowance, this is one reason why I enjoy making pizza for our family as I'm guaranteed that we'll all have at least 5 serves of vegetables in this one meal. What's your favourite pizza topping?


Friday, 23 May 2014

Fussy Eaters

This is not the topic I was going to write about today but I thought I'd share my thoughts with you about a FUSSY EATER I have living in my house. For those of you who know my little blog, you'll know that I have four children aged 9, 5, 4 and 2. God has blessed me with babies who've slept well, feed well, had no teething issues and who've all been relatively healthy. However, for the last nine months I've been battling with my 2 year old at every meal.

We've had days when all he's eaten is two pieces of bread with peanut butter, there's been days when he's refused dinner so he's gone to bed without eating. We've gone to the doctors numerous times, visited a Paediatrician and even written down everything that's gone into his mouth. His weight has gone up, then gone down but still it's a battle to get him to eat three meals and two snacks a day. One thing I've noticed during the last nine months is he'll line up to eat meals that aren't healthy BUT once meat and three vegetables is put on his plate he'll walk away from the table.

Now this is not to say that we eat take out everyday of the week, in fact we haven't have eaten one meal from the Golden Arches since January 1st and we've ordered a pizza once because the meal I made burnt. If I want to have takeaway I'll make my own pizza's, hamburgers or fish 'n' chips and these meals go down a treat. However, this is the only time I'm guaranteed that my 2 year old will eat his meal and ask for more. So you can imagine that I've tried a few ways to hide vegetables in his favourite meals and I'm also trying new ways to make meals.

I recently purchased Jo Whitton's 'Quirky Cooking' cookbook as it's filled with allergy friendly recipes for the entire family. Now Jo has a blog called Quirky Cooking and she shares more recipes on her blog that aren't even in her book. One thing Jo asked her readers was to share pictures of the foods you've made to #quirkycookbook so that she can see what people are making and saying about her recipes. So I quickly took a few pictures and I added them to Instagram (my user name is oneplusoneequalssix) for Jo to see. Both meals I made were eaten by everyone except our 2 year old.

As you can imagine when I served up dinner the following night and again it wasn't eaten I knew I had to come up with something that would allow him to get all the nutrition he needed from the meal. My 5 year old is participating in a Junior Master Chef class at the moment and she had made Fried Rice so I decided to use this to accompany the 'Spicy BBQ Chicken' from Jo's book. The following morning I tried to get my fussy eater to have some of the rice but as you can guess he wasn't having it and that's when I had a brilliant idea.

I turned his 'Spicy BBQ Chicken and Fried Rice' into Spicy BBQ Chicken Pancakes or Savoury Pancakes which he loved so much that he ate the remaining pancakes for lunch. Now this method does take a bit of extra work but if I can do this every couple of days he'll get his daily serve of vegetables, some protein and he'll also be participating in family time while we're all sitting at the dining table.

I'd love to hear what you've done to help a fussy eater eat with everyone else, especially as I think he might get sick of pancakes soon. I did think of muffins but he's not a huge fan of my muffins as we'd have mini quiches that looked like muffins the previous night. I'm hoping that this fussy eating doesn't go on for too much longer.