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

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.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Decluttering Success

When I started decluttering this house there was one goal I needed to achieve and that was to clear out the kids bedrooms. I'd noticed over time I'd allowed the kids to bring things into their bedrooms that just didn't belong and this was adding clutter to an already disorganised room. Luckily there was no food hidden away but the amount of clothing, toys, paper and pencils in each child's room was unbelievable. 

Both my daughters are really bad at bringing things into their rooms and hiding them away for later. My youngest daughter had pieces of clothing in her room that belonged to her sister, her little brother as well as having baby clothing in various sizes. She didn't even realise that these pieces didn't belong in her room. Her room was the first area I tackled as I needed to see how much clothing she actually had, whether or not the clothing she owned actually fitted her and what damage had been done to the room with her colouring pencils.

I followed a simple plan with each room as it forced me to stay on track and it also helped reduced the amount of time I spent in each room.
• pull everything out of the room
• sort like items into piles
• clarify what needs to be kept, donated or thrown out from each pile
• place kept items back into the room, put donated items into a bag, throw out items that aren't been kept
MOST IMPORTANTLY rehouse items that don't belong in the room
• vacuum the bedroom
• dust furniture and skirting boards
• vacuum bedroom again
• dress the room
• vacuum the room again

Following these few simple steps allowed me to get some areas finished quicker than others. However, I did decide to take my time with a few rooms as I knew that I could accidentally throw out important items that the children wanted to keep.

Overall, I was really impressed with how the bedrooms come together so quickly and I'm proud to say that both my girls have managed to keep their bedrooms clean for three weeks now. I'm in the process of drawing up a routine for them so that they know what my expectations for their bedrooms are. I'll hopefully get them printed, laminated and placed within their rooms so that its easy to read and follow.

I would say that I'm really delighted with the way their rooms have come together BUT it's obvious that I need to pull my finger out and get started on adding some style and personality to these bedrooms. I've spoken to my Star Wars mad, Lego obsessed son and we've come up with a few ideas of how to decorate his room. So I'm hoping that come the end of the year I may have created a kid friendly space that will carry him through to his teenage years. I'd love any suggestions or helpful advice.


Monday, 19 May 2014

14 days, 56 bags

Life in the One Plus One Equals Six house has been difficult in recent months, this has impacted on our day to day life. Recently I lost my grandmother which came as a shock, I'd always thought she'd be around and because of this I hadn't talked with her for a number of years. I had the opportunity to travel back home to New Zealand with my sister to say goodbye to her and to pay my respects. I'm so glad I did because she was a remarkable woman and during my time there I got to hear family and friends talk about her with such love.

When I returned home I decided it was time to get my life in order and to turn this house into a home. During the last eighteen months I've participated half heartedly in various decluttering tasks so that I could clear out all the excess items that we no longer needed to be carrying around with us. On 6th January I signed up with my sister to participate in a 52 week declutter challenge. Lets be honest I only did one of the challenges, every week I read what my sister had done while sitting down looking at all the stuff that was building up around me. It wasn't until I read a post by Corrie from Retro Mummy about how she was collecting 40 bags in 40 days to prepare for her families upcoming move that I got the motivation that I needed.

When we sold our house three years ago I was pregnant and not in the mood to pack up the house let alone declutter. So I packed everything we owned into boxes and we stored them away. Fast forward three years and we still have all the things from the previous house PLUS the things we've accumulated since moving in two years ago. When I started my 14 day challenge I knew that I'd need to create three different piles as the bags were going to different places. Pile 1 was rubbish which went to the dump, Pile 2 was for the local thrift shop and Pile 3 was for the 'reuse shop' at our local dump.

After 14 days 24 bags went to the dump, 26 bags were given to the 'Save the Children' thrift store and a total of 6 bags went to the Reuse Shop at the dump. The house is lighter and less cluttered but I still have a few more areas to finish off so I'm sure I could add to these numbers.

I'm pleased to say that with removing all these bags out of the house we've been able to create more space within the house. In the coming weeks I'm going to share with you some before and after pictures of the kids rooms and hopefully I'll be able to start decorating the kids bedrooms rooms.

So far I'm pleased with the effort that we put into decluttering the house. The children are also pleased with their rooms and they're putting in the effort of keeping it clean. So far the children have made their beds each day and the girls are putting all their clothes away each night. I'd call this a success and I wish I'd pulled my finger out and decluttered the house earlier.