Saturday, March 31, 2012

{The Lunch Box Life :: Menu Ideas}

So, we have almost reached the end of term one for kindergarten. WOW! I know I had two days a week at prep last year with my 'big' boy to practice this new 'lunchbox life' idea. But the five days a week was definitely a new idea. And I am LOVING it!

Each day I have to pack lunch and what his school calls "Fruit Break". This has to be fresh fruit/ veg as a snack at 9:30. It has helped students attention and healthy intake also.
This is a typical example:

Friday, March 30, 2012

{Easter's a comin'!}

It's no secret to my family that I love to celebrate holidays and occasions. Whether it's Christmas, Valentines or in this case Easter...I love decorating with themed touches, and sharing a meal with those we love.

I have not really done many decorations For Easter in the past, but this year I couldn't resist. It all started with inspiration from this beautiful wreath.

So, here are a few things around our house that help to add the 'festive cheer' of this very special and significant calendar date.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

{The Old Shirt Gets A New Life}

They say that necessity is the mother of invention right?!
Whoever 'they' are ;)

Let me preface the problem by saying this. Before I got married I jokingly (ok seriously) said that "if you think your marrying someone who'll iron all your shirts and any other piece of linen lying around, you are sadly mistaken....I hate ironing and probably won't iron. Ever." Thank goodness He was trained well by my mother in law and actually can iron. He just hates it also. I digress.

Back to the problem:
He gets his shirts dry cleaned weekly and I am convinced this adds life to the shirts and our marriage also! But the pile of shirts on the floor was driving me bonkers! I needed a storage solution.

The answer:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thai Sweet Chili Chicken Rissoles with Coconut Infused Rice

So, browsing on my iPad last night, as I do frequently, I read the latest "SuperFood Ideas" Mag. This ap is great on the iPad because of the cooking mode and video tutorials. I have actually added many recipes to our family menu from this publication. Worth checking out on your 'newsstand' ;)

I was immediately taken by the cover recipe and decided to give it a go tonight.

These were DELICIOUS and they packed a punch of flavor!!!!! Instead of salad, I boiled some rice in coconut milk and infused it with some coriander. I used absorption method and when I turned the heat off and put the lid on, I popped a small bunch of coriander on the top to steam gently into the rice!

Oh my goodness!!! Seriously try this meal, a definite hit, and now I can't wait to eat these cold on a salad for lunch tomorrow. YUM!

Lauren x

Monday, March 19, 2012

{Family Matters : Things People Say}

I read a post from Naomi on the facenbook page for her blog (which I love) called "Seven Cherubs". As her blog suggests, she has a beautiful family with seven children aka 'the cherubs'. However, she has shared before how she became used to and slightly frustrated at comments about how large her family was. This particular day, she wrote about how a shop assistant said to her "don't you have a tv?" in which she quickly replied "don't you have any manners?"

It got me thinking, the comments really start from the moment there is a baby bump right?!? It suddenly becomes people's prerogative to comment on everything from ceaser vs natural birth, breast vs bottle, dummy vs thumb, age of solids, when they are crawling and then when you "pop out the next one".

I wonder why people think it becomes their business.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

{Making the Most of a BBQ Chicken}

I have to say I love the taste of a BBQ chicken, that charcoal slow cooked kind of taste is just delicious. I stopped buying them though until I found that some supermarkets now sell 'lilydale free range chickens'. They are still expensive, but I bought 2 the other day at $12 each and thought I would see how many ways I could use it.

So I divided the 2 chickens into three parts. The bones, and 2 bowls of shredded chicken meat. I kept one lot of chicken fresh and put the shredded meat from the second chicken into a zip lock bag. Put the bag open into fridge first to lower temp, and then close bag taking as much air out as possible before freezing for later use.

Chicken bones:
Don't throw away the bones of the 2 chickens. Place into a sauce pan. I have one with a pasta pot so it makes draining easier. If you don't have this you could easily use a colander that fits or strain after stewing. Chill down in fridge and then scoop off any impurities and freeze stock for later use.
Use this stock as a soup base, use it to cook risottos, rice dishes, curries, stews and casseroles.

Fresh Chicken:
1. Add some mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, chopped celery, salt and pepper and turn it into some chicken sandwiches with some baby spinach on fresh rolls (use mini rolls for lunchboxes - as above).
2. Mix the above mix through some cooked pasta and chill for chicken pasta salad.
3. Add with some favourite asian fillings to create rice paper rolls or sushi.
4. Top your favourite pizza with the shredded chicken
5. Use it to create chicken taco's by mixing it up with the taco sauce and heating through.
6. Top a baked potato with the chicken and various fillings you have on hand such as onions, cheese, capsicums, tinned corn, mushrooms and avocado.

Frozen Chicken:
7. Add your chicken into a delicious leek and parmesan risotto.
8. Use your chicken stock that you made from the bones (see below) and add chicken, soy sauce, noodles, tinned corn, sweet chilli sauce (or hot if you like), shallots and sesame oil before serving for a delicious winter soup.
9. Add some indian spices (we like ground corriander, ground cummin, ground cardamom) with some fresh ginger and garlic along with some veggies to make an Indian inspired stir fry (simmer sauces can also be helpful if your not confident with these flavours).
10. Use it to make a chicken pie filling. Add some stock to a basic roux and some other veggies and bake the pie till crust is golden.
11. Make them into quesadilla's by adding some grated cheese, and baby spinach in a torilla sandwhich and toast flat topping with lime guacamole.

I have found having the bag of frozen BBQ chicken in the freezer very helpful for those busy nights that you need to 'whip something up' in a hurry.

Lauren x

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

{NO Mess Golf Ball Painting}

Today after school the boys really wanted to do some painting. Since I have about 3.5 hrs after school to get home, play, dinner, bath time and then bed....painting isn't usually on the agenda.

However, they seemed extra keen and so I thought I'd try something I saw on play-school yesterday which seemed to be A LOT less messy than the inevitable finger-painting mess I envisaged.

-Sheets of paper
-1 cardboard box (large enough for paper to fit in base)
-2-4Golf Balls (this is what they used on play-school and we had many around the house after daddy's golfing trips...could probably use any other small balls or objects (experiment with what you have).
-A bowl with water and towel to wash after seen colours.

1. Place paper in bottom of box
2. Squirt dots of paint onto paper.
3. Place golf balls (or similar) into box and roll around.

We were all sitting in the grass outside together and we also closed the box up and shook it taking turns. Opening up the box once we had all shaken it was like Christmas morning with the suspense and surprise!
The boys also held a side each and rolled it back and forth. They had so much fun they didn't realize they were sharing....happily lol!

These were the results....they turned out so well. And NO mess at all!

Lauren x

Monday, March 12, 2012

{OGGI Cups}

{this is NOT a paid endorsement}

These cups caught my attention on a recent shopping trip to Victoria's Basement. I bought a blue one and a red one for my boys. At about $12 each, I was glad I only had two kids to buy for :) I wanted to get one for us too, but thought I'd trial these two and see if they worked. I have to say....


For a few main reasons these have been a great addition to our house.

FACT: They are BPA free (to read more on Bisphenol-A click here)
WHY I CARE: ummm....nnot poisoning my kids kinda seems self-explanatory ;)

FACT: They are double walled insulated.
WHY I CARE:Practically for me, this means you don't get the slippery condensation on the outside of a cold drink that makes cups slippery for little fingers.

FACT: The straw has a little 'nodule' on the bottom of it.
WHY I CARE: My adventurous almost 3 year old cant get the straw out once the lid is on making it a travel cup equaling MUCH less mess (tested many times!)

When I was out at trade secret last week, I found them for $8, so I bought a white and purple one for myself and hubby. Now we can take smoothies and other drinks in the car with a whole lot less mess than I have had in the past! WIN - WIN!

Lauren x

Monday, March 5, 2012

{The LunchBox Life : Fruit Sticks}

My fridge was filling up with fruit - mostly left over from a big fruit salad creation I had for hubby's party on the weekend! So, before it started growing fuzzy bits and resembling a science experiment, I got chopping!
I made about 50 or more (lost count) of these fruit sticks with paddle pop sticks. I popped some in the fridge for today and the rest in the freezer.

There are 5 main reasons why these are such a great idea in our house:
1. I get cheap fruit and Snap freeze it. This way I can still have berries and other summer fruit available as seasons change.
2. These can be popped into lunch boxes straight from freezer and will defrost slowly and help keep lunchboxes cool.
3. Eat straight from freezer for a healthy hot day treat.
4. The normal bamboo skewers are not good for school for obvious pointy reasons, so paddle pop sticks are safer for little ones.
5. We often eat breakky in car on the way to church (long story) and these would be great to put from freezer to fridge saturday night for a healthy addition to s breakky on the go.
These look adorable, and I'd your kids needed 'extra nudge' to eat healthy I reckon it would help, who doesn't live food on a stick?!
You may even find yourself eating these too ;)

Lauren x


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