Sunday, November 24, 2013

{Surviving Christmas : Tip 1}


It's almost that time. Christmas tree time. Whether yours is in a box in the garage or about to be chopped down and waiting to be chosen, it's coming. Everyone has there own traditions about when and how they decorate the trees. If you are like us, you wait with baited breath for the first of December and fill the house with Christmas music whilst the tree goes up. However, my social media feeds have seen some beautiful trees already go up in November. Some very keen Christmas spirit indeed!

Although my boys are 7 and 4 now, the past few years have seen little kids crawling and running around the house. I felt terrible rousing on them to not touch the ornaments in case they pulled them off and broke them. Those suckers are fragile and can shatter into shards you don't want near little children. Regardless if they are prized ornaments or cheaper ones.

When I discussed this with my very wise Mother-in-law years ago, she explained her very simple solution that has been a  lifesaver for us. Rather than try to contain the kids and make them feel like they are becoming a burden for simply being curious, contain the tree instead.
I picked up a second hand wooden playpen for $50 and assembled our tree inside. This helped keep the ornaments in one piece and the children could still enjoy the beautiful tree without me having to work overtime keeping them away from it. WIN - WIN!
This will be the first christmas in a while without the playpen, but we are obviously not throwing it out considering we will have a 8 month old princess crawling around next Christmas...(woah that's crazy to think about!)

Q: Do you already have your tree up? Are there any special traditions your family enjoys at this time?  

Lauren x

Monday, November 18, 2013

{It's a GIRL!!!}

I have clearly been falling a bit behind in blog land, but I think I have my mojo back. Last week we had our 19 week scan for bub which meant we were able to see (hopefully) what gender little bub is. We were both very keen to know, we also found out with our two boys what they were. From our perspective it helps us to prepare and bond much more, but I totally understand those that hang on suspense for the big reveal at birth too. 

We decided our family wasn't quite complete and didn't go into this wanting or trying for a particular gender, so any news was going to be great news. 
Once all the important measurements were made in regards to the organs and the like she announced to us we were having a GIRL!
Of course we were VERY excited, it is going to add such a new and different element to our family. Our boys can't wait to meet her already.

In order to tell the big brothers, I baked some pink cupcakes and iced them with white icing. We gave the cakes to them for dessert and told them there was a clue inside about their new baby brother or sister. When they started eating, they figured it out pretty quickly.   

Most of our family we notified first. Then I decided to reveal the news to a bunch of my girlfriends at our connect group that night with a larger version of the gender reveal cake. This one just used a bundt tin I already had and then I filled the hole with pink pearl sprinkles and covered the lot with white icing. 
My girlfriends were shocked and excited and it was such a fun way to reveal it to them. Plus, we all got some yummy cake to celebrate.

So, here is a photo of the little princess and I can't wait to see what she looks like in real life. Baby cuddles coming soon.....YAY!!!!!

Lauren x

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

{Coffee For Summer}

If your like me and love a caffeine hit but the thought of a hot coffee in summer makes you sweat, check this out!

1. Make a black coffee as you would normally but don't add milk. If you normally add sugar, add it now. I use my Nespresso maker, but instant or other machines will do the same thing.
2. Pour into ice cube trays and stick in the freezer. Once solid, I popped them into a labelled zip lock bag and made more.
3. Then as desired, place a few cubes into a chilled glass of your choice of milk (cows, almond, oat, soy would all work). I added some vanilla extract for taste too.

It is a delicious way to have a gentle and cool caffeine hit this summer! Yum!

Lauren x

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

{Shop The Kitchen}

Well it's been a while since I've been on here. Firstly because we are expecting baby number 3 here next year and the exhaustion and morning sickness has hit BIG time!

Also, my laptop broke and I prefer to blog from there instead of my phone, but oh well!

So, I don't know if its just me, but we send a small fortune on groceries. Honestly, it's ridiculous!

With that in mind, I've set myself a challenge where for a whole week I can not shop for groceries bar fresh milk. I have forced myself to 'shop the kitchen' by using supplies in my pantry/ fridge/ freezer and get creative.

So far I have made:
1. Pizza and Salad
2. Fish & Chips and salad
3. Banana Bread
4. Pumpkin and Lentil Curry served with rice and papadums
5. Strawberry Yoghurt with my Easy-Yo maker

I am going to check in here and post how I go for the second half of the week. It's amazing how much you keep in your kitchen without realizing it!

Q: Could you do it?
I wonder how I will go for the rest of the week ;)

Lauren x

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

{Creamy Pumpkin Gnocchi Bake}

I haven't posted a recipe in a while, just been in school holidays mode for a few weeks. 
Today I wanted to take a meal to a dear friend who just had a baby, and she is a vegetarian. Now, I love eating 'veggo' food at home, but this was SO delicious I reckon it would please any carnivore! If not, add a bit off bacon on top ;)
This dish was a surprising success as I set myself a challenge to 'shop the pantry/ fridge' and use what I had on hand. I kind of winged it and in normal fashion, I didn't really measure the ingredients. Here is my best efforts at recalling the exact measurements. In honesty though, this isn't a precision recipe like a sponge cake. This is the kind of cooking that you can be a little bit more relaxed and rustic with.  

1 Whole Butternut Pumpkin
2 cloves garlic
1 pkt Gnocchi 
Rosemary Sprig (I just got a stalk from our herb garden. Could also use sage)
Pine nuts (I used about 100g, but you could use more if wanted)
Parmesan Cheese (about a handful - 3/4 or 1 cup)
1/4 cup pouring cream
Salt and Pepper to season
Dried Porcini Mushrooms (optional)
Tasty cheese to sprinkle on top
Top with some fried bacon if not a vegetarian meal.

1. Cut your pumpkin in half length ways. Spray with oil spray and season. Place on an oven tray with garlic and roast until tender. (This step can be done ahead of time and refrigerated).
2.  Once it has cooled out of the oven, scoop out the flesh and puree with garlic in the blender/ food processor. Set aside.
3. Coat a frying pan with olive oil. Toast the rosemary and pine nuts until lightly coloured. Don't walk away here, otherwise it will burn. Scoop out with slotted spoon onto paper towel and set aside. 
4. Place the Gnocchi in the saucepan as per packet instructions.
5. Place pumpkin puree in the rosemary infused oil and heat on low heat. Add the Parmesan, cream, S&P, Pine nuts and rosemary. You could also add the dried mushrooms here (just hydrate with hot water first and drain before adding).  
6. Once the Gnocchi is cooked (floats to top and looks 'fluffy' and 'plump') scoop into the pumpkin mixture and fold through to coat. 
7. Top with some tasty cheese (to taste), a sprinkle of fresh rosemary. 
(At this point I fried up a little bacon to sprinkle on one of the dishes as only one of the couple is a vegetarian).
8. Place under grill or the oven to melt cheese on top and serve with fresh steamed vegetables. 

This will be definitely featuring on our dining table soon but in one large casserole style dish I think. 

Lauren x 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

{The Grateful FIVE}

I think one of the main battles for modern parenthood is the balance between wanting to give your kids all the things that we never had, and the struggle to keep them not focused on 'stuff' in an "I need this" society. We all want the best for our kids, there is no denying that. Keeping that balance in check can always be tricky though. I find it especially gets worse surrounding birthdays, Christmas etc... (read how I fight overindulgence at Christmas time specifically here).
The conversations are all about the toys, games and the fad's that come in and out like tamagotchi's, pillow pets, skylanders and polly pockets. Before you know it, you know which friend has all the toys and which friend is allowed to do everything and suddenly 'life just isn't fair'! Sound familiar. I hope it's not just me.

In our house I started a little slogan that swats that selfish "it's all about me" "it's all about stuff" and "I want, I need, more, more MORE!" attitude. The GRATEFUL FIVE is a saying that I can whip out of my motherhood tool belt anywhere, anytime. It works more with my 7 year old, but my 4 year old is starting to catch on slowly. Simply said, All i have to say is GRATEFUL FIVE, and my son must list 5 things he is grateful for right now. To make the list, it must not be focused on 'stuff' or things' i.e. 'I am grateful I have the biggest skylander collection'.
It totally takes the focus off them and back on to the important things in life. Some of the things he has suggested are 
- the chats we have on the way home from school 
- that Daddy likes reading me my star wars books to me
- for the rain today that helped farmers
- to have a warm and comfy house to live in etc...

So, why not try this with the kids when they get too caught up in the 'stuff' and forget the blessings that are around them. Whether it's a grateful 2, 3, 4 or 5...the principle is the same. Perhaps it's even us as adults that need to do this from time to time too. 

Lauren x

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

{The Countdown is on}

Children love to count down. We count down how many sleeps till Christmas, birthdays and holidays. They love looking forward to occassions. "Are we there yet?" "Is it my birthday yet?" "How many sleeps till...?" Sound Familiar?

It is sometimes hard for a young child to understand a length of time. Saying "its in two weeks" to a young child is as successful as if you were to say "oh, just wait a year".

So, years ago, we started helping our boys understand the various countdowns by using this visual aid. 

We simply place a sign on the fridge with what we are counting down to. Then attach a few paper chain per 'sleep' until the countdown event. In our house, every morning, the boys love running down the stairs and tearing off a ring and they love watching the chain get smaller and smaller. It helps them to visually have a concept of something that is quite abstract for a young child.
We have 7 sleeps to go until a certain boys 7th birthday. This morning the first thing he looked for was to loose a ring off the chain. It has become a real tradition in our family that my kids look forward to.    

Lauren x


Friday, June 28, 2013

{Learning to Read Activities}

Mr. 4 has become very interested in reading and learning, I think mainly because his 'big bro' is a very independent learner and also partly because we encourage it a lot in our house. 

Each week I put up a new word on the fridge for each son. They are each at a very different stage of learning, so the words account for that variation. It takes no time at all to prepare, especially when the template is done and you just update the new word. I have a few 'word of the week' templates saved and just print off the next one each Sunday night ready for the week ahead. 

Some examples for my 4 year old learning his 2 letter words:
at - it - be - on - to - do - am - so

Some examples of the words my 6 year old is learning:
perseverance - versatile - isolated - contemplate - fortunate - collaborate - persuade - satisfy
(I also add the meaning and an example of the word for my older sons word).

Another step I have taken with my 4 year old to help him practice the words we learn, is a game he has called the 'car park game'.  This is a great way to take something my son loves and use it to benefit both the fun element and the learning too.

Here I just printed off the page and added it to the quiet book I made for him a while back {link here} after laminating it.
Simply said, you get a few different cars and I challenge him by asking:
- "Can you drive the red car to the number 13?"

- "Can you drive the train to the word 'at'?"  etc...

He gets such a kick out of it, but in all honesty I thought he would play with it for about 5 minutes. He carried it around with him for the majority of the day and just played. Little did he know he was actually practicing sight words. In my opinion, the best learning with kids is done when they are actually having fun! 

Lauren x

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

{We almost missed the Big Red Car}

In about 2 weeks, my eldest boy turns 7. I have loved watching him grow up and move into a new phase in his life. His interests and passions are blooming and evolving. We are (somewhat) out of the world of 'toys'. He loves reading, playing sport, the occasional sky landers game and Star Wars fever has hit our house hard!
However, when he was the age of his little brother (3-4yrs) he was still into things like play school, wiggles and Thomas.

My (just) 4 year old often follows exactly what his big brother does. They refer to each other as best mates and have recently moved into the same room (after many requests from them both). Little bro thinks big bro is a rock star and practically worships the ground he walks on.

Sometimes I forget he is still just 4 and so I put on a play school and a wiggles episode recently to break up the monotony of being indoors from the Sydney rain. I was initially met with "its a baby show", but he didn't move the entire episode of either!

Maybe it's inevitable with the second sibling that they miss out on some of these things and are swept up with what big brother/ sister watches. Perhaps it's even more this way when siblings are the same gender?

Either way, it was nice to just watch my 4 year old enjoy being a preschooler and sing along to some nursery rhymes etc...

Has this happened in your house with the second child or is it just us?

Lauren x

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

{Smoked Salmon Rillette}

When I was flipping through my cookbooks recently, I came across a recipe that I just HAD to try. It was found in Matt Moran's cookbook 'when I get home'.

It has a fancy name...a 'rillette' which is just a fancy name for a paste like condiment. Don't let the name turn you off, it packs a punch of flavor and it's very easy. I toasted some lebanese bread trianlges in the oven (spray with olive oil spay and sprinkle with salt) and served it on a chopping board next to the 'salmon rillette'. I could easily imagine it on some warm toast with a poached egg for breakfast too. Having a jar of this in the fridge is the kind of thing that you would use in many different ways, because it's so delicious. 

500ml vegetable stock
sprinkle of salt
300g salmon fillet
150g smoked salmon, chopped
100ml creme fraiche 
1/2 bunch of dill, chopped
1/2 red onion
pinch of cayenne pepper
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp capers or caper berries, rinsed and chopped
pepper to taste.

1. Boil the stock and season with salt. Place the salmon fillet in a heatproof bowl then pour with enough stock to  cover the fillet and seal with glad wrap. Set aside for 30 mins.
2. Place remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and mix gently until combined.
3. Flake the salmon fillet and separate from the skin. Place salmon flesh into the creme fraiche mix and place a little extra lemon zest and dill on top. 
4. Chill in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

Go ahead and try it, it's amazing. In the meantime, I am hanging to enjoy some in the morning with a poached egg for breakky...YUM!

Lauren x

Sunday, June 16, 2013

{Cookbook Obsessed}

One of my favorite things to do is just sit with a cuppa and a selection of cookbooks from my collection and just flip! (A few of my favorites are pictured above).

Cooking has always been and will always be a favorite thing of mine to do. I've described it before as a kind of edible artform. I love experimenting and playing, finding new ingredients, techniques and flavor combinations. Letting me loose on the kitchen is I suppose my version if therapy.

Today is a kid free morning for me, so I am taking a moment to browse my collection. A time to get inspired and add something new to my 'to try' list.

I know I have a tone of books, but to me you can learn so much about a culture, location and an era just by looking at what and how the food is/ was prepared. It is a fascination of mine that borders on an obsession and I am on the hunt to find some old vintage cookbooks to add to my collection (antique road trip anyone? lol).

Q: Do you like to browse cookbooks too? What cookbooks do you love having in your home?

Lauren x

Friday, May 31, 2013

{"You Broke Mummy!" & The Spitting Cauliflower}

Ever had one of those days?

For me I occasionally have days or moments when things just go totally off the rail  crazy! I mean the moments that leave you wondering if you totally lost your sanity or if it ended up in the sink full of dirty dishes hidden carefully and skillfully under the chopping board for no-one to see. Motherhood does that to you. Occasionally.
Let me rewind.
I have had at least one sick family member requiring nursing duties over the last three weeks. Scarce a day when we are all 100%.
Needless to say I'm over sickness!

However, I always try to soldier on. School pick up done. Home remotely clean. We are on the home stretch to bed time, surely 'happy hour' will pass us by. Right????! WRONG!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

{Sweet Potato Hummus : Super Food Heaven}

It's been a while since I've been on here...but I've missed my little space.
I thought I'd show you one of the new things I've added to the snack bar in our fridge and it has also been a great accompaniment to after school snacks and lunch boxes.

In my experience, kids are all about colour, variety and options (even the grown ups like this too). So, when you present a snack like this, who wouldn't love to dive in!

1. Start with raw fresh produce:
Simply cut up a variety of veggies. Take the opportunity to branch out from just carrot and celery, there's so much you can choose from. I've cut up carrots, celery, capsicum, cucumber, green beans, broccoli florets and grapes. You could also use snow peas, baby corns or even cauliflower florets. Stick to whats in season too, and you will cut down your costs massively.
2. Add some extra crunch:
I chose to add a few different crackers I had on hand and some BBQ floured corn kernels that my youngest son loves. You can choose whatever is on hand, but I usually have a packet or two of different crackers in the pantry in case I need to put together a platter at a moments notice (because that can happen quite frequently around here). 
3. Dip It Up:
This is the new hero in our family. Simply peel, cut up and steam a sweet potato (such a great superfood) and add it to the food processor next time you whip up some hummus {link here}. A few of my friends are rolling your eyes now saying 'of course you make your own' hummus. Trust me if you never have done it, try it! It is cheap, easy and if your like me, you'll never buy it again.

Lastly, I added some cheese to please the kiddies and voila! My boys and I literally devoured it!

Lauren x

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

{Follow Up Post : I Love You Because...}

A few months ago, I posted about the addition of the "i love you because..." frame in our master bathroom. {original post here}
I placed it on the wall between our mirrors and leave the whiteboard marker on top. Every few days we change the message and leave something new for each other. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

{Baby Shower Gift: Bunting Quilt}

A dear friend of mine is expecting her miracle princess soon. We celebrated her baby shower this past weekend. It was a beautiful afternoon catching up with friends, laughing, enjoying delicious pink food and drink. It was divine and precious. This precious princess already is very well dressed and has so many cute shoes and accessories before she has made her grand entry to the world. My beautiful friend (center) is the one expecting soon. Here she is with me (left) and another of our friends (right) whom decorated the whole pink affair with effortless style as she is known to do!

A special arrival deserves a special gift. I tried my hand at quilting and I had SO much fun. Albeit without some of the tools which would have made it somewhat easier (i.e. a walking foot). Hopefully I can acquire one soon before my second quilt attempt. 

{Homemade Rosemary and Olive Focaccia}

I have been following the beautiful photos on Instagram that have been popping up under Gourmet Girlfriend's hash tag #ggbreadrevolution. She has written so beautifully about the love of fresh bread, a warm crusty loaf that comes out of the oven, preservative, additive and number free. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

{Teeth Brushing Help For Kids}

I have never had a problem getting my boys to brush their teeth. Provided I buy the ONE toothpaste they like.
However, getting for them to brush longer than a few seconds has been a struggle.

Then I found this FREE App : "Macleans Nurdle Time".

It explains what they need to do and then plays a 2 minute song about tooth brushing. They now brush until the song finishes which is a massive improvement! They earn 'star' points for their brush and can trade them in for outfits to dress their characters up. There are up to 5 profiles for different family members too!

It's such a great idea and has helped take the pressure off the nagging in the morning to get that task done ;)

Lauren x

Thursday, April 4, 2013

{A New Motherhood : Parenting Beyond the Dummies & Rusks}

About six and a bit years ago, my husband and I ventured out of the hospital and embarked on the trip home. I remember that car trip like it was yesterday, because I have never seen my husband drive any slower than he did that day. We were both full of caution, nerves, excitement, joy and hope for this little man's future.

Recently this precious little bundle who is now a first grader and racing into his childhood with energy and charisma, has entered a new phase in life. It all started with some changes at school and he started to become slightly more emotional than I had ever seen him before.

Then, one day after school, I sat with him on his bead and lay next to him on his pillow. His big brown eyes welling up with tears as he explained his heartache over his day. I wiped his tears and longed for the days where I could make it all better with a google search or some children's panadol.

Then it dawned on me. We now enter a new faze of the journey. One where I sometimes hold his hands through the frustrations of navigating friendships, disappointments of life, discovering what makes him really tick and the big questions in life.
I sometimes long for the days where burping him, changing a nappy, handing him a rusk or giving him a rattle would soothe all his woes.

I guess I was (somewhat) prepared for bigger issues to happen as we raced towards the pre-teen stage of life. However, at his tender age of almost 7, I have been caught off guard.

Most mothers, I suppose, have moments of 'how on earth do i tackle this one'. Days where you have to pause and think as you (attempt to) form the words that dish out todays life lesson. Which as life would have it, is usually on the way home from soccer practice or whilst your elbow deep in potato peelings for that night's mash.

I started to lengthen our bedtime routine by making sure that after bathtime, teeth are brushed and story is read, I simply sit with him for a few minutes and just chat. Sometimes we laugh and sometimes we share deep thoughts.
I always want my boys to know that no matter how busy Mummy is, they are a priority. That no matter what happened at school, they can talk to me.

One book that I have loved reading to him after a 'hard day' is Max Lucado's : Just in case you ever wonder. I will leave you here with his eloquent words:

"But as you grow and change, some things will stay the same. I'll always love you. I'll always hug you. I'll always be on your side. And I want you to know that....just in case you ever wonder."

Lauren x

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

{Lunch Box Jokes}

My 6 year old is about to finish his first term of year one.
Recently his teacher has unfortunately had a few weeks off to have an operation. Whilst my son is normally well adjusted, this change has been a somewhat difficult one for us to adjust to.

So, to help him get through the day I have started occasionally (about every second day) popping a handwritten joke in his lunchbox with his sandwich. For him, having this surprise pop up half way through the day "reminds me of you mum...and it's really funny too".

It doesn't take much time, costs nothing and is a great way to touch base with your kids during the day, even when your not there. Simply google some kids knock knock jokes and you'll find a whole bunch that you can choose from. Above are some examples of how I themed the jokes for Easter last week. Even if your kids aren't having any 'settling issues' per say, What kid wouldn't love to open their lunch box to a funny lunchbox joke?! 

Submit your best kids joke ideas here in the comments section or on the homemade facebook page. 
Lauren x

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

{An Egg-cellent Easter Dessert Idea}

I couldn't resist the joke above - lol! A few sleeps till Easter, we love celebrating in our house and here is a snippet from something I did last year.
It's perfect if your having a family dinner for Easter this year. After you've had the main course, a special occasion calls for a special 'ta-da' moment dessert.

I posted yesterday about the Easter egg hunt cake (click here). Why not make that for the kids and trying something fun yet sophisticated for the grown up's.

Easter Cheese-Cake Eggs:
This is a tricky recipe to give measurements for as it depends greatly on the size of the chocolate eggs you use.

Get Ready:
You could use fancy vintage heirloom egg cups. If you have them go for it. OR, use an egg carton and cut it up for individual serving.
Then unwrap a hollow chocolate egg and gently crack off some of the top and set aside (slash nibble on them for sustenance whilst cooking for your family - I know you want to lol).

The "egg white" filling:
Mix up done cream cheese, castor or icing sugar in an electric mixer. Add a teaspoon of vanilla, a splash of fresh lemon juice and some lemon rind. Taste test to make sure it has a good balance.
Spoon into the 'egg shells'.

Top it with the Yolk:
Strain some passion fruit pulp so you don't have the seeds left and place in the middle of the cheesecake mixture. You could also use mango pulp or lemon curd if you prefer.

I served these last Easter and they were very well received. The great thing is that they are portioned, so depending on the size of the egg, you may leave your guests wanting more! (That's not a bad thing ;)
Lauren x

Sunday, March 24, 2013

{How To Make an 'Easter Egg Hunt' Surprise Cake}

Last year I made the teachers at pre-school Easter Egg Cake Pops (see here).
This year I wanted to do something fun and different.

Introducing the Easter Egg Hunt Cake! 

Start with the Cake:
Basically you require a round cake with a whole in the middle. There are two main ways you could do this.
1. Use a ring tin. I didn't have a regular ring tin, so I used a bundt tin that I had on hand anyway.
You also need to put some batter in a small cake tin/ ramekin to use as a topper.  
2. You could even bake a regular round cake and cut a hole in the middle afterwards with a cup or something else round. If you've cut a hole out of the middle, set aside.

Fill The Cake:
Buy a packet of candy covered Easter eggs (the ones without foil) and fill the hole with them. Place the extra cake circle on top of the Easter eggs.

Finish The Cake:
Use a vanilla butter cream (or similar - choices are endless) and frost the entire cake using a swirled kind of texture. This is so that you can't see the extra circle hiding the hole.

As this was a gift I didn't get a photo of the finished product when cut. However, if you were serving this for a family Easter dinner, there would be such WOW factor at discovering the hidden Easter eggs inside as you cut it at the table!

How much fun is that! I hope that however you and your family celebrate, you have a great Easter!

Lauren x

Thursday, March 21, 2013

{Bringing a Meal To a Friend in Need}

There are many reasons why a friend may need a meal. I am sure you have taken a meal to someone with a new baby, recovering from an illness, lost a job, a very busy week or maybe they are about to move or just moved into a new house. There are many reasons why you may take a meal to someone in your world.

No matter what the reason, there are a few things that make this gift of generosity one that will be appreciated.

1. Give warning:
If someone isn't coordinating the meals, call or message ahead to see what time is convenient for them.

2. Make it Brief:
Don't turn up with the whole family on the doorstep and make yourself at home. Organize (if possible) to have your kids minded while you drop the meal off and unless they offer, don't plan on staying or going inside. The reason your dropping a meal may mean that persons life is a little hectic and their house may be in a state of organized chaos that they may not feel like showing it off!
Also, don't stay and chat although there is likely to be a lot to share, deliver it with a smile and politely excuse yourself so the family can enjoy the meal you have made.

3. Serve it Thoughtfully:
Don't drop your meal off in your best baking dish. Often the recipient will have better things to do than coordinate the handing back of all the dishes they have received. There are plenty of disposable options which also gives them a night off washing up too. If you want to make it extra presentable, place meals in a cheap dish/ jar that you bought (ie from Kmart) and male sure you say that you don't want it back.

3. Dietary Requirements:
Know who you are making a meal for. Are they a vegetarian, gluten intolerant, do they have young kids that are unlikely to eat anything fancy or a new mum who may not want spicy curry if feeding.
Always include a list of ingredients on anything you made or you took out of the packet. This avoids any confusion.

4. Variety:
Whenever a friend has meals coming in there are often a lot of main meals. I have often been thanked for including a side salad, muffins, brownies, a loaf of bread, homemade muesli, a jug of juice or a small bag of groceries to help with the rest of the day.

5. Be Sensitive to Time:
If you are bringing a meal for that night, don't turn up at 8:00 when they may eat much earlier. If weeknights are tricky, consider offering a weekend delivery or perhaps offering to drop off one night for the previous evenings' meal.

Now there are some suggestions for the delivery and 'etiquette' of meals to those that may need it.

Q: Have you ever been the recipient of a meal? What was a favorite meal/ snack you have been given?

Lauren x

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

{Slow Cooker Roast & No-Potato Mash}

Tuesday afternoons now are busy afternoons due to soccer training that finishes right before dinner time. Since its Autumn, and we are heading into winter, it's the perfect time to get my slow cooker out and make my time away from the house work for me.

I bought an $8 roast beef from Aldi and put it in the slow cooker dish. Then i covered it with:
- A jar of passatta sauce (or tinned diced tomatoes if that's what's on hand)
- Splash of left over red wine (or open some vino and have a glass with dinner).
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 an onion sliced
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 tin of butter beans or other white beans
- salt and pepper

{I actually then put the bowl back in the fridge and let it marinade overnight. You can prepare the meal in the morning for the same night.}

Turn on high at lunch time (or low in the morning) and hours later walk in the door to the delicious scent of a tender, juicy 'fall apart' roast. The best part is the sauce creates a delicious kind of a gravy.

I served it with green beans and a no potato mash. Simply cook some cauliflower and mash it with a tin of white beans. Then season it with a tsp of garlic powder, a TBL of margarine and salt & pepper. As I can't have potato at the moment this makes it possible for the family to eat the same meal at the same time.

This was met with rave reviews in the house, definitely doing this again!!!

Lauren x


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