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



Related Posts with Thumbnails