Some Food

I was back on my feet yesterday after being unwell… lucky, as I had a full day intensive for Yoga Teacher Training. Lucky, again, as it finished early at 3.30pm giving me time to come home and spend some time in the garden with my family (and to pick the limes pictured above from our tree). After such a hectic few weeks I was longing for my girls and KB in between various pranayama and philosophical (mind blowing) talk!

I took the time to go for a walk during yoga lunch break and feel the ground under my feet. I’m learning more and more the simple value of this.

Once I was home though, I hit the kitchen and started getting prepared for the week. In the girls’ lunches this week they have these (with oats instead of cashews) and these (with tahini instead of peanut butter) and sneaky veg muffins, a recipe from Meagan back in her old blogging days which I can no longer find online. I keep meaning to ask her if I can share the recipe here, as it is a much loved one in our house.

To add to that I throw in some veg sticks, hommus, and usually a sandwich. Today I sent the Pixie to kinder with some rice and tuna warmed up in a thermos and surprisingly she ate the lot, so over the colder months I will aim to use up some leftovers instead of sandwiches every day which I don’t tend to like giving them so much.

I also made some granola as I’m so damn sick of porridge in the mornings! I have it with a spoonful of porridge, coconut yoghurt, frozen berries and a dash of maple syrup. Don’t mind if I do.

In General

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2016-04-04 16.11.15It’s late afternoon and the sun is streaming through my back door into the kitchen. Lentil and red kidney bean soup is being heated on the stove, fruit is being stewed to add to yoghurt and probiotics for a snuffly baby for dinner, cacao nib cookies have been cooked for school and kinder lunches, and honey ambrosia has been made to dollop on porridge in the early mornings. I’ve also got a batch of gelatine-based jelly setting in the fridge which I am hoping the big two will be happy enough to eat (it doesn’t taste quite like the jelly they get at the Nana’s houses!) The baby is playing on her mat while I busy myself in the kitchen and the older two are planting some seedlings with KB out the back. I can feel that lightness that comes with a baby becoming more independent, when they are able to entertain themselves for a while on the floor with a pile of blocks or some kitchen spoons or a rusk. The days of constant holding and cradling have, once again, come to an end. She is ten months old tomorrow.

Today I’ve been busy trying to prepare us for the school routine. School holidays have also come to an end, although the idea of school every day is one that still seems foreign to me, it’s going to take a while to get used to the monotony of it all (for many years to come).

Over the holidays we’ve baked bread, we’ve gone walking, we’ve made easter crowns, we’ve sewed, we’ve crafted, we’ve cooked, we’ve cleaned, we’ve celebrated Bird’s sixth birthday. We have done a lot of work around the house and in our garden and it feels great (I won’t mention the overflowing washing basket, the clothes unfolded or the state of our bedroom). We’ve planted out some seedlings for a (very) small Autumn harvest; we are still learning and feeling our way with the veggie patch. We’ve moved upwards, to one large apple crate and a few smaller veg crates and pots dotted with basil, strawberries, brocolli, bok choy, and beetroot. It was an Epic Fail for us with our tomatoes over summer (seriously, tomatoes and yoghurt are two things I just cannot get a handle on) but we had a few delicious rounds of crispy, sweet snow peas which made us feel better.

We reviewed our budget so that I can continue to do minimal and short term work, rather than going back to work permanently just at the moment. Oh boy, it’s tight! But with three kids it becomes both incredibly difficult to arrange childcare, and also the preciousness of this time becomes abundantly clear with each child shooting up and up and off and off. With the decision that I’ll be home longer, we’re also thinking about giving up the Pixie’s day at childcare which we have been hanging onto for dear life – our centre doesn’t even keep a waiting list any more as they are so full and in demand. When I returned to work last time it was near impossible to get the two girls in on the same day, I think I changed my working days two or three times to compensate. It’s a tough decision to let it go, as we also highly value consistency for the girls and I don’t want to chop and change, but the savings we will make as a result will surely be worth it.

Speaking of savings, these holidays we also found out we have a saver and a spender (what is done with easter eggs says a lot about a person). Friends, I’m sure you won’t need long to figure out which is Bird and which is Pixie…

My feet hurt from the last three hours spent in the kitchen. I think it’s time for a shower, some hot soup and crusty bread for dinner and an early night.

A big week awaits.

On Our Dinner Table This Week

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Another week, another meal plan… I have found that this is what works best for me. There is nothing less motivating than getting to 4pm not knowing what we are having for dinner, and trying to throw something together from the scraps in the pantry. Meal planning, for me, is essential to ensure the quality of what we eat. Some sad news this week is the price of avocados!? Someone told me this morning that there is a shortage and that the reason for the price hike… so we are unfortunately taking avos off the menu for the time being. Wah!

I usually find planning about five dinners for the seven day week works well, there are usually leftovers at some point and overflow. I used to plan for seven but would usually only end up making four or five of the dinners so I’ve changed my method to account for this.

This week I’m aiming for something like this:

// breakfasts //

porridge + yoghurt + almond milk + fruit

pancakes + fruit + yoghurt

eggs + veggies (for anyone who will eat them at this time of day… in other words probably only me)

// lunches //

winging it: see note below

// dinners //

salmon + veg

peanut brown rice patties + kale-slaw + salad (recipes from here)

steak + salad

lentil bolognese

something to do with silken tofu as I have some in the freezer (ideas?)

leftovers

// snacks //

bliss balls

chocolate “paddlepops” (also from here)

popcorn

banana bread

// the baby //

The baby is now have quinoa and brown rice (milled some brown rice into rice flour and made my own baby rice cereal). I haven’t bought any other grains yet, maybe some amaranth or millet could be next on the list. She also had a suck on a bone the other day and cried her little heart out when I took it away from her!

brown rice (or other new grain) + zucchini + coconut oil

brown rice (or other new grain) + dried fig stew

chicken stew

steamed veggie/fruit mashes

I should own up here and let you know that my millionth attempt at making my own yoghurt has once again come to a dismal end and I have yet another kilogram of milky liquid to do something with… any suggestions? I am the worst yoghurt maker ever and have not once had success. Where am I going wrong!? Another confession is that this time I actually used one of the automated recipes on my thermomix… WHO FAILS AN AUTOMATED RECIPE!?

This meal planner is also subject to change this week as I’ve borrowed a thousand recipe books from the library (I put books on hold and it’s always my luck that they arrive all at the same time). So I have these recipe books to dive into this week: Simplicious, The Green Kitchen, Plenty, and Leon: Fast Vegetarian.

The other thing that is happening this week… Bird is starting school on Thursday. OMG. School Mum alert. So I’ll be winging it this week with lunches but next week when she’s going four days I may have to plan a bit more seriously.

What are you eating this week?

Over and out. xx

school lunches // take two

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(rainbow chard fritters + a sneak peek at my massive 29 week belly)

Thank you so much for all your lunchy suggestions! I am finally finding my feet in the kinder lunch box department and Birdie has only had the odd sandwich thrown in the last few weeks (once after I asked her what she wanted for lunch and she looked at me with pleading eyes – “Mum, can I just have a vegemite sandwich, like the other kids?” :/ )

On the agenda this afternoon was a big batch of fritters for this week’s lunches. A few weeks ago we had an influx of rainbow chard in our veggie box. When this happens I always have good intentions to eat said chard, but I don’t like it very much so those good intentions seem to turn sour quite quickly, ending with a soggy heap of green stuff at the bottom of my fridge. So this time I tried chopping the whole bunch up, blanching it briefly and then froze in small lots to use (hide) in meals. Fritters seemed like a good way to get these nutritious greens into not just the kid, but into me too!

Rainbow Chard Fritters – with millet and corn

:: 1-2 cups blanched rainbow chard (or other green veg like spinach or maybe even kale… they would also be delicious with coriander added)

:: 1 cup millet

:: 1 can or 2 cobs of corn

:: 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot flour or similar

:: 2 eggs

:: salt/pepper if you like

You can really do whatever you like with these – any grain or flour would do the trick really. Quinoa? Oats? Or you could start with just your basic pancake recipe and add veggies… whatever works. I’m so haphazard with cooking and generally just feel my way. Trial and error – there’s no better way! Lucky for me, these turned out well.

:: cook millet on stove

:: whiz up blanched greens in blender, then add in two eggs and other ingredients. Depending on your blender you could blend a little, or if it will get too chop-happy, tip everything into a bowl and mix through with a wooden spoon. You want the corn to be whole, not blended.

:: use fat of choice (I used coconut oil) and cook up in fry pan or on BBQ.

:: eat!

I’m on kinder duty tomorrow so I’ve also packed a lunch for me – I mixed some sweet chilli sauce and cream cheese together to go with these… I don’t know if this is completely weird or if it is normal, my pregnancy taste buds have got the better of me at the moment. For Birdie I’ve packed a small container of yoghurt for her to dip them into. If she eats them, I’ll be super duper happy.

school lunches: a whole new world

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Birdie started four year old kinder last week. And I started my new occupation: kinder lunch maker. As the title suggests, it’s a whole new world.

Last year she only needed a snack which I found difficult enough sometimes, particularly when we don’t eat much dairy, and the kindergarten has a no egg and no nut policy to boot.

We are big nut and egg eaters and I find my options slightly limited when they are taken out of the picture. Factor in a fussy four year old who keels over at the sight of anything green and only eats two mouthfuls at any given time and you’ve got some challenges on your hands!

Last night I was motivated by my sister to make some gelatin jubes for the kinder lunch box today (my favourite recipe here). What is meant to take 15 minutes ended up taking two hours after I accidentally blended up a foil easter egg wrapper in the final mixture (Prince Charming is still questioning me on how it got into the blender… I have no answers), moments before I was ready to pour into the moulds. Bye bye to over 10 tablespoons of grassfed gelatin (anyone who has ever bought this will be feeling my pain), two oranges, a few apples, acai powder, flax oil and some sweat.

Yes: I did shed a tantrum induced tear over the kitchen sink as I poured my foil laden tincture into the compost.

By this time I had also run out of most of my ingredients resulting in the jubes (pictured in heart shapes above) tasting rather foul in my humble opinion, but both kids were asking for more this afternoon, go figure.

The girls are going through such a fussy time, being forced to make kinder lunches has motivated me to find some meals I am happy to feed them, that they are equally happy to eat… no easy feat.

Birdie came home from kinder the other day and said in disgust: “Alexander ate a little tomato today.”

“Oh, did he get it off the plant?” I asked.

“No, it was in his lunch box.” she replied, her face filled with horror. To open her lunch box and discover a cherry tomato is one of Birdie’s worst fears. This is what I am dealing with.

In my searches this week I’ve found a few new, a few rediscovered, and a few daily used (by me) resources:

:: This Whole Family

::  Well Nourished

:: Jude Blereau – my favourite family friendly chef lady ever

:: IQS for kids

:: My sister 🙂

How do you organise your kids’ lunch boxes? I’d love some more ideas…