Turning Dinner into Lunch.

3 Nov

Once a week my Hubby goes to play poker with his mates, and we will usually have a simple dinner so I can have the kids in bed quick…and I nestle down and catch up on my trashy tv, and latest project.

Tonight we had pasta and it was soooo easy to transport into Miss 5’s lunch for tomorrow.   Here’s how I made and easy dinner and lunch in one.

You will need…
Pasta…a child friendly shape such as Animals, small shell, pinwheel etc.
A can of Tomatoes…which ever you like, savoury are good if you want to make it super easy.
Herbs…if you are not using Savoury Tomatoes
A can of Tuna
Grated Cheese and Chopped Parsely (for topping)

Put your water on to boil for you pasta.  At the same time, in another pot, put in your tomatoes and any herbs. I like to add Oregano from my garden pot.

Bring both pots to the boil.  Cook pasta as per the packet…and when the tomatoes start to boil turn down to a simmer and reduce.  If you have whole tomatoes mash them up gently with your potatoe masher.

When the pasta is cook dish out onto dinner plates and a container  suitable for the lunchbox.  I use my small Easyo ones.

Then add at layer of your tomatoe sauce, a helping of Tuna and garnish with Cheese and Parsely.

Done.  Be sure to put the Pasta for Lunch in the fridge.Lunchbox pasta with canned tuna

 

 

Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

21 Oct

I made these for school class party and the seem to be a favourite with anyone who tries them….They are my new favourite!

I am a big fan of Macadamia and White Chocolate cookies, however, most schools don’t allow nuts these days.  I had the ingredients in the pantry, but I was just not going to not use the Nuts.  I also had a large bowl of Lemons which I pinched off my cousins tree and I stumbled across a similar recipe to this one while Googleing for inspiration. I had not tried this combination before and it is so good.  So good.

110g Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Caster Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
pinch of salt
zest of two Lemons (more of less according to your taste)
1 Large Egg, beaten
1 and 1/4 cups Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g White Chocolate, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 190C (fan-forced 170C) and prepare your baking tray with baking paper or whatever non-stick trick you use.

Cream butter, caster sugar, soft brown sugar, Lemon Zest and salt together until fluffy.  Taste the batter to check if you have enough Lemon (start small and add more…You Can Always Add, But You Can’t Take Away) and then mix in the beaten egg.

Stir the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the mix. Mix together and just as it starts to all combine add the White Chocolate.  Try not to eat to much before you put it in the bowl 😛

Put on the baking tray using a teaspoon, make sure you leave plenty of room between each one as they will spread out quite a bit.

Cook for about 8 – 10 minutes.  Until just golden around the edges. Yum Yum Yum

Baking For Lunch Boxes

20 Oct

I have to start by saying that I am by no means a great baker!  I never seem to be able to bake something the same as the last time I made it, and not everything turns out the way it should.  But, I make an effort to bake for my daughter (not just because I also hoped I could be the ‘baking mum’) but also because it means that I can have some sort of control over the junk she is eating.  Baking your childs biscuit and slices means that you are avoiding all the extra additives and preservatives that you find in most similar items you can get from the supermarket.  I like to put one little piece in her lunchbox every now and then.

I tend to go through a baking phase  which can last for a day or two (sometimes three).  I then portion the goodies and wrap them ready for the lunchbox and then I put them in the freezer.  They will defrost in time for lunch.  There are no preservatives needed and it’s one less thing to do in the morning, just take it from the freezer and put it in the lunch box.

It’s worth continuing even if you don’t get the recipe right…chances are your kids aren’t going to notice anyway!  And it’s worth the cheap thrill when you do get it right. 🙂

Call It Like You See It – Thanks to Charlotte Dawsom

20 Oct

As a mother of two young girls it’s important to me to think about the issues they are going to face growing up regarding their own body image, and how I can gently help or hinder their experiences.  We are very very careful in our house not to talk about ‘fat and skinny’ but to focus on having a healthy body and one that works well.

I recently read a great article in a Notebook magazine. (The November 2009 Issue) It was an issue that talked about body image and loving your body shape.  One of the people who contributed was  Charlotte Dawson…I’m thinking to myself, ‘What the hell could the beautiful Charlotte Dawson with her stunning body teach me about body confidence!’ lol.  I nearly didn’t read it, but I’m glad I did, it was a major life changing ‘click’ in how to talk to my children about certain kinds of food.  The “Sometime foods and often foods” doesn’t gel with me, as I can always justify having more of anything that should only be a ‘something’ 🙂

And this is what was said
“I think part of the problem is the idea that this stuff, the junk, is a treat.  When you’re young you’re told you can have this pizza as a treat, you grow up believing it.  Then there’s this connection; ‘I’m eating this and because it’s a treat, I’ll feel good and happy.’  That’s what comfort eating is about  – trying to recapture the felling of being given a treat.  It becomes this unhealthy way of seeking youth, family, love and happiness.  I might be completely off base, but that’s just my crazy theory”
– Notebook Magazine November 2009

It was like an aha moment for me.  I don’t think it’s a crazy theory at all…I think it’s genius.  If we can create healthy triggers for our children to grow with, then we are awesome! lol.  That’s a good mummy high-five right there.

And, it works.  I told my husband about it and for the last month or more we have been calling junk food “Junk Food” and new season fruit etc a “treats”.  3 days ago I was at the Supermarket picking up something for mum and I told the girls they could choose a treat for after dinner.  (A rare and exciting occasion in our house)  Miss 5 choose a Mango and Miss 3 choose a punnet of Strawberries!  High Five Charlotte!  They never considered chocolate, ice-cream or anything other than some fresh fruit.

The Melbourne Show

22 Sep

This is not a post about the show, but a post about how to survive the show without going into a lifetime of credit card debt!  It’s an expensive day out, but it is also a great day with the kids…so, for us, it’s worth a saving for and making an effort for.  You can do a far bit before you go to make the most out of your day.

Being prepared is key to a long and happy day out.

Tip 1 – Take Lunch, snacks and buy dinner.
You don’t have to buy takeaway at the show, but it is part of the fun.  We found we saved a fortune by taking all our snack food, lunch and buying dinner.  It also gives you a chance to scope all the food places before you buy.  Make use of the tasting stalls in the Grand Pavillion when you are feeling peckish.  Take all your food in disposable containers…this will lighten your load through out the day and make more room for showbags

Tip 2 – Take a stroller
If you are lucky enough to have a stroller, take it.  Even if your youngest hasn’t needed it for a few months.  It’s a lot of walking for little legs…and it’s great for carrying all your stuff.  If you don’t have one, take one of those shopping bags on wheels…I’m not sure what they are called – we call them Nana trolleys – you can also hire them, and they are a good thing to have to carry your food, jackets etc in.

Tip 3 – Be Weather Wise
Raincoats are a must.  With Melbourne weather you can never be sure what sort of weather you are going to get, it may be sunny when you leave home and pouring down with rain by lunch time.  Although there is a fair bit of shelter, you don’t want to get stuck in one pavilion for too long.  Beanies are good too, they keep you warm and they take up very little room when you are not wearing them.

Tip 4 – Label your Children.
If they go missing it would be nice to have them returned.  Make a bracelet with your details on such as your mobile number, but not your child’s name.  The Lost and Found centre inside the Car Park entrance has these free of charge.

Tip 6 – Make a Showbag Rule.
Remember, all showbags are advertising.  You will most likely end up with a bunch of junk you don’t need.  Allow your kids to choose 1 lolly bag and 1 toy bag, this will stop you from spending a fortune on the bags, it’s easy to get sucked in to all the bright/happy images they have all over them, so make your rules before you get there and stick to them.   This is our limit, however Oma gives the girls some money and  they are allowed to spend that how they choose, and they also can use their own pocket-money if they want too.

Tip 7 – Pre-Sale tickets.
You can save money by getting your tickets before the show.  Check out the website for where to get your tickets from and what kind of discount you can get.  This also save lining up when you get there.

In the past we have tried to plan our day, but we find this puts too much pressure on us and the kids.  We now travel at the children pace and take out time.  This make them happier and in turn we are happier.

Savoury Mince – Eating what’s left…

14 Sep

This is my favourite ‘use up the veggies’ meal.  We generally have it every Monday night, the night before our next box of fresh organic Fruit and Vegies arrive.
The principle is the same every week….

You will need…

1 packet Mince – any kind, chicken, beef, veal & pork.
Beef Stock (I use OXO because it’s my favourite)
Tablespoon of Vinegar
Splash of Soy Sauce

Any Veggies you need eaten.  (If the kids don’t like it chop it super finely or grate it)

What you do…

Finely chop your onion and add to a pan, with about a tablespoon of oil.  Now, depending on how organised you are you can either brown the onions and then add your prepared veggies….or, if you have had a busy day, put the onions on a low heat while you prep the other ingredients (Just remember to stir them)

Add the other Veggies in any order you like.  If you like your Silverbeet, for example, wilted down so the kids don’t notice them enter them now.  If you like them still a little raw and crunchy, then add them at the very end.

Add your stock now, and also add your mince.  Use your spoon to break up the mince to avoid lumps.

All you need to do now is cook it for as long as you like. Do cook it for at least 30 minutes to let all the favours blend.  I would usually cook for an hour or longer, just be sure to keep your eye on the stock as you don’t want it drying out.  Add more water or stock if you need to.

Serve on toast or mashed potatoes.

The absolute beauty of this dish is that it is so forgiving.  You can add whatever you like, and can cook it for as long as you like.  It freezes and it tastes great re-heated.

This photo shows the mince before the veggies have been cooked down.  It seem that the longer I cook them the more veggies I can get away with.

Anzac Biscuits – Sort of…

7 Sep

Yesterday Littlest Miss and I tried to make Anzac Biscuits yesterday, but they wouldn’t come together.  We used the usually recipe, but just couldn’t form balls needed.  So instead, we made “Porridge and Golden Syrup Snack Bars”

Ingredients
1 cup Flour
1 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Desiccated Coconut
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
125g Butter
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tbsp Hot Water

Pre-heat your oven to 160.

Line a square cake tin, or Lamington tin with baking paper.

Melt your butter and golden syrup and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Combine all your dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix together and make a well in the centre.  Once your butter mix is ready dissolve the baking soda in the boiled water and then add to your butter/syrup mix.  Be sure to have the kids near by to see the reaction when the ingredients meet!

Pour your new mix into the dry ingredients and mix well.  This is where you would usually create your biscuits, instead press all of the mix into your slice tray and try to make sure it’s an even layer.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool and turn out.  Use a sharp knife and carefully cut into rectangles or squares.  Use any left over crumbs to sprinkle over a snack of yoghurt 🙂