Posted in Lifestyle, Recipes, Time Saving Tips

The kids plan the menu!

One thing I’ve been dabbling in over the years is menu planning. I’ve always wanted to do it ‘better’ so I set myself a challenge to do a meal plan each week  then do one big grocery shop for the week. Well I did it!! I went once to the supermarket and did not step foot on one until the following week!! I’ve done it now for 3 weeks and it’s fabulous!! The best thing is I seriously spent less money on food and there was no wastage. All over the Internet you’ll find weekly menus and plans.. Anyone can make one! I needed to make sure that the meals chosen were gong to be eaten by all members of the family. Sorry Mums but I’m not one for making separate meals for the kids.. So I asked them!

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I literally asked each member including dear husband to choose one meal. I was immensely surprised by the results. Not only have the meals been healthy but everyone has enjoyed eating ‘their choice’. Each night the kids seriously discuss who’s choice the meal was and who’s meal it is tomorrow night. At first I was unsure what they might come up but some of their choices have included lasagna, burritos, chicken kebabs and cous cous and chicken curry. The kids love having some power over what we eat and it makes for a great discussion with them! Give it a try, see what meal plan your tribe comes up with!

I’m hoping to develop a spread sheet for weekly plans in the near future. 😳

Posted in Recipes, Time Saving Tips

Pinwheels and Pullaparts

Well I’m officially a school mum now, lunches everyday, uniforms organised.. I have a new appreciation for school holidays and it’s only week 1! Mornings are chaotic with the three being so young but we’re getting better at it! They are learning their jobs and roles for the morning so it’s getting there.. Slowly!!

I made Pinwheels for an afternoon snack on Friday. They are super easy and delicious, could be made healthier if you’re so inclined! I was quite surprised to learn a friend had never had them!

Pinwheels

On a sheet of Puff Pastry spread a layering your favourite sauce.

Sprinkle evenly with cheese and ham.

Roll the pastry into a tight scroll and cut into 2-3 cm pieces.

Bake for 10 mins or until golden and ‘puffy!’ (Yes very technical I know!)

Anything can be used as fillings in pinwheels. Ham and cheese, cheese and vegemite, basil and cheese, tomato and basil, the opportunities are endless!!! Get creative! They freeze well too so they are great for the lunch boxes or after school snacks!

 

For a quick and easy Sunday lunch I made a pizza Pullapart. Made a quick dough, let it rise, then roll it out to a flat rectangle. I spread it with pizza sauce, ham cheese and pineapple. Twisted it all up and baked for around 20mins. Super yum!!! Again any filling can be used. Pizza, ham and cheese, cheese and vegemite, basil and feta (oh this is delicious!) feta and olive.. Mmmmm.. X

Posted in Fast Receipes, Time Saving Tips

Morning caos avoided.. Hopefully!

Picture this, cold coffee waiting patiently to be drunk, baby clinging to legs demanding Weetbix, Mr 3 having a passionate debate about not eating or getting dressed, Mr 5 can’t find his left shoe as he runs around with only jocks on. A typical morning in our house and as of Monday we now have the thrill of getting out the house by 8:30 with hopefully everyone dressed and fed.

In order to save precious moments of sanity in the mornings I am making sandwiches to freeze and pre chopping fruit and veggie sticks to last at least a few days. In the evening I will pack the lunch box with fruit and various snacks and put the whole lunch box in the fridge. In the morning all I have to do is pull out the box, add a frozen sand which and we good to go! The sandwhich defrosts by lunch time with the advantage of staying cool.

Some sandwhich fillings are not good for freezing–

-anything with salad, it has too much water content and when it defrosts it makes the bread soggy!

-cottage cheese

-tomatoe

-cucumber

-egg

However there is so much more you can freeze and if you are so inclined you can add your salad in the morning or send it separately.

-ham and cheese

-chicken and mayo

-tuna and cream cheese/mayo

-vegemite and cheese ( a staple in my house!)

-fritz, sauce and cheese

-schnitzel and cheese, pickles

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The options really are endless, the big tip though is to butter your bread. This stops the bread going soggy on defrosting. I have found that snap lock bags work best for freezing as they are much easier to get airtight and stop freezer burn. I pull out the frozen sandwhich and put straight in the lunch box and reuse the bag!

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I wouldn’t keep sandwiches in the freezer longer than 2 weeks but for an exercise that takes 10 minutes to pre make a pile of sandwiches it’s a huge time saver in the mornings. Chuck in some chopped up fruit and sultanas and walah!

imageEasy right?! 😏

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Lifestyle, Time Saving Tips

Plasticware…

Everyone has one.. It’s usually ridiculously untidy in my house.. Hopefully in everyone’s! The plasticware aka the Tupperware cupboard! I have. I have been trying to sort out the dreaded lunch box situation for Mr 5. In the last few weeks I have purchased 4 new lunch boxes trying to scout out the best option. It would help if the cooler bag that was chosen (because it had rockets on it!) was a little more spacious. I do believe I’m over thinking the situation!! 😂

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So in order to try sort the best box I had to organise the dreaded cupboard- to fit all these new containers.

what an assortment of randomn lids and containers that didn’t match! Isn’t it amazing how things disappear? Maybe the same fairy that steals odd socks takes lids?! So I played match and ditch and made it all look pretty. I didn’t  keep anything that didn’t match!

Still didn’t solve the lunch box negotiations but at least it’s organised!

 

 

Posted in Fast Receipes, Recipes, Time Saving Tips

The cheats quiche

It’s been a long time family favourite the ‘egg and bacon pie’ my mum calls it! It’s simple, delicious and great as leftovers the next day or two! I recall many evenings mum would have them already baked ready to to reheat and eat after a day at school. Then I moved out and started making my own! I even made this ‘pie’ for a friend on her wedding at so we could eat something nutritious before the festivities… And champagne! I make it oftentimes to cut up and have a piece for breakfast.

My Mums Egg And Bacon Pie

( I use the Thermomix to chop and mix mine but of course it can be done the traditional way!)

1 Brown Onion

100g of cheese

3-4 eggs

500ml of milk

500 g of rindless bacon

1/2 cup of pastry mix (can be substituted with SR flour if your stuck)

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Method

Chop onion and bacon into small pieces (sp 5 for about 10sec)

Add grated cheese, eggs and pastry mix and mix well. (Reverse, sp 3, 10 sec)

Add the milk and mix until combined and hopefully no lumps of pastry mix! (Reverse sp 4, 10 sec).

Pour into a quiche dish and bake at 160 for around 45 or until golden brown!

Serve with your favourite green salad, or in my house huge dollops of my Nanna’s home made sauce. Yummo!!

 

 

 

Posted in Recipes, Time Saving Tips

The Foot Soak

imageYesterday I posted that I was trying the home made foot soak, and a few readers (excited that I can write that!) commented they wanted to know how it went.

The Original Recipe

1/4 Cup Vinegar

1/4 Cup Mouthwash

1 cup warm water

Well I had to change the recipe a little as I didn’t have any regular vinegar. So here’s my adaptation..

My Version

1/2-1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2-1 cup Listerine (I used green one)

and enough warm/hot water to cover my feet.

At first when I added the Apple Cider Vinegar it smelt so strong I thought I’d smell of rotten apples for days, but after adding the Listerine ( I probably used closer to 1 cup) the mint took over.

Realistically any time I get to sit and stick my feet in a warm bath would be relaxing but this was great. I had my pink bucket, my comfy chair and my Ipad. I settled down for my 10 minutes… nearly an hour later I thought I’d better get my feet out or they may shrivel to nothing! I was quite surprised at how good my feet felt. It was a cheap, easy solution to a foot soak using only ingredients I already had. I gave my PedEgg a good workout afterwards while everything was soft and squishy (eww right?!). I seriously lay in bed afterwards and I really did notice my feet feeling tingly and refreshed. Probably due to the overdose of Listerine but it really did feel good! The advantage of Apple Cider Vinegar is its so fermented that it would kill any germs you had on your precious tootsies.

So give it a go! Refreshed and minty, albeit a bit appley, and ready for another day on your feet!

Continue reading “The Foot Soak”

Posted in Time Saving Tips

A trolley full of kids!

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Waiting for the Woolworths truck

One running down the isle, one demanding food and one trying to grab everything in reach. This is my reality! Grocery shopping with 3 young kids in like an obstacle course designed for the pro athlete.

I find it ‘easy’ enough to pop in and grab one or two items, but any more than that and the littlies lose interest. So every fortnight I do my big shop online. I use Woolworths online but all the big chain supermarkets do it now. Before having kids online groceries was a novelty I’d use when we were hosting a large party. Now its a god send.

A lot of people find it difficult manoeuvring the website and finding the groceries you need… nope! My big tip is to have a list going on the fridge. We have one of the magnetic ones that we just add to each day when we need something, so by the time the fortnight is done we have a long list!! its especially convenient when you need large items like nappies and washing powder (two kids in a trolley does not leave much room!).

I use the search feature at the top of the website and type in what I’m looking for, I have found this easiest and quickest way to add things to your online trolley.

One reason I like the Woolworths site is that if I order things in the mornig before 10 they are delivered that afternoon! I mean really, why would I bother dragging the carnivores around the shops when I can click away while they eat their breakfast and have it delivered. Its also not crazy expensive, when you think about the stress and frustration of the shopping and chasing kids around the store.. $9-10 is nothing!

And the absolute best thing is that the boys love waiting for the truck to come (see photo!) and bring the shopping and they love putting it all away.. not always in the right spot but that’s a different issue! I saw its  win all round.

 

Posted in Recipes, Time Saving Tips

The Biscuit Exchange

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Peanut Crunchy Cookie

For as long as I’ve known my husband his family has had the Biscuit Exchange a few weeks before Christmas. Admittedly years ago I didn’t really appreciate or understand the concept. However, over the years I have developed an appreciation for the custom.

The idea is every family bakes a batch of biscuits of your choice. The biscuits get collected and resorted so at the end of the day you take home a large batch of various home made biscuits. My favourites are always the Meringues! It’s a lovely tradition that all the extended family partakes in. It’s a way of giving everyone a gift without spending hundreds and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bikkie with their cuppa!!

I’ve yet to find my one biscuit that I make each year. Yesterday I made mine for this year. I tweaked a recipe my Mum found in an old book.

Peanut Crunchy Cookie

225 g butter

2 cups caster sugar ( it makes a lot of biscuits don’t worry!)

2 eggs

2 cups Sr. Flour

1 cup well crushed peanuts

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups cornflakes

1 cup choc chips

Method

preheat oven to 180/160 fan forced

Crush or blitz your peanuts first!

In a mixer ( or I used my Thermomix) Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs while still mixing.

Add flour and mix until combined.

Stir in oats, peanut, cornflakes and choc chips. Use a large bowl for this as it makes a big batch of dough!!

Place small balls onto a tray and bake for about 10 minutes. ** my best batch were slightly golden not brown!!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow to see what everyone else makes this year!

 

Posted in Time Saving Tips

5 steps to a stress free Christmas

A stress free chistmasChristmas is my favourite time of the year. So much joy and love around! However the dark side is the stress it can bring. Trying to impress people with your fabulous home made puddings or be the perfect host with mistletoe hanging in every corner. Just thinking about all that needs to be done can bring on a headache! So here’s what I’m going to follow this year to reduce the last minute frenzy that occurs.

  1. Lists, lists and more lists.

I love writing lists. I currently have about 4 on the go. I regularly just write a list of things I need to get done on any given day, as simple as hang the washing out! But it sure feels good when you tick things off.

In terms of Christmas my lists include; who I need to buy presents for, Christmas baking list, last minute shopping lists (fresh food I’ll need), Christmas card list, cleaning to-do list, and my current shopping list! I also have been known to have a list of jobs for my dear husband to complete 😉

2. Not overbooking

Trust me I’m a shocker for running myself to the ground trying to attend every function I’m invited to. This year I want to do things differently. I have my calendar in view daily ( strategically placed in the kitchen) and I’m trying to only book one event per day, some have two but morning and evening. Its not only me who gets exhausted but the kids do too, and we all know what tired kids are like….

3. Start shopping early

This is the first year that I have started Christmas shopping before December. Let me say this though.. I LOVE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING! There’s something about the carols playing in the shops, the people everywhere, the wrapping…But I know many people who loathe Christmas Shopping. My Mum can’t stand it so I usually do some for her! But the biggest tip here is don’t leave it all to the last minute. Get your list (yes!) and tick off a few each week. If you only have to go the shops for an hour at a time its definitely less stressful. And you get to tick things off your list!

4. Clean a little at a time

If you have guests staying this Christmas, or family coming for lunch if you’re anything like me you’ll be madly scrubbing from top to toe to make the place shine. I’m assuming though if you’re reading this that you have children and shining your house gets a little tricky! We have an office/study in our house that only we are allowed in! It’s like the junk room. Everything gets piled in there. But you know what? I don’t really care! No one else sees it.

In the weeks between now and Christmas clean a room at a time, or do a big job each week. That way when its the week of Christmas all you really need to do it a quick mop and bathroom shine and you’ll look like a regular Martha Stewart!

5. Breathe

Some people have holidays, others work right through. What ever your situation, stop and think about the meaning of Christmas. Whether you are religious or not, Christmas is still a beautiful time of the year. And for me it got even better since having children. Stop and enjoy it with them. Sings carols, dance around to “go Santa go” and eat all the delicious tree shaped cookies you can. Well that’s my plan anyway!!

 

 

Posted in Recipes, Time Saving Tips

Sunday night deliciousness

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Today we took the two older boys to their first cricket Test Match. It wasn’t without its dramas but overall it was a fun day. Man was over eating fried foods though and was I looking for a decent feed when we got home. Thank goodness we had some left over stir fry from last night but it got me thinking about some of my favourite meals. One of my all time favourites is another Jamie meal. His sausage cassoulet is to die for! Find the receipe here! It’s great for reheating and there’s always plenty for the next night! I made it for a friend after she had her second baby and she loved it! So after all this.. Guess what’s for dinner tomorrow night?!! Have a lovely week, stay tuned for tips on a stress free Christmas.