Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monkey at my table

Until recently Monkey boy attended day care two days per week. There had been a lot of staff changes, and he wasn't enjoying it anymore. He wasn't being encouraged to participate in any art or educational activities. He wasn't getting anything out of it. So we took him out, and he is a much happier boy.  This also means that he gets to accompany me on my travels.
 
 He comes along to blog meets ups.

 He gets to shmooze the big guns at work meetings.

.....and he gets to eat a lot of sushi with Mummy.
 
The novelty has almost worn off for him, but not for me. Next year he goes to school, so I am soaking up every minute I can.
 
Joining for Wordless Wednesday.
 
xx

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Switcheroo style!

Sponsored Post

I have just started the Meadow Lea Switcheroo Challenge, and so far, it is working very nicely. I'm feeding my family Meadow Lea instead of butter, and they haven't even noticed! I was super keen to fool my family (stop it) because I would like them (and me) to be healthier.


My family eat reasonably well, but if I can cut out 2.5kgs of fat per year from everyones diet, this will be a good thing, yes? Mr BC loves butter, and can spot a fake at 20 paces (what is it with Kiwis and dairy products?) After his health scare earlier this year, I've decided I would like him to live for a loooong time. Also .....less money on doctors bills means more money on shoes, right? More importantly, if I can save 2.5kgs of fat in the butter budget, I can spend it in the margarita department. Are you following my logic?

All jokes aside, it's actually really important to me that my children eat well. We do this in a variety of ways;
  • Having a strict 'Try it' policy. We don't force them to eat anything they don't like, but they do have to try it. This has resulted in Teenage Daughter's life long love of olives, oysters and smoked salmon. The Gentleman is a fairly adventurous eater, and monkey boy is......getting there.
  • Be a good example. I talk here about alcohol all the time but in truth my kids never see me drink more than the occasional glass of wine, and they never see their Dad drink beer - this is just a choice that we've made. They do see us sit down to a healthy breakfast lunch and dinner every day. I set a great example by only eating chocolate after they have gone to bed, and that way I don't have to share.
  • We grow a lot of fruit and vegetables, and everyone loves to eat stuff from the garden. Even their friends like to grab a bean or blue berry mid Nerf war!
  • Similarly, with Mr BC embracing recreational fishing, everyone is keen to eat super fresh fish for dinner. They are also keen to eat anything else he catches, like crabs or even stingray. (Refer to the Try It policy)
  • Where possible, I try to accommodate special requests. Sometimes one of them will see something on TV or in a food magazine and ask me to make it. I figure if they are that keen, I should encourage their interest!
  • Mix it up at dinner time - Sometimes we might eat in the outdoor area, sometimes we take a BBQ or picnic down to the beach, sometimes (not always) in front of the TV. When we do sit at the table, sometimes dinner is plated up and sometimes everything is on platters for you to help yourself. I try to put something new on the table a few times per week. It keeps it interesting.
  • Allow some junk. Just a bit. If I ran around as much as they do, I would want some nutritiously dense food as well! Also, if they where never allowed any junk food, they might go crazy with it - and that would be counter productive.
Monkey boy steels himself for the Try It Policy. Now he is a converted crab lover!

My first impressions of Meadow Lea where pretty good! There is a big variety, so if you want Original, you can have 65% reduced fat, or Light, which is 85% less fat than butter. There is also salt reduced. It is excellent for cooking. If you are like me you will not have waited for your butter to become room temperature before making scones, and as Meadow Lea is softer than butter, this makes the whole process a lot easier. Most importantly - it tastes very rich and creamy. No one has noticed me pulling the butter rug out from under them, not on toast, sandwiches, scones, on crackers or even when I sauteed a pan full of mushrooms using Meadow Lea! The best switch so far though, has been this Vegetable Butter Curry..

Sharing a table with poppadoms, pilaf rice, a quick cucumber salad, and bbq'd whole snapper.

Vegetable Butter Curry
  1. Saute a chopped onion in some butter Meadow Lea.
  2. When soft, add in chopped kumera, carrots, and potato.
  3. Stir in some turmeric, crushed garlic and ginger. Be heavy handed, it's ok.
  4. Stir in a tin of crushed tomatoes, and simmer until the veggies are cooked.
  5. Stir in a tin of coconut milk.
  6. Stir in some green veggies like silver beet and snow peas, and then mix in a large tablespoon of butter Meadow Lea.
  7. Put the lid on and turn off the heat, let it sit until the greens have just wilted and the butter Meadow Lea has melted.
  8. Eat with your favourite curry accompaniments!
This even fooled my kiwi born, butter loving mother in law!  It's probably not a traditional recipe, I have made it up myself through trial and error. There are never any leftovers though!


Giveaway

I have a $50 Westfield XS Voucher to give away!

To enter, please leave a comment telling me what your children take to school in their lunchbox.

The winner will be drawn on 11th November.

Open to Australian residents only, and please make sure your email address is included in your comment, either in the body of the comment or set as your blogger default address.


xx

Have you heard of The Soup? They are a media company that provide product for you to test drive. You don't have to be a blogger, anyone can do it. It's fun!
 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Gozleme

I've had a hankering for gozleme lately...you know when the taste buds want what the taste buds want, and no other thing will do? Well my taste buds where after some salty feta and spinach in hardly leavened, slightly oily, pan fried flat bread.

Last time I had gozleme it was bought for me by a Turkish friend at a festival, and it was authentic and delicious. Do you think I could find any in my area? Not a chance! So I had a go at making it myself..and it wasn't half bad.


Gozleme

Dough
Mix the following and knead for a few minutes, then cut into 8 portions and let it rest while you make the filling.
  • 500g of plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 400g of plain Greek style yoghurt
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil

Fillings
There are a few different types, and really, you could use anything you want. Combine each one individually and then layer a few fillings or use just one at a time.

Spinach and Feta
  • 1 cup of grated Cheddar
  • 1 cup of crumbled fetta
  • 2 cups of barely cooked spinach or silver beet
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • white pepper, parsley, marjoram

Lamb
  • 500g browned lamb mince
  • half cup of chopped tomato
  • cumin, paprika, chili, oregano, garlic

Haloumi
  • thin slices of haloumi
  • finely chopped chili
  • finely chopped parsley

Monkey Boys favourite (probs not authentic)
  • thin slices of mild salami
  • grated Cheddar
  • nothing green or spicy

Cooking
  • Roll each piece of dough at as thinly as possible, about 30 cm wide. I made a circle, but I have a feeling traditional gozleme are rectangular.
  • Place filling sparingly on one side, wet the dough around the edges and fold over, pressing lightly over the whole gozleme.
  • Cook on a oiled BBQ hotplate or fry pan. Turn often, and don't allow to burn. It will take about 10 minutes to cook properly.
  • Cut into smaller pieces and serve with lemon if you like.



Here are the finished gozleme at the far right, sharing a table with some grilled eggplant, zucchini mint fritters with yoghurt sauce, plain pasta for the monkeys, salad, and pesto pasta made with basil from the garden. Yum!

xx


 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spring in the Veggie Garden

 
I couldn't wait to get planting this Spring.
 
Our vegetable garden uses the layered method, and after a few years of trial and error I think we are onto a pretty good formula. In the second week of September, we layered straw and then well rotted manure over and over, finishing with straw. We can get manure from some local stables, and this is far superior to anything we've bought from a nursery or landscaping supply.
 

This bed gets the most sun. It is planted with Sage, shallots, globe carrots, purple carrots, chives, catnip, cucumber, tomatoes and stevia.

 
 At one stage it had marigolds, and they thrived until their season had finished. It used to have a lemon grass, but that turned into the biggest triffid and was very challenging to remove. I don't know who writes the seedling labels, but this was well and truly beyond a metre tall!


I planted the catnip so that I could make tea. It makes a delicious soft mint tea, not too harsh at all, but if you have too much it inhibits your bodies ability to absorb iron, so I don't go nuts with it.


Stevia on the left is sold as a white powder in the supermarket with the natural sweeteners. I like to put a sprig in ice tea instead of sugar. I thought it was dead at one stage but it sprang back to life in Spring! Exciting!


On the other side of the garden, the continental parsley is growing very well. It likes being in the shade. I never grow curly parsley, I hate it. Natures pubic hair. Ugh.



There are two types of beans, as well as yellow patty pan squash. The squash is already having issues with powdery mildew, so who knows if it will bear any fruit. That little plant to the far right is a mystery plant that popped up in my mother in law's garden. It's some kind of melon or squash, that's all we know!



This year we made a bean support from our old pool fence. I think it will do a great job, I can't wait to see the beans grow up it.



In the far corner, there is rainbow chard, basil, and a lot of pots. The large blue pots are Mr BCs experiments with cuttings. I'm pretty sure there are a few from the neighbours giant red hibiscus, it is over 2 stories tall and has very bright flowers. The smaller pots are my seedling attempts - I'm trying to grow a few spaghetti melons, and also a few dozen sunflower plants to make a sunflower house for the boys. I hope it works, it looks enchanting. I was inspired by this blog. I think sunflowers like to be planted where they are to grow but I'm pretty sure they would get trampled by the dog and the boys if I did that..


Corn, lettuce and tomatoes - that's what summer is about! There are mainly boston lettuces because that's what we eat the most of. I think in Boston they are called something else!


There is also a grape tomato growing behind the stevia, it has fruited all through winter. We didn't plant it, but we have loved eating the tomatoes when they are ripe! I've noticed that tomatoes have the best fruit when the rest of the plant looks dead.


There are two large tomato towers at either end of the corn and lettuce, we made them from chicken wire and they are each supported by a small section of pool fence. There are about 6 plants in each one, I couldn't tell you what they are - they are all volunteer plants that we moved here from else where in the garden or my mother in laws garden. That pot at the right has a few variety's of strawberries. Every time I think about re potting them they start fruiting.


Soon my plan will come together and the corn will be wide enough and tall enough to cover the hillbilly neighbours. Yay! Wish it was soundproof...


Lemon balm, mint, rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme and marjoram. I cook with these all the time, hence the bonsai appearance of the rosemary. Every year I worry that the marjoram has died, and every year it grows back. Lovely.

What are you growing in your garden?

xx

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What to expect at a blogger meet up

Have you ever been to a blogger meet up? I remember my first time was nerve wracking - until I actually got there, and discovered that everyone was super friendly. No awkwardness at all!

Brownies! iPhones at the ready!
Here are a few things to expect, if you have never caught up with other bloggers in real life. Or, a refresher, if you are an old hand!

  1. It is all very chatty. There will be no awkward silences in the conversation. The time will fly by, and you won't want to leave at the end. Bloggers really are friendly! Please ignore the occasional drama on the interwebs, I've never seen that cray cray stuff happen in the flesh.
  2. Dress smartly, you want to be comfortable and rock your own style.
  3. Take your camera/phone/notepad so you can instagram and tweet everything. Everyone else will, and you can too! And no one will question you! Finally, people who get it!
  4. Business cards - bring them if you've got them. The most popular cards I've seen are attached to a lolly. This is not mandatory at all, but I like lollies. That wasn't a hint, or anything...
  5. Use the time to network - find out who else is going, maybe check out their blog (there won't be a test, I promise.) Is there anyone you particularly want to meet? Make sure you say hi!
  6. Finally - don't forget to buy your ticket!
Are you coming to the Bloggers High Tea on Saturday 27th October? I so hope you are, it's going to be lovely! You can get your ticket here.

So what have I forgotten? Is there anything you would add to this list?

xx

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monkey Speak


Sometimes I worry that Monkey Boy's speech isn't developed enough to start school next year.
But actually he seems to have it under control, who am I to argue?

via
Count Dooku = Count Koo Koo
 
 
via
Princess Fiona = Princess The Owner
 
 
via
Yoda = The Odour
 
 
via
Dementors = Tormentors
 
 
via
 
Vampire = Bamfire

 
 
xx
 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blogger Stress

Last weekend Mr BC was supposed to take the boys camping, but at the last minute, for whatever reason, it was called off. He took them and the dog on a 'Day Adventure' instead, Walking, swimming and exploring their way around Bribie Island, which is where they had planned to go camping anyway. When they came home they went camping in the backyard instead. Inspired by Pinterest, I made some glow stick 'jar of fairies', and attempted some glow in the dark bubbles, which didn't. It was fun anyway. The next day they went surfing, played computer games, then went to the local swimming pool in the afternoon.

I was so looking forward to Not Camping, I had a lot of stuff planned for that time. Walking, blogging, work on the blog (two different things, I'm sure you get it) op shopping, farmers market, pedicure, scary movie, noodle soup for dinner, facial, hair colour, etc etc..And then I didn't have time to do most of it!

So on Sunday I finally got to my laptop with a 2 hour stretch in front of me, and started to get into what I was doing....and my screen went blank. Then the lights went out. It was dead. MY LAPTOP WAS DEAD.

And as I sat there, horrified, blubbering like a kid that Santa forgot, pressing the on switch over and over in a futile attempt to GET THE LAPTOP GOING, I looked at my tear stained face in the black mirror that my screen had become. I was really blubbering. My thoughts where;
  • Is this a sign from the universe to quit and focus more on my family?
  • How fast can I get a replacement laptop?
  • Why didn't I replace the stupid battery on this thing ages ago?
And then, past my melodramatic boo hoo face, I saw the reflection of the power cable, plugged into the power board that so artfully decorates my desk. And I saw that the cable to the power board was not actually plugged into anything.

So after I had plugged it in, fired up the laptop and continued on my merry blogging way, I went out and bought myself a new handbag, to get over the stress of the morning. Wouldn't you?

xx

Tell me, what would you do if your computer died?

 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Realising a dream

Do you have a long held dream? Something you have always wanted to do, but just, for whatever reason, never did? One of my lifelong dreams has been to start a business. I've never been able to pin point exactly what sort of business, or what the business would do - but I knew that it would allow me to work with lovely people, it would be fun, and it would fit around my family and other commitments. Well, guess what? I can tick the box on that dream!

One day months ago, I attended a local blogger brainstorm session, and after we had discussed and solved all sorts of blog related issues, the discussion turned to the lack of blogger events and opportunities available to Brisbane Bloggers, compared to larger citys (looking at you, Sydney and Melbourne!) Straight away, a seed was planted, one that has flourished and grown over the last few months to become a proper business - Blog Power Events.



Blog Power Events has been formed by Rachel of Redcliffe Style, Cate of Life Behind The Purple Door, and myself - we make a great team, if I say so myself, and I consider myself lucky to be in such amazing company. We are so excited about this, and are not even thinking too hard about sponsors yet - this is for bloggers by bloggers, who love blogging.

We know that when bloggers meet up, there is lots of laughter, fun, networking, inspiration, instagramming, tweeting, and fresh ideas flying around. We love to attend them, and we would like to attend more of them, so we are being the change we want to see! We hope to provide a regular calendar of events for the Brisbane Blogosphere to enjoy. Stay tuned for news of a launch party before the end of the month! And in the meantime, pop over to our website and like us on facebook and twitter, won't you? Wish us luck!

xx



 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

ABC Studio 3 Giveaway

 
Does anyone in your house watch channel ABC3? Are they obsessed with the shows on Studio 3?
I can answer a resounding yes to both questions. The BC brothers rarely venture into commercial TV, so enamoured are they of the line up on ABC 3. Which I am happy with, because there is no advertising to turn them into whiny little consumers, the shows are mostly fun and sometimes educational. Horrible Histories, for example, could replace the national history curriculum.
 
Fresh in the stores is a 2013 diary featuring stickers, interviews, quiz's, puzzles and fun facts about the boys favourite shows - Splatalot, Prank Patrol, Rush TV, Good game Spawn Point, The Adventures of Figaro Pho, and my favourite - Dukes of Broxtonia. And lots of others!
 
$11.95 at ABC stores and newsagents nationally
 
I am planning on popping this into The Gentleman's Christmas Stocking. Shhhh don't tell him! This year his reading progressed in leaps and bounds and next year I'm hoping this will help his writing to follow. It's time he started getting used to a calendar as well...

As well as providing me a copy for review, ABC 3 have also provided 2 copies to giveaway to you!
  • Please leave a comment telling me your favourite ABC3 program.
  • Be a follower of this blog!
  • It's not part of the competition, but I would love it if you followed me on facebook.
  • One entry per person.
  • Winner to be announced next Saturday 20th October.
  • Sorry, Australian residents only.

xx

UPDATE: The winners are Paula and HealthwithHappiness! Congratulations! Thanks so much for entering. Please email me with your delivery details and your prizes will be winging their way to you in no time.
xx
 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Compromise Cake


How to make Compromise Cake: A Tutorial.
  1. Plan on making a banana cake, discover there are no bananas.
  2. Wonder where that 2 kgs of bananas has gotten to.
  3. Become discouraged and make a packet mix instead.
  4. Feel like a bad housewife because you never cook packet mix anything.
  5. Give yourself a stern talking to, it's just a cake! No one will even care, except you. Everyone will eat the cake and like it! You don't have to be Martha Stewart ALL the time!
  6. Get over yourself.
  7. Make the packet mix in an oven dish so it is shaped like a slice. Fancy.
  8. Plan on making chocolate icing, discover there is no cocoa. Sigh a little.
  9. Compromise again, and make lemon icing.
  10. Decorate with pecans. I like pecans.
  11. Eat a piece of cake and reflect on the nature of compromise. Do so while standing back, because your family is stampeding the cake.
  12. Smile because not one person asked if it was a packet cake.
xx

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shepherds Whistle

This is a Shepherds Whistle.
 
A gift from my MIL
 
My husband was given it to train the dog.

Meh, whatever.

She doesn't seem to care that much.
 
You can listen to a Shepard's whistle here.
 
I wonder if it would still sound like that if I shoved it up his arse?
 
 
xx
 
Linking up to Wordless Wednesday.
Whistle Wednesday.
Whatever.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Long weekend - no football, no kids.

I found this image on face book. The hills are alive!

This weekend was a frenzy of football finals in Sydney. Besides soccer, most Aussies follow either Rugby League, Rugby Union or AFL. Except me, because I am willfully ignorant about most sport. You could say I was sport challenged. Meh! Whatever, I don't even care.

This weekend was also a long weekend thanks to the Queen having her birthday at some stage. This was awesome, not because I get an extra day off work (stay at home mums work every day) but because the BC Brothers went to stay with their Nanny and Pop for the whole weekend. See? Awesome.

We drove them up in time for Saturday lunch. They where not too happy about being left there, despite the fact that there is a pool at Nanny and Pop's. I think they where upset about leaving the Wii. I felt a bit guilty but Mr BC said that A, we needed a weekend off, and B, they would come home appreciating their mum. Who was I to argue?
  • We took a leisurely drive home through the Sunshine Coast, and there was no fighting in the backseat. I even stopped for a diet coke, and didn't have to negotiate any terms.
  • On Saturday night we went out for laksa, then to a movie. Just the two of us! No, really - we where the only people in the theatre. We saw The Watch, which was very funny.
  • Then we came home and slept all night, without any interruptions.Our sleep banks must have been in deficit, because we slept in the following morning as well.
  • We went to the local farmers markets and had a big stroll around the shops. There has been a beautification project going on in our town, and it was lovely to check out all the improvements and browse the stores, before taking our time at the markets. Normally it would be a speed mission of get in-get out, omg put that down now, what do you think you are doing? Can't you wait until we get home? Where is your brother???
  • We spent some quality time together, taking the dog for a long walk and house perv session.
  • We went to a neighbours housewarming party......
 
At 7pm we where standing in front of the neighbours house and I said to Mr BC One drink to be polite, then we are leaving.
 
But we ended up staying until 4.30AM!
 
Just like teenagers! Except I could do that stuff and get away with it when I was a teenager. Maybe I don't get out much, but the party was brilliant. One half of our new neighbours is Cambodian, and had made a delicious range of traditional Cambodian Curry's, which immediately cured me of wanting to go out for Thai. Their old neighbours made the trek from an hour and a half away to settle them into their new home, and there was 3 generations of them. They where all either Irish or Scots, there was lots of singing and guitar playing. Our Karaoke loving neighbour was also there, and it was lovely to catch up with her. At one stage she popped home and got her bongos. Then another neighbour and his wife gatecrashed, and became the life of the party! This guy is the Brisbane go to guy for ice carving, and had everyone entertained with tales of giant frozen penises that dispensed vodka. We took turns making blender drinks to drink from shot glasses, and i ended up reading someones palm while Iceman's wife sang Alicia Keys with YouTube on the big screen. Thank heavens it was a short walk home, that's all I can say.
 
I am so glad the boys got home after lunch today, I really needed a quiet morning, after my restful weekend!
 
xx
 
Today I am linking up to ibot. I know, I'm not even a joiner!
 
 
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