Thursday, 24 April 2014

R is for Rainy Days


Image Credit: Mr Printables

Since moving to a new city we are experiencing more rainy days than we are used to.  I have found it useful to have a folder of rainy day ideas to go to when I am at a loss for what to do with Bear and Bee while we are stuck inside.

During the summer months Bear and Bee are happy to play in the rain and jump in puddles but as the weather starts to cool down they are less inclined to want to go outside.

With this in mind I have come up with a list of cooking activities that are perfect for a rainy day.

Get in a twist with homemade pretzels.  These are great with a bowl of soup or just on their own as a tasty snack.

Need to move fast? Try decorating ready made biscuits with icing pens, sprinkles and mini marshmallows.

Don't get messy.  Get the kids to make some felt pizzas.  They will have fun coming up with their own toppings.

Brighten a dreary day with these Rainbow Muffins.

Finally, want to slow down and warm up?  Momables has this great homemade Hot Chocolate recipe.  Delicious!

What is your go to activity on a rainy day?


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

M is for Menu Plan Week 5

Anzac Biscuits
Anzac Biscuits

I know.  It's late Tuesday night and I am only now getting round to posting our menu plan for this week.  I have a good excuse.  Well 2 good excuses actually.  Bear fractured her wrist on Sunday and Bee has come down with a high temp and stomach pains over the last 24 hours.  So I hope you'll forgive me and read on.

For this week's plan I have tried to use as many budget friendly, pantry and fridge friendly recipes as I can.  After hosting family for lunch on Easter Sunday and indulging a little over the Easter Weekend, we need to use up what ingredients we can from the pantry and fridge and try to keep the grocery shopping list to a minimum.  In an effort to eat healthier I am also going to try and include at least 1 vegetarian and 1 fish dinner each week.

So without any further ado (or excuses!) here's our menu plan for this week.

Monday Dinner - Sausages and vegetables
Tuesday Dinner - Chinese beef meatballs and noodle stir fry
Wednesday Dinner - Chicken Fried Rice
Thursday Dinner - Vegie Enchiladas
Friday Dinner - Homemade Fish Fingers, Oven baked chips and Salad (Kids Cooking Night)
Saturday Dinner - Homemade Pizzas

Morning and Afternoon Teas include - Yoghurt, Anzac Biscuits, Muffins, Crackers and Cheese sticks, Muesli Bars, Pikelets, Strawberry Yoghurt Cupcakes, Popcorn and Sandwiches.

Lunches include - Roast Lamb and Salad Pita Breads (using leftover lamb from Sunday lunch), Roast Vegie Frittata (using leftover vegies from Sunday lunch), Ham and Salad Sandwiches, Chicken and Salad Wraps and Burgers.

Friday, 18 April 2014

E is for Easter Fun

Easter Ornaments
I love the rainbow lambs in the top left corner.
 Today we finished painting the Easter Ornaments we made yesterday.  We used this idea for Baking Soda Easter Eggs from The DIY Dreamer.  They are similar to salt dough ornaments but a lot faster to cook and are very white.

The recipe for the baking soda ornaments is from Urban Bliss Life. The only change I would make to the recipe is to leave the ornaments in the oven for longer to make sure they are harder.  Maybe up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  As long as possible without them going brown.  If you are making these in Australia the oven temperature converts to 80 degrees Celcius.

Tomorrow we will hopefully get time to make marshmallows.  I'll make the marshmallow as its not a kid friendly recipe that children Bear and Bee's age can help with.  Then Bear and Bee can help cut up the marshmallow using our Easter themed cookie cutters.  I will post photos of the results on our Facebook page.  

If you find yourself wanting to use up some of the mini easter eggs try out our Easter Surprise Muffins.

Happy Easter

Monday, 14 April 2014

M is for Menu Plan Week 4

Bear and her dad

After a wonderful camping trip last week (thankfully we were back home before Tropical Cyclone Ita swept through) I am finding it hard to get back into the swing of a regular routine.  Thus this post is late.  Sorry about that.  To make up for it I have included next Sunday's meals as well so you can see what we are planning to have for lunch and dinner on Easter Sunday.

Sunday Dinner - Beef and Red Wine Stew
Monday Dinner - Baked Sour Cream Chicken and Veggies
Tuesday Dinner - Sausage Casserole and Mashed Potato
Wednesday Dinner - Cheat's Pastitsio and Green Salad
Thursday Dinner - Chicken in Pyjamas, Chips and Salad
Friday Dinner - Tuna Mornay Vol au Vents and Veggies
Saturday Dinner - Beef Stronganoff and Veggies

Easter Sunday Lunch - Roast Lamb plus sides and Easter Apple Pudding
Easter Sunday Dinner - Lunch leftovers plus Pasta Salad   

Morning and Afternoon Teas include - Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cheese, crackers and veggie sticks, Frozen Yoghurt Pops and Strawberry Yoghurt Cupcakes.

Lunches include -  Savoury Pikelets, Fish Finger Wraps, Sandwiches, Chicken and salad rolls,


What is your family planning to eat over Easter?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

M is for Menu Plan Week 3 Campstyle

Setting up camp
Setting up camp

I haven't created a regular menu plan for this week as our family is going camping tomorrow.  Instead I have linked to recipes for some of the meals and snacks we are going to cook this week - some for the first time.

Breakfasts will include cereal and toast as usual but since we are on holidays there will also be pancakes, bacon and egg muffins and scrambled eggs on toast.

With us arriving at the campsite just before lunch tomorrow we will be trying out Tacos in a bag for easy dining.  On other days we will have sandwiches, pita breads and wraps.

I would love to try out some new camping recipes for dinner but many of the ones I am interested in are for cooler weather and wouldn't suit Bear and Bee's tastes at the moment.  So I have bookmarked them for future camping trips.  We are however going to have Meatball Pasta with a salad and crusty bread,  'Gourmet' hot dogs and Chicken Fajitas (on page 32 of the book). 

For snacks we are taking fruit that transports well like apples, trail mix, crackers and vegetables sticks.  For a sweet treat I have packed this Gingerbread and these Malted Milk Chocolate Chip cookies (and are Bee's new favourite cookie) which we baked today.

What are your families favourite foods to take camping?

For more camping food ideas, make sure you have a look at our Camping Pinterest board.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

A is for Aprons on my friends

happy

On my bedside table at the moment is The Smallest Things: Thoughts on Making a Happy Family by Angela Mollard.  This book has been responsible for many a late night reading and as a consequence a few days where I have been less of a morning person than usual - not that I am much of a morning person at the best of times.  More of a wake at a reasonable hour and go to bed at a reasonable hour kind of person which hasn't actually happened since having children.

Anyway back to the book at fault.  The Smallest Things is a fantastic read.  Mollard writes columns for many of our weekend newspapers around Australia and has also appeared on television.  I have thoroughly enjoyed her honest, heart felt and uncomprising style of writing in her columns and likewise in this book. Not all of 'The Smallest Things" makes for a cheerful read, even though the title may suggest it would, but I won't give away too much here.

The chapter titled Sponge Cakes and Spoon-Licking is all about children and food (and where the title of this post comes from).  Mollard covers everything from cooking shows to fussy eaters to why we need to eat meals as a family but not in front of the television.

My favourite quote from this chapter -

"Crucially, if we're to restore a respect and appreciation for good, nourishing food then we need to get kids making their own meals." 

My thoughts exactly!

There's much more covered in this book than food but that's for another blog. I would encourage you to get your hands on a copy of this book.  With school holidays coming up you may even find some time to read it at a reasonable hour.

Enjoy your break if you get one.

PS. If you are interested in buying a copy of this book to read you can click on my affliliate link below.  

The Smallest Things: Thoughts on Making a Happy Family  

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

B is for Bunny Break Muffins

Carrot and Banana Muffins

These Carrot and Banana Muffins are the perfect snack for your hungry bunnies.

Carrot and Banana Muffins

Makes approx 12.  We made 9 regular sized muffins and 12 mini muffins.

Carrot and Banana Muffins
Download the recipe card here.

Ingredients
1 medium sized ripe banana, mashed
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable or light olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup finely grated carrot

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Line muffin pan with paper cases. This is a good step for all young children to help with.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, milk, sugar and vanilla.
4. Sift flour and cinnamon over the banana mixture.  Add carrot and gently mix together.  Be careful not to mix too much or the muffins will be tough.
5. Spoon the mixture evenly among the paper cases.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly touched.
7. Cool on a wire rack.

Carrot and Banana Muffins
Carrot and Banana Muffins

To make these muffins even more Easterish (I'm sure that's a word), we iced them with Cream Cheese Icing and used fruit stick lollies and mini marshallows to make carrot and flower decorations.

Carrot and Banana Muffins
Bee decorating the muffins

Cream Cheese Icing
Beat 30 grams soft butter and 80 grams soft cream cheese in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in 240g (1 1/2 cups) icing sugar.