A Table For One

After putting Possum to bed tonight I did a quick weather check, you know, to see if it might snow. No snow forecast but it did say that the apparent temperature was -7!!! If that’s not deserving of a good dump of snow I don’t know what is! It is definitely deserving of a toasty wood fire. Living up here in the Blue Mountains has meant I am pretty nifty with the ol’ fire building. No firestarters here! I’m also very fortunate to be living across from bush where there is no shortage of kindling and fallen branches to get the fire started. Legoman has introduced me to a very cool little flick saw, which means I don’t have to risk breaking a leg trying to jump on branches to break them either! Huzzah!
Alas, the amazing fire couldn’t be shared for dinner. Legoman needed to work late and I had used up all my enthusiasm making a cranking fire. So instead of serving myself up some salmon as was planned tonight, I grabbed a couple of lentil burgers out of the freezer and dished them up with mango chutney, yoghurt and a few lettuce leaves. Simple but pretty darn tasty!

Lazy Lentil Burgers

Lazy Lentil Burgers

Lazy Lentil Burger For One

Affordability : Moderate. No more than $5 for the serve. I did buy the frozen Lentil Burgers (from the Frozen Vegan/Vegetarian section at the supermarket) when they were on special.

Time Factor : EXCELLENT. Dinner ready to eat in 10 minutes.

Complexity : LOW. Take patties out of freezer box, put in oven. Tricky.

Deliciousness : MODERATE – EXCELLENT. Maybe I was just super hungry but this really hit the spot!

Mess : LOW. All I used was a roasting tray in the oven and a plate to eat off. Oh and a fork and knife…

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Comfortably full.

Possum Friendly? YES. If she wasn’t being so fussy at the moment I would offer her something like this for dinner. She had her usual pile of mushrooms with some pasta and green peas instead. But burgers and patties make for a perfect baby led weaning meal or snack. This particular brand (Syndian) contains no scarey ingredients so I would feel quite comfortable serving these for the whole family.

Would I make it again? Indeedy!

Advertisements

Giant Snowflakes!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love snow 🙂

I really truly do. Ask Legoman and he will tell you I turn into a crazy lady as soon as it starts to snow. And it’s snowed twice this week!!!! TWICE!!! 😀

Today started with beautiful wintery bright blue skies and by the afternoon big fat juicy snowflakes were coming down all around!! Possum and I sat by the back door to watch them for however long it was that they fell for. Bliss 🙂

I’m hoping this is a good sign of even more snow to come this winter. Fingers and toes are crossed.

I love snow 🙂

Anyhoo, food… Tonight I made a pasta dish with an actual recipe. Highly unusual behaviour. Normally it is grab whatever is going funky in the fridge, combine with tinned tomatoes and loads of garlic. And if it tastes… interesting, then you can smother it in cheese. But tonight I thought I would challenge my pasta making abilities with Lamb, Bean and Pea pasta from Cuisine Magazine. It seemed like a good way to hide little bite size pieces of meat, legume and vegetable so that our newly fussy toddler actually gets some nutrients into her apart from grapes and mushrooms (her two food obsessions at the moment).

Turns out her vegetable seeking abilities are better than an over enthusiastic sniffer dog and her oral dexterity means she can eat the pasta whilst spitting out any meat, veg or legume you’ve tried to hide in said pasta. Quite amazing really. Leaves tying a jelly snake in a knot for dead if you ask me. Though the win for tonight were the green peas. After a bit of coaxing and being force fed green peas by Possum, she finally thought she would try one for herself. The usual face squirm was the initial response followed by about 20 peas being individually shovelled (can you shovel a single green pea??) into her mouth. Hurray!! She ate multiple green things!!!

She also ate two mouthfuls of some Chicken (and cannellini bean and sweet potato) nuggets I also made today. All that effort for two bites. She has to be the only person who can walk away from Panko breadcrumbs. Seriously.

In other news, I have managed to get Possum up on my back using our woven wrap twice today! And she stayed put, no sliding out the bottom!! I honestly don’t know what I would do without baby wearing. You can get so much more done and bub is happy to be part of whatever it is you need to do. Win Win. If you want to have a look at some great wraps, check out this local business… Frangipani Baby.

Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Affordability : EXCELLENT. Makes use of pantry and freezer staples with the help of a handful of homegrown mint (one of the few things I can successfully grow).

Time Factor : EXCELLENT. Dinner ready in 20 minutes. The only chopping you have to do is one garlic clove and a handful of mint leaves. Super easy!

Complexity : LOW. Even easier than spag bol!

Deliciousness : LOW-MODERATE. I wasn’t a huge fan but Legoman liked it. Possum liked the peas, which made me happy. The pine nuts are a must (I left them off of Possum’s serve).

Mess : LOW. Two saucepans. Done.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Carbs, meat and legumes. Makes for a full belly.

Possum Friendly? YES. The ingredients for this pasta dish makes it perfect for Baby Led Weaning, particularly once they have established or want to practice their pincer grasp.

Would I make it again? Probably not. Green peas can go in many other dishes.

And to sign off, here is a little cuteness to brighten your day. My little garden gnome.

Photo: My little garden gnome :-)

Brrrrrrrrrr

Winter has well and truly settled into our beautiful Blue Mountains. The mornings are crisp and frosty. My drive to work has to be one of the most beautiful in the world! I meander down Mt Vic pass with amazing cliff lines pushing up from a blanket of mist. The days are bright and sunny, perfect for getting out and about, with the air leaving cheeks rosy and noses runny.

Image

It’s also the kind of weather to really get into comfort food! Every magazine cover seems to boast “Winter Warmers! Slow Cooked Wonders!”. I know they make me stop and have a flick through. One absolute dinner win has been a Vietnamese Chicken Curry done in my nifty slow cooker using chicken drumsticks (scored for $2.08 in the Quick Sale section at Woolies! Booya!).

The recipe is from the I Quit Sugar For Life cookbook (a great book with heaps of yummy recipes even if you keep eating sugar!). For a slow cooker recipe it took me a while to make. I mean days. First the chicken had to defrost out of the freezer. That took two days. Then I made the marinade and let the chook sit overnight. Then a slow afternoon of cooking. But boy was the flavour worth it! Absolutely my favourite slow cooker recipe so far! It’s the lemongrass in it that’s the real winner so don’t try to cut corners and leave it out. Served over a bed of yummy rice, it’s a belly warming winter wonder.

Vietnamese Chicken Curry

Affordability : Moderate. Once you buy your meat, curry paste, coconut milk and lemongrass the cost starts to climb but you do get heaps of leftovers. Look out for chicken on quick sale and keep in the freezer until it’s needed. Drumsticks or lovely legs are both ideal for this!

Time Factor : MODERATE. Took a little while to make the marinade, plus I let it marinate overnight though you could marinate in the morning and get it all cooking at lunch time ready for 5pm dinner.

Complexity : LOW. As long as you can mix things together in a slow cooker you’ll be fine.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Yummy yum yum yum. Mmmmmmmmmmmm mmm.

Mess : MODERATE. A bowl to marinate the chicken, plus a chopping board and your slow cooker. Oh and a rice pot.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Sweet potato, carrot, meat and rice make me a happy and full.

Possum Friendly? YES. Possum loves eating meat off the bone, especially chicken. So this was a clear winner for her! She wasn’t crash hot on the vegetables though, but i served her a side of her favourite thing… mushrooms.

Would I make it again? Yup! You betcha!

Image

I’m Alive! Alive!!!

Apologies for the prolonged quiet from this end of the the interwebs. Life just seemed to amp it up for a little while there! So what happened while I was gone?

My Mum had her birthday.

A week later I had my first Mother’s Day.

A week later Possum turned 1!! Huzzah! We celebrated with Vegan Cupcakes which were dense but delicious! Funnily enough I went to the trouble of making an egg free cake for Possum as we are wondering about an allergy. Turns out she doesn’t like cake much and would prefer to chow down on sausages and cheese. Takes after her Mum 🙂

A week later Lego Man had his birthday.

Add into the mix a very fun and cute 2nd birthday party at a miniature working train park, work, mothers group, 4 new molar’s, cold weather and you can see why I BOUGHT MYSELF A SLOW COOKER!!!

I so feel like a Mum now.

Our trusty Flavour Maker (cheesy name hey) has stretched it’s slow moving legs 3 times since I had it arrive on my doorstep 2 weeks ago. I even got to use the Slow Cooker cookbook I bought about 3 months ago! Yes I bought a slow cooker cookbook BEFORE actually owning a slow cooker. But that purchase is now justified 🙂

Hopefully this Flavour Maker will help us churn through the kilos of meat I bought on impulse (who can resist half a kilo of organic scotch fillet for $3??? thankyou quick sale at Woolworths!). That amazing day that I got distracted by the cheap meat (and yes I am literally referring to meat and not any male performers), I managed to get so excited I drove home to realise I had forgotten milk and nappies.

So far we have made Devilled Beef (sounds so old school, meat tasted as old as it sounds), Moroccan Beef (I think some of the flavour got left behind in Morocco) and then tonight Cinnamon and Lemon Lamb Shanks (must find a cheaper place to get lamb shanks… $26 for 4 is a bit rich). Tomorrow night is a Vietnamese Chicken Curry ($2.06 for 8 free range drumsticks! booya!).

My aim in the next week or two is to get back into the groove of sharing our meal plans and recipes with you.

Got a good slow cooker recipe? I would love you to share!

Here’s a pic of Possum on her birthday wearing the crocheted dress/top I made her (using amazing yarn from Nunnaba, was like crocheting with rainbow butter!). I was surprised at how emotional having Possum turn 1 was. I am starting to understand why my Mum cries at sentimental car ads now…Image