A Penny For Your Thoughts

2015 Reader Survey

If I could pay you I would.

As a teenager I used to LOVE market research. My sister and I would catch the bus 10 minutes from our house and join a panel to review the latest chip flavour or menstrual pads and get paid a whopping $20 cold hard cash. Man, we had it made. Once my sister even did market research for cigarettes! How is that even legal??

Well now I’m on the other side of the fence, asking you lovely, wonderful, generous people a few questions about my little blog.

Blogging is a funny old business in that sometimes it can feel a bit like I’m the crazy lady at the bus stop spluttering excitedly about what she had to eat the night before. Wait, maybe that is me after all. Anyway, I have put together 10 questions at this link :

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5GD3T87

I would love to hear your thoughts about my blog and what kind of things you’d like to read about while you’re here!

Thankyou!!!!!

 

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Oven Baked Pumpkin, Leek and Millet Risotto


oven baked risotto

As a working mumma, my favourite part of my working day is coming home. And not because I’m getting to leave work (which some days I can’t wait to get out of there!), but because as soon as I step through our front door I hear… “Mummy’s home!!! It’s Mummy!! Hello Mummy!!” and have a little bundle of curls come running with her arms wide ready for a big cuddle. Not much can beat that. I have friends with bubs much younger who can’t crawl or talk or who are literally one week old and it’s like knowing that the awesome scene in a movie is coming up in a room of first time watchers. Smiling on the inside and the outside knowing that so much awesomeness is ahead for them.

How that relates to tonight’s recipe I have no idea. But to all you mums who may be having a hard time at the moment, the craziness will pass. The feeling overwhelmed isn’t forever. One day that little face is going to say “I love you Mummy” or you’ll be dancing together in the kitchen, shaking maraccas and trying hard not to cry at how freaking awesome being the mum to YOUR child is.

Now the feels are out… here is some warming autumn food to fill your belly with love.

Oven Baked Pumpkin, Leek and Millet Risotto – Serves 4

1/2 cup arborio rice

3/4 cup millet

500g piece of pumpkin peeled, deseeded and chopped into 1cm pieces

2 tsp dried mixed herbs

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 leek sliced into 1/2 rings and well rinsed

1 Tbsp butter

Zest 1/2 lemon

3/4 cup grated parmesan + extra for serving if desired

1L vegetable stock (I used 1.5 stock cubes to make this up)

Preheat oven to 200°C fan forced or 220°C conventional.

Place pumpkin, dried herbs, salt and pepper with a good glug of olive oil in a baking dish (you will use this dish to hold the whole risotto, I used a large pyrex baking dish). Stir to combine. Place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leek, cook stirring until soft and golden ~ 5-8 minutes. Add rice and millet, stir to coat grains. Add hot stock. Bring to a simmer. Take off heat and stir in parmesan.

Add rice mixture to the roasting pumpkin. Stir to combine. Cover with foil and return to oven. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, then remove foil. Continue to bake for another 15 minutes, the excess liquid will soak up and the top will get just a little crunchy. Enjoy!

My little bundle of awesomeness xxxx

My little bundle of awesomeness xxxx

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Holy Hail Balls!

To people that say there’s no such thing as global warming, I yell a massive “BULLSHIT!”. These people must clearly live inside 24/7 in perfectly climate controlled surrounds, without windows. Because you cannot deny the crazy weather that is going on everywhere. Today in our cozy little mountains town, we had a glorious autumn morning, perfect for everyone to get out and remember the service men and women who have laid their lives on the line for our country (ANZAC day for those unfamiliar).

And then come early afternoon the heavens opened and dropped a truck load of hail! And I’m not talking a few minutes of tiny little ice blobs. I’m talking 30 minutes of 1cm-2cm sized chunks being pelted down from the heavens! Possum loves getting a bowl of hail to play with, so I popped a little tupperwear container out when it first started. Within a minute or two it was covered, literally in hail! I tried popping outside to go collect it for her and got pumelled so hard I ran back inside, grabbing a fist full of hail stones on the way. Possum very happily had a snow cone for afternoon tea (that tasted like gum leaves!).

The whole thing was mesmerizing, beautiful and a little off putting. The associated thunder and lightning was dramatic to say the least.

Amidst all of this I met with a doula today who amazingly braved the hail and crazy drivers to make it safely to my house to talk babies and birth. That is dedication!

Check out the pics of this crazy hail!

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To warm us up I concocted a delicious Pumpkin and Leek Oven Baked Millet Risotto…. but that is a post for another day 😉

Stay warm and safe everyone, and thank goodness for roofs over our heads and the peace we are given daily.

Thursday Tips: The Power In Choices

This woman and fellow blogger is a seasoned speech therapist. She has a great blog about making food fun and suggestions for fussy eaters. This post about choices has some lovely ideas for meal times and life in general with a little person.

LEARN TO LOVE FOOD

The Power in ChoicesGiving kids choices gives everyone power. You control the situation because you get to choose what the choices are and your child has control because she gets to guide the situation. A true win-win!  

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Egg Free and Gluten Free Corn Fritters

Egg Free and Gluten Free Corn Fritters

I love me a good brunch. Sadly Legoman thinks it’s a waste of time. And with a toddler and conflicting work schedules it’s a rare treat. I always, always, always order corn fritters when they are on a menu. Especially if they come with avocado and bacon…. mmmmmm… bacon. I was flicking through my recipe folder and got pretty excited to find a corn fritter recipe with no egg!!

I modified it slightly to try and make it more kiddie friendly (less spices), sadly Possum still wasn’t keen on them tonight but was happy to gobble up close to a whole avocado and a bucket of yoghurt. Legoman on the other hand said it was a keeper.

I chose to make mine little hand size to make for easy dipping, but you can also make them more grown up sized. I reckon they would be even tastier with a little salsa of some kind on the side. Something a little sweet and a little zingy!

Egg Free and Gluten Free Corn Fritters with Mint Yoghurt and Avocado – serves 4

120g chickpea (besan) flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

pinch of salt

200g frozen or fresh corn kernels (don’t need to defrost)

3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped

A big handful or coriander, roughly chopped

160ml full fat milk or water (I reckon coconut milk would rock too)

Sunflower oil for frying 

1-2 Tbsp chopped mint

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup yoghurt (plain full fat)

1 ripe avocado (or more if you love your avo!)

First make up the yoghurt by combining yoghurt, mint, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix in corn, spring onions and coriander. Stir in milk.

Heat 1cm of oil in frying pan to medium high heat. Use a heaped teaspoon amount per fritter, making sure not to over crowd the pan. Cook until golden brown on each side (I left the first batch a little too long and they looked a bit like those old ladies at the beach who could be made into handbags). Remove and drain on paper towel. Keep fritters warm in the oven while you cook the rest.

Serve these Egg Free and Gluten Free Corn Fritters with yoghurt and slices of avocado. Yum!

Corn Fritters

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Toddler Cooking Adventures!

quick and easy microwave popcorn

It’s all been feeling a bit like Noah’s ark at the moment. Crazy rain and wind throughout our state for days on end. Weather like this makes me want to crawl under a blanket, eat lots of food, drink hot chocolate and binge on TV series on DVDs. Alas being the mother of a toddler, this scenario pans out a little differently…. “mummy! mummy! mummy! I want to watch a mooooooovie!! mummy! moooooovie!” normally this has started at about 8:30 in the morning. Depending on my level of sleep, patience and general awesomeness I can sometimes hold out until about 3pm. Then it is not just a movie, but popcorn and movie time! For Possum AND mummy 🙂

Possum has been really enjoying getting into the kitchen lately and pretending to cook constantly. Making microwave popcorn from scratch has been a really fun, simple and easy way to include her in the kitchen as well as make a super tasty and reasonably healthy snack for the two of us to share.

Here is how to make it! What movie will you be watching? Our favourites are Madagascar Two (Possum calls it Lion Movie), Ratatouille (Rat Movie) and Rio 2 (Rio Movie).

Easy Microwave Popcorn – serves 4

1/3 cup popping corn

a decent chunk of butter

a shake of salt

Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl (I use my Pyrex mixing bowl) for around 30 seconds in the microwave, making sure you have a cover over the bowl. Take bowl out of the microwave, add your salt and popping corn (this is Possum’s job). Stir to combine (also Possum’s job).

Possum's cooking adventures

Possum’s cooking adventures

Stir stir stir

Stir stir stir

Place bowl and cover in the microwave for 3 minutes 20 seconds for a 1000W microwave.

Don't forget the cover!!!

Don’t forget the cover!!!

Stay close by to listen for when the pops slow down. Take your delicious hot bowl of buttery popcorn out of the microwave using oven mitts. Divide among movie watchers or share from one big (but still hot so be careful!) bowl. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Delicious hot popcorn!!

Delicious hot popcorn!!

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Baby Led Weaning – 17 months on

Baby Led Weaning - 17 months on

Once upon a time, way back in the golden olden days, I had a baby. A gorgeous butter ball of a 6 months old baby.

I now have a lanky chatterbox toddler!

I did a post 8 months ago (that maths is correct yeah? Dad??) to reflect on our Baby Led Weaning journey. And here we are now with our gorgeous Possum about to turn two (!!!) next month. Safe to say we are past the sweet potato wedges and patties phase and into the “I’m a little person with my own little palate and no you can not make  me eat that roast potato” phase.

In my previous post I had talked about Possum dropping down on the weight centiles and not being quite sure why. Was Baby Led Weaning to blame? The answer was a big fat no! Turns out she has multiple allergies and a lot (and I mean A LOT) of the food I was offering her was actually stuff she was allergic to. Our beautiful Possum is allergic to egg, fish/seafood, sesame, hazelnut and pecan (no great loss with that one IMO). So once we had that figured out, care of blood tests and comprehensive skin prick tests, we were then able to keep her on a modified diet. The amazing thing was she then had a massive growth spurt not long after! As if her body was saying a huge THANK YOU for finally understanding what it needed. The sad part was, as I was and still am breastfeeding it meant couldn’t have any of those things either. No more pad thai, no more fish and chips, no more sesame snaps. Hello to reading the ingredients on EVERY SINGLE THING when you do the grocery shopping. I still do read ingredients lists religiously because companies are constantly changing their ingredients without telling you. All of a sudden the rice crackers we had been buying, plain rice crackers, had sesame seeds listed in the ingredients list. Well that explained the angry nappy rash!

Anyway! I digress!

So Baby Led Weaning is all about, well, weaning. As any introduction of food is seen as the beginning of the shift for a child from a purely milk (in our case breastmilk) based diet to a fully food based diet. I am proud and also a little freaked out to say we are still breastfeeding. I say freaked out because I am also 24 weeks pregnant! I never in a million years thought I would be a tandem breastfeeder but that is kind of the direction we are heading at the moment. I have had some horrible horrible experiences with feeding aversion prior to falling pregnant which made our breastfeeding relationship hugely stressful and made me want to wean cold turkey. Thankfully the pregnancy actually helped to mellow things out. And here we are. Possum seems to be slowly cutting out her first thing in the morning feed which is nice, though some mornings she will ask “I want just a tiny little bit of mummy milk”. If we are home she will still have a feed before her nap and then has another feed before bed time at night. She doesn’t always feed to sleep anymore which is another bonus as it meant Legoman and I actually went out one night BEFORE she went to bed! Amazing!

So our Baby Led Weaning journey continues. It looks a heck of a lot different to 7 months ago! Let’s see where we will be in 7 months time!

How is your Baby Led Weaning journey going? Are you where you thought you’d be?