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 :-)

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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

Meal Plan 30/3 – 5/4

SUNDAY / showers 18

Grilled Lemony Herb Chicken with Leftover Risotto and Vegetables

MONDAY / possible shower 21

Ants Climbing A Tree

TUESDAY / partly cloudy 22

Rissoles and Vegetables

WEDNESDAY / shower or two 23

Fish with Pumpkin and Silverbeet Tian

THURSDAY / shower and chance of a storm 21

Chicken Pesto Pasta

FRIDAY / shower or two 16

Spinachy Bean Burger Tacos

SATURDAY / a few showers 19

Leftover Pies

And the meat is back!

Oy, I just watched the second Hunger Games movie and need to unwind… Those films really get to me. Hopefully blogging will help.

Meat Free Week was a great success in our household! New recipes were tried and thoroughly enjoyed, and the meat wasn’t missed (that much). But I am glad to have some meat back on the menu this week. It’s good to know the huge variety of meat free recipes out there that are easy, quick and delicious. So if you’re on a budget or your conscience is getting the better of you, maybe try a meet free week for yourself and see how you go.

To finish off the week, we had roast vegetable frittata with oven baked risotto. First time I’ve made frittata and I had a bit of a frittata fail. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong. I just didn’t prepare my pan enough and it ended up sticking. And then I scraped the crap out of the pan trying to get it out. Here’s the photographic proof.

Frittata Fail

Frittata Fail

The risotto is a recipe I tried a few weeks ago and is now firmly placed in my Pink Folder of Wonder (where all my fav print out recipes go). This time I thought I would try a combination of arborio rice and millet. What is millet? Apart from being one of the main ingredients in bird food (sounds so tempting right?), it is a low allergenic grain which is a good source of many nutrients including magnesium, copper, phosphorous and iron. I’ve used it before to make some tasty millet, ricotta and mint patties. First time in a risotto. Super happy with the result. It offered a great mix of textures with the rice. I used 1 cup rice to around 3/4 cup of millet (I over poured and couldn’t get it back in the container…). I would recommend you add some variety to your grain cupboard with some millet and give it a go.

Tonight’s meal was a leftover of the risotto, some steamed veg and a quick bit of chicken. Here’s how I did the chicken…

Herby Lemon Chicken, Serves 2

Take one chicken breast. Cut a criss cross pattern on the underside.  Season with salt and pepper, a good helping of fresh lemon zest and some fresh thyme (or whatever herb takes your fancy). Lay it between two pieces of baking paper then pummel with either the bottom of a heavy pan or a heavy rolling pin (I have a solid marble rolling pin which is perfect for tasks like this. It’s also my home security system). Heat some olive oil in a pan (I used the hot plate on our stove top, but a BBQ would be perfect). Cook for a few minutes either side then let rest before slicing and dividing into two serves.

Herby Lemon Chicken

Herby Lemon Chicken

Herby Lemon Chicken with Vegetables and Risotto

Affordability : MODERATE. Splitting one chicken breast between two offered plenty of meat while cutting down cost. The risotto makes a large amount and can be frozen for another day. A good variety of veg on the side and you have yourself quite an affordable but delicious meal.

Time Factor : MODERATE. Thankfully the risotto was leftovers tonight and only took 2 minutes in the microwave, but originally take about an hour from go to gob. I cook my corn in the microwave, little trick I learnt at work. Using a leftover bag you use from your fruit and veg shopping (the clear super light ones), pop your corn and a spoon of water in the bag. Tie a knot in the top then microwave for 1.5 minutes. Ta Dah! Easy work snack and super easy dinner side.

Complexity : MODERATE. I choose to make my own tomato sauce for the risotto (recipe is at the foot of the main recipe). But you could make this more simple by using a store bought sauce (though I doubt it would be a delish).

Deliciousness : MODERATE. To be honest, the chicken let the team down a bit tonight. Breast meat has a tendency to get dry. Next time I would stick to using thigh meat like I normally do. But the risotto is delicious and I love fresh corn on the cob.

Mess : MODERATE. An oven pan, two saucepans, a grill pan and some microwave container for the veg.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Great mix of veg, carbs and protein means I am nicely full and stayed full.

Possum Friendly? YES. I didn’t make enough chicken to give to her tomorrow, but would be an excellent way to offer some simple meat. Possum loves this risotto recipe. She isn’t too happy with plain steamed veg. Tonight I gave her some ocean trout (which she gobbled up at lightning speed) and some fried capsicum, with grapes and yoghurt for after.

Would I make it again? Yes. I think I’d try some other things before doing the chicken breast again, but it was a great quick way to flavour and cook the meat. It made me want to make schnitzel though.

Herby Lemon Chicken and Vegetables with RIsotto

Herby Lemon Chicken and Vegetables with RIsotto

In other news, Possum is on the mend. And crawling!! Very proud mummy 🙂

Will post my meal plan for the week tomorrow.