Mango and Coconut Smoothie

Mango and Coconut Smoothie

I must be missing summer at the moment. Pina Colada Muffins one week, Mango and Coconut Smoothie the next! We live in the Blue Mountains, Australia, which is a remarkably beautiful place. But come winter time, it’s really bloody cold! Our fruit bowl is full of pears, apples and bananas. Nothing like the melons, mangoes and stone fruit we devour in the summer months. Thankfully I have found that you can buy 1 kg (yes 1kg!!) of frozen mango for around $6 at Aldi! Woohoo!!

And the other week, while I was in hospital, a foodie friend of mine not only brought me two trays of Italian pastries (he knows me well!) but he also brought some amazingly delicious coconut milk. I’m so used to coconut milk in tins from the supermarket, that this cold bottle of light sweet coconut milk was a revelation!

Mango and Coconut Smoothie

Now I know smoothies are all the rage at the moment and people are loading them up with avocado, quinoa, protein powders and the milk of yaks from outer west mongolia. In our house smoothies are a much more simple affair, with one main purpose. To cheer up a tired and cranky two year old. This Mango and Coconut Smoothie can be prepared with a toddler in one hand and your ingredients in the other. It comes together in a moment so little people don’t have to wait. And it is super delicious!! And healthy too! Huzzah!

This Mango and Coconut smoothie was a mega super amazing hit with my little Possum. Initially she wanted to save some for Daddy, but poor Legoman never got to taste it as Possum decided the extra glass was probably better off in her belly.

So go grab yourself some frozen mango, some coconut milk not in a tin and some healthy bacteria packed yoghurt to whip together this delicious Mango and Coconut Smoothie. Enjoy!

Mango and Coconut Smoothie – makes 1 big smoothie or enough to share with a hangry toddler

1 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup plain full fat yoghurt (or a few big spoonfuls)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and whizz together until smooth.

That’s it! So simple and delicious! A great snack for pregnant mums, breastfeeding mums, busy mums, tired mums, happy mums, hangry mums and your little folk too. Add frozen mango to your shopping list on your meal plan this week (click here for your free printable meal planning template)!

Mango and Coconut Smoothie

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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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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!

Moussaka without Eggplant?

Apparently you can still call it Moussaka. It’s a good word to say. Moussaka. Moussaka. Moussaka.

This week’s meal plan has gone out the window a bit. Legoman came down with some tummy bug which left him with no appetite for multiple days, plus we had a friend make us some lasagne… so I haven’t been cooking a huge amount this week, but the freezer has a little breathing spacenow.

Tonight I did get to try out one of my intended meals though. Carrot and Zucchini Moussaka. I think it was the lamb and feta that made it a moussaka, otherwise it didn’t really resemble the dish at all (in my opinion). Well whatever it was, it was easy and yummy. And Possum thoroughly enjoyed it. It is becoming more and more apparent that my daughter won’t eat just plain vegetables. They need to be in something. Unless it’s roast sweet potato, then she will eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So this was a good meal to get her veggie count up for the week.

I love the internet! No need for me to write out recipes, even this one which I found in a book from the library! So here is the recipe!

The book I found the recipe in is called “One Pot Wonders“. A year ago I would’ve walked straight past this book, and straight past the other three books I borrowed along similar lines (“What’s for dinner?“, “Three Good Things” and “Everybody Everyday“). My how times have changed. It’s not so tempting anymore to borrow the amazing niche recipe books that seem to pop up every week. Even my taste in food magazines has taken a massive shift. As I was unpacking my cookbooks and food magazines this week (they had been in storage), I wondered when I would need to cook anything from my lovely collection of Gourmet Traveller magazines… one day.

My Friends!

My Friends!

Lamb, Carrot and Zucchini Moussaka

Affordability : MODERATE. Used lamb leg steaks (zhoojed in the food processor) instead of lamb mince. Better flavour and texture but about twice the price. Veggies are cheap filler though. I’d stretch it further and serve with rice and maybe some steamed greens on the side.

Time Factor : MODERATE. Prep is quick and easy but takes about 15 minutes on the stove top and then an hour in the oven. And the carrots were still pretty firm after all that!

Complexity : LOW. Straight forward one dish meal. I always find it a bit more difficult the first time I use a new recipe though.

Deliciousness : MODERATE. Was yummy and belly filling. Possum loved it, hurray!

Mess : MINIMAL. One pot wonder! The book didn’t lie!

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. I would’ve liked some carbs of some kind with it.

Possum Friendly? YES. She loved it! Preference for the lamb, then the zucchini, then the carrot. Was a bit crazy messy though as the yoghurt sauce top disintegrated all over her high chair.

Would I make it again? Yes, but I would add some eggplant 😉

Lamb, Carrot and Zucchini Moussaka

Lamb, Carrot and Zucchini Moussaka

And a little extra… After realising I buy a whole heap of stuff that I really don’t need, I am trying to make a conscious effort to cut down on crap in my life. So today, I happily unsubscribed to a whole heap of emails that keep telling me to buy things, that unless I opened the email, I wouldn’t even know about! And then this image popped up in my Facebook feed, very timely indeed. I am going to print it out to stick on the fridge as a reminder that there are many other ways of meeting needs. I hope it sparks a thought in your mind as well.

Meat Free Week #3: Would you say your tortilla is half full, or half empty?

I would say my tortilla is over full! Always always, when I try to fold my tortilla, it is bursting everywhere! I should remind myself, start small, you can always add more… Growing up, my parents had a cookbook (one of many, I wonder where I got the addiction from?) called “The Well Filled Tortilla“. It might be time to do a bit of study.

Legoman is working late tonight, which means MUSHROOMS! Possum and I are both big fans of mushrooms, and sadly, my husband is allergic. We once travelled to France for a holiday and the one phrase he was super confident to say each time we ate out was “Je suis allergic de champignons”. Anyway. When he isn’t home or I’m eating out with friends, I search out mushrooms. I forage you could say through menus and blackboards to find some fungi goodness.

Why did the carrot invite the mushroom to the party?

Because he was a fun-gi. 🙂

Sorry, had to be said.

Unless you haven’t already guessed, our meal tonight was mushroom fajitas. Some of Possum’s favourite things piled onto a yummy tortilla. Once served, she taught me that she prefers mushrooms just as mushrooms and not as spiced meat replacement. She loved the capsicum though.

This was a very easy, fast, low mess, cheap, baby led weaning friendly meal. It just didn’t have the same wow factor as last night’s dinner. The winner was making a quesadilla for my 7pm dinner (I ate fajitas with Possum at 5pm) out of some of the leftover curry from last night (was only chickpeas left after Possum ate all the good vegetables at lunch) with some cream cheese and grated tasty cheese. That left me satisfied! And a nice way to use up leftover tortillas and leftover curry (must remember for future reference).

Marinating Mushroom Mix

Marinating Mushroom Mix

Mushroom Fajitas

Affordability : EXCELLENT. The most expensive item would’ve been the tortillas, but buy them when they’re half price at the supermarket and you’re sorted!

Time Factor : EXCELLENT.Quick chopping/slicing, marinating if time permits and then a quick flash in the pan to cook. An excellent meal if you’re tight on time one evening a week (say you have work or after school commitments).

Complexity : LOW. Super easy. And a nice meal to do the “make your own” at the table with avocado, yoghurt/sour cream and any other fixings you fancy.

Deliciousness : MODERATE. It was good, just not that good. I think next time I would try roasting the mushrooms while the capsicum and onion got the char grill effect. Mushrooms work better with slower cooking. They just seemed to burn a bit on the outside without having the time to get that lovely meatiness about them.

Mess : LOW. A bowl for marinating, a hot pan and a chopping board. How messy they are to eat are up to you and your tortilla skills!

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. I had two well filled tortillas (no reference to the book intended) and was full immediately after but got hungry pretty quickly again. The quesadilla certainly helped fill the hole.

Possum Friendly? YES. Lovely baby led weaning shapes (long sticks) making it easy for bub to hold onto. A variety of flavours and textures; yoghurt, avocado, onion, capsicum and mushroom. Very healthy. A great way to introduce spices and herbs (if you include fresh coriander in the meal). I personally choose to give Possum no tortilla with her meal, but that is just personal preference.

Would I make it again? Maybe.

***BONUS QUESTION! Did you miss the meat? Tonight I did. I really prefer chicken fajitas. They seem to fill me up more and I prefer the flavour. Legoman didn’t miss out tonight.

Mushroom Fajitas

Mushroom Fajitas

Seeing as we had Mexican tonight, I can’t resist the urge to add a Three Amigos clip for you all… Goodnight!

Meat Free Week #2: I’d pay money for that

We are certainly off to a good start this week! Tonight’s Space Curry is a real winner! I knew we were onto something good when Possum wanted seconds, and thirds. Legoman said “I don’t even care there’s no meat!” and “I’d pay money for this!” as well as “I’d serve this to guests, especially *insert vegetarian friend’s name*!”. The way to a woman’s heart? Multiple compliments on her cooking. I sat there, my shirt covered in Possum’s snot, my hair half pulled out (thanks Possum), my teeth not brushed, I can’t remember if I showered today. But I was smiling.

Thankyou Meat Free Week!

The snot fest that is my daughter continues. And with it comes horrendous cabin fever. I had had enough today and so we ventured out to soak up the wonderful sunshine and for me to soak up some human contact (even if it is just with the lady that makes my coffee). Made the world of difference and Possum slept on my back on the way home. Added bonus was running into two mummy friends, a lovely benefit of living in a village.

I will apologise for the lack of food piccies tonight. Just as I had served dinner and was about to take the photo, my phone battery died. And I wasn’t going to wait for it to charge enough to take a piccie before eating. But picture this… A bowl of golden rice gently spiced with cardamom, coriander, cumin and turmeric. The rice cradling a rich curry with warm autumnal colours of garnet, terracotta and deep aubergine. A burst of freshness on top with a few leaves of fresh coriander. Contrasted with a tangy dollop of fresh yoghurt.

Or I could show you a picture of Possum’s dinner (whoops!).

Space Curry

Space Curry

Space Curry

Affordability : EXCELLENT. Cheap vegetables, canned chickpeas and some store bought curry paste and chutney. Made up a large batch and will absolutely be making this again and making use of the curry paste (I used Tikka Masala) and mango chutney.

Time Factor : MODERATE. Chopping and prep was pretty quick today (hurray!). I chose to cook this a bit longer than it said to in the recipe (I like curries the longer they’ve cooked for generally).

Complexity : LOW. A nice simple curry to make. I realised though that the recipe asks for spices and lemon rind but then doesn’t say what to do with them. So I googled the original recipe and found the answer. It goes in the rice! Here is the original recipe for your reference.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. This is a winner, a keeper, a recipe to share. Legoman was super impressed. He normally makes his views against chickpeas well known whenever I make something with them in it. Tonight, not a peep.

Mess : MINIMAL. One pot wonder and a rice pot.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. I guarantee you will either go back for seconds despite bursting at the seams or be sensible but happily satiated.

Possum Friendly? YES. She loved it! Especially the eggplant and the chickpeas, which surprised me. She also had a bit of yoghurt with her curry too (an essential addition I think).

Would I make it again? Yes, will have to invite some vegetarians over to show off this winner of a recipe.

***BONUS QUESTION! Did you miss the meat? Not at all.

To make up for the lack of food piccies today, here is possum attempting her escape… to get the magpie in the garden. She worked out she can slide the screen door open (not that hard really, might need to lock it soon…).

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

Leon’s Not Too Spicy Chicken CousCous and a Little Lunch Time Curry

***This is one of my most popular blog posts, so to make life easier… here is the link to the chicken cous cous recipe… CLICK HERE****

Today our wonderful little Possum turned 10 months. Double digits already! They always said it would go faster than a blink of an eye, I never really could comprehend it, but wow. It has gone so fast. Today we celebrate by staying at home, quarantined with snotty noses, hanging out in our flannelette pyjamas. I felt like a mum today, “Come here so I can wipe your nose”. Yup, definitely a mum.

So we needed food to help make us better. Spices, vegetables and garlic were in order!

Lunch was this lovely Broccoli Cauliflower and Pea curry, which was tried and tested before. A possum favourite.

Mum and Possum Lunch

Mum and Possum Lunch

It makes me a happy mumma when Possum gobbled up all the broccoli first.

Broccoli Snot Monster

Broccoli Snot Monster

Dinner tonight was a favourite of mine, Leon’s Not Too Spicy Chicken CousCous. I have spoken before about how wonderful the Leon chain is and their super fantastico cookbooks. This recipe is from the first book (the best of the bunch). It is one I make often when friends are coming over as it’s tasty and simple. This was a good way to use up some of the chicken stock in the fridge that I made last week. I managed to find another blogger today who gushed over Leon with the same amount of love I feel for them… here is her post. It includes the recipe for the couscous. I do a few little tweaks. Instead of raisins or sultanas, I used chopped dates. I also like to add some vegetables in with the couscous. Tonight it was cauliflower and zucchini (chopped kale is another good one). I have made it with wholemeal couscous too which was still very tasty. I made a little blunder tonight and added over a litre of stock instead of just 500ml. It was a bit wet compared to normal but still a great combination of flavours.

Chicken couscous

Chicken couscous

The recipe calls for garlicky tomatoes to be served with it (as well as mint, coriander and pine nuts). All of which I feel are essential to turn a good dinner into an awesome one. To make my life easier, I roasted some sweet potato “wedges” in the same tray for Possum’s dinner (they’re her favourite thing at the moment).

Garlicky Tomatoes

Garlicky Tomatoes

Leon’s Not Too Spicy Chicken Cous Cous

Affordability : MODERATE. Uses a whole box of cous cous plus meat and herbs. We have mint in the garden but I had to buy coriander. I managed to score a tray of mini roma tomatoes on quick sale which made this a bit cheaper. I always have a jar of pine nuts so didn’t have to buy some just for tonight. The recipe makes plenty, you will have leftovers for certain.

Time Factor : MODERATE. You will need to peel and chop 10 cloves of garlic all up. A little bit time consuming. A little hint is to squash the cloves with the side of your knife before attempting to peel. This will loosen the skin and make it much easier and faster. The two trays were in the oven for 35 minutes.

Complexity : LOW. A bit of chopping and marinating but fairly straight forward.

Deliciousness : EXCELLENT. Feel good, garlic laden, comfort food. Always a winner. Plus Possum loved it, though she did get a chilli flake on one of her pieces of chicken and wasn’t too happy about it.

Mess : LOW. Two pan wonder. Plus a bowl to marinate the chicken.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. The ratios were a bit off tonight with the stock mix up plus not buying enough chicken. But Lego Man and I were still both pretty full afterwards. We did enjoy a bowl of ice cream with my homemade strawberry jam/syrup on top though.

Possum Friendly? YES. Salt kept low by using homemade stock plus no extra salt added. Spices didn’t seem to be as strong as usual (didn’t measure as I had a baby on my hip at the time) but flavour was lovely. Possum gobbled up her serve, but wasn’t super keen on the cauliflower.

Would I make it again? Yes, most certainly.

Leon's Not Too Spicy Chicken Couscous

Leon’s Not Too Spicy Chicken Couscous