I love cookbooks, apart from finding a new recipe I actually enjoy just reading them and the stories behind the recipes, the lovely thick pages, beautiful photography, in a nutshell they make me happy.
I was reading a blog post about 6 months ago and it was about a cookbook called My Darling Lemon Thyme. It was an amazing, glowing post, telling me that this cookbook would pretty much change my life. I needed it. So much so, that I decided I had to have this book in my life immediately. I bundled the kids in the car (naps be dammed) and went to my nearest bookshop that afternoon to get it. I was not disappointed! I would call it life changing for me because it opened up my eyes to new ingredients, beautiful dishes full of nutritious ingredients. Emma uses natural, whole foods and makes the recipes easy, fun and accessible to make. There is a real fusion of whole foods and vietnamese flavors in her recipes which are just delish. Its become my most used ‘everyday’ cookbook in a way others haven’t done for me. As well as using the full recipes, I can pick it up and make a beautiful side dish or dressing to make a dish that much better.
Oh and the Chocolate Chills.
My 3 year old, Bear, has been a fussy eater since the get-go. Im constantly battling with him at the dinner table, constantly trying new food for him or hiding vegies in there somewhere. Constantly feeling guilt that I cant manage to get him to eat better.
I saw this recipe for Chocolate chills, which is filled with good things, dressed up as a chocolate ice block. Bear loves them! I always have a batch in the freezer now, and they also got me thinking outside the box for other ways to get good stuff into him.
Give these a go – you wont be disappointed.
What you need –
1 cup raw cashew nuts
1 cup pitted dried dates
1/4 cup cocoa powder
250ml – 300ml coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
What to do –
Place the cashews and the dates in seperate bowls and cover fully with water. Place in the fridge and let them soak overnight.
In the morning, drain and rinse them both and add to a high powered blender (I have a NutraBullet and this works great). Add all the other ingredients and blend blend blend until smooth as possible.
Transfer into some ice block moulds and freeze overnight.
You can buy My Darling Lemon Thyme here (look out for her new cookbook as well!)
And do yourself a favour and bookmark her site here
I have been on Pinterest alot lately. But for me, being on Pinterest is a much better use of ‘wind down’ time than TV. I feel refreshed, inspired and feel whipped up into a creative frenzy. Out come the lists for the next day, and what I need to buy for my craft project that just cannot wait a moment longer.
So the other day I got onto clay moulding shapes for gift tags (it’s a thing – everything is on Pinterest) and decided I needed to do it right then and there. Only thing was I couldn’t justify driving right over the other end of town for the clay I needed…..quick google later and I had a recipe, and was whipping up my own clay! I made some gift tags and was very impressed with how they turned out. So now I have a pile of
useless gift tags, but hey, they helped me fill in the horrible time of 3-5 pm with a toddler, and filled my creative love tank.
Later in the week I was at the Warehouse and saw some DAS clay so I brought some and tried some more tags. Have to say, the homemade clay was much easier to work with and dried just as good (if not better) than the brought stuff.
So if you invest 5 minutes into making some clay which ingredients you no doubt have in the house, its a great project to do with the kids (and a bit more fun for Mumma’s as well) and you get to make something cute.
The day I made mine it was super hot so I just air dried them, otherwise you can put in the oven on a lined baking tray on the lowest setting until they dry.
For the clay what you need –
3 cups flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 tsp olive oil
food colouring (optional)
cookie cutters, stamps, cutters to make shapes you require
What to do –
- In a large mixing bowl, slowly mix together all the ingredients except the food colouring. Mix and knead until you get a putty-like consistency.
- Add food colouring to the clay at this point if you want. You can break off hunks of clay to make several different colours from one batch. Add food colouring slowly and knead it into the clay thoroughly before adding more colour.
- Start using the clay right away or if it is too soft to hold shapes, refrigerate it for a couple of hours to firm it up.
- Air-dry or oven bake your objects.
Fun to play with at least
I love wearing lipstick for the instant pick-me-up it gives me, however, I hate the ingredients in some brands. After finding out that a regular lipstick wearer, such as myself, can consume as much as 1.7 kilos of lipstick over their lifetime (!!), it made me pause to think about what I really
want to put on my lips all the time.
“If there’s any question about an ingredient’s safety, we will not use it. Every Living Nature product undergoes rigorous testing for purity and safety to ensure we remain free of any potentially damaging chemicals or toxins” – Living Nature
Enter Living Nature. Made right here in NZ, these beautiful lippies are hand-poured and contain all natural pigments and nourishing waxes, for a silky smooth feel and lasting wear. The lovely folks over there at Living Nature sent me some of their lipstick range to try and I have to say, I’m very impressed! My fave is Summer Rain (pictured) – it gave me the colour depth I love, while also being long lasting, and the most important bonus: there are no chemicals in here to harm me.
For more info on the whole range click here
, and for a quick and easy purchase of Summer Rain that I’m wearing in these photos see here
“We use only 100% natural ingredients, preservatives and fragrances, and our full range is certified natural by BDIH Germany” – Living Nature
Photos by God’s True Beauty Photography
I LOVE finding a new blog to follow, and while I was looking on Pinterest for Easter treat ideas I came across this blog and the perfect Easter craft for me. I quickly ‘bookmarked’ the blog home page and rushed to the shops for the paints and to the Salvation Army for cheap glass bottles, because, you know, I must do new projects like yesterday.
For once I actually followed the instructions pretty much to the letter, and was very happy with the results!
Super cute bunny jars filled with chocolaty goodness, ready to give away!
See instructions here
and have fun!
I love blogging, I MISS blogging, so in this year when I have no goals to date and seem to be going around in circles, Ive decided to at least make more time to do the things I love.
I went to the movies a few weeks ago with some of my favourites, and I brought a large pop corn, knowing I would feel crap afterwards but doing it anyway. I had made a sizeable dent into my oversize popcorn container before the opening credits, and my lovey friend next to me passed along some of her home baking. I knew straight away that it was good for me dressed up as chocolate slice, not because it tasted sub par, but I could taste all the things in there I knew were good for me – almonds, chia seeds and coconut.
I got the recipe the next day and have had stocks of it in the fridge ever since! Take literally 5-10 min to make and its a much better alternative for me to junk when I need a quick bit to eat while I’m staring into the fridge aimlessly. Added bonus – my fussy kids eat it! Winning!
The recipe comes from here – but I have altered it slightly and also added coconut oil as it helped it to bind better for me to make more of a slice feel.
What you need –
1 cup of almonds
1 1/2 cup dates
2-3 tablespoons of cacao powder (I used cocoa powder)
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
What to do –
- In your food processor, blitz one cup of almonds until they are fine like almond meal
- Place the rest of the ingredients into the food processor
- Blitz until the mixture is dough like. This may take a bit of time depending on the power of your food processor. You also may need to stop the food processor several times & scrape down the sides
- Once the mixture is soft & dough like place press into a slice pan that has been lined with baking paper
- Place in the fridge for 1 hour before serving
Happy kids eating = happy Mum
Cake pop, oh how pretty you are.
Confession – I’m actually not a cake lover at all. At all (gasp). They look so pretty, and I am in awe of people who can whip up a beautiful cake with the special perfect looking decorations, but I would take some chips or cheese any day over cake!
But I’m loving the cake pop! They are so cute and just enough for me, and did I mention they are covered in melted chocolate!?
I have only made them twice, once for Bear’s first birthday and another time last weekend for a dear friends baby shower. They are super time consuming, but the overall affect in the end is worth it.
Both times I made them I followed this video. Even if you are not going to make them, you have to watch the video, its hilarious!
I love winter. I love the cozy feel of a winter’s night – early into pj’s, sleeping kids, hot milo and some netflix. Bliss!
Winters days on the other hand can be very looong with a toddler.
I find I run out of ideas pretty fast for activities for Bear. I found this cute tutorial here for making bird feeders and it worked out great! Bear loved to make them and then hang them in the tree and then watch from the window inside to see the birdies eat his creations. Can totally recommend for an afternoon indoors.
I got some shots of Bear hanging them on the tree the next day after they had set, but do you think I can find them?! Grr so these are the making of only!
So last night I went to a wonderful group called Make and Cake. I have found my creative home! Its a gathering of like minded people where we chatter away while we make things and eat cake. Perfection.
So it got my creative mind ticking over again, as it feels like I have been in a bit of a baby groove and have forgotten a little to take time to create something as this makes me happy. Even if its just something small, if I manage to create something new during the day, its a good day.
I started thinking about how I could use some of my glass jars that I seem to collect, and I googled ‘food mixes in jars’. Its a thing! Found some great ideas here
, and some great Christmas holiday mixes which I have mentally bookmarked for later.
I found this one here and have adapted it just slightly (for no other reason than I used what I had in the pantry without leaving Bear on the bench by himself to go to the other end of the house to get more of what I needed! Because you don’t interrupt a toddler who is happily playing. You. Just. Do. Not.)
What you need –
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- Half a teaspoon of baking powder
- 95g plane flour
- 35g cocoa powder
- 75g plane flour
- 115g brown sugar
- 150g sugar
- 100g dark chocolate roughly chopped
- 70 g walnut roughly chopped
- One glass jar 1 litre size
Plus to make up –
- 150g melted butter
- 3 eggs beaten
What to do –
- Combine in a bowl the salt baking powder and the 95g flour. Mix well and pour into your glass jar to make up the first layer.
- Then layer on the rest of the ingredients in order down the list.
- The ingredients here will fill a 1 litre jar.
Makes a great gift for someone. Remember to add a gift tag that says
Chocolate Brownie Mix
Made 3/3/15 Best before 3/4/15 – Give one month expiry
To Use –
Combine the contents of the jar with 150g melted butter and 3 beaten eggs. Mix well, and pour into a lined 9 x 9 inch tin. Bake at 180 C for 25-35 minutes.
Here are some others as well that I will try – love the addition of the wooden spoon. Have a look here here
Sometimes I get caught up in blogging about healthy recipes for dinner that I forget to blog the ones that are not so good for you, but still used at my house. This one is quick and easy and a great comfort food. Hope you enjoy!
What you need –
350g spaghetti pasta
Olive oil (for cooking pasta with)
2 egg yolks
80 g parmesan – finely grated
150 g streaky bacon – sliced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Knob of butter
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley – roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper
What to do –
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil for the pasta. Once its at a rolling boil, add the pasta and a dash of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl combine the egg yolks, cream, parmesan and salt and pepper. Put aside.
- Fry the bacon in a frypan with the oil and cook until its nearly crispy.
- When the spaghetti is cooked drain it in the sink and return to the pan and add the butter and bacon. Mix well, and then with the heat on the lowest setting add the cream mixture and mix well until the cheese melts and all the pasta is coated.
- Serve with the parsley on top and some more grated parmesan if desired.
I love summer, my feet dont. My feet live in jandels (thongs for Australian readers!) and end up getting pretty dry and not so pretty. I was thinking of dropping some hints to Scott that I would love a foot scrub from The Body Shop, then I thought I would just make my own instead. Its devine and so easy to make. If you dont have calendula or jojoba oil at home you can use whatever you have on hand, maybe olive oil or coconut oil. The addition of the peppermint oil makes it smell extra yummy and leaves your feet tingly.
What you need –
1 cup of brown sugar
3 Tablespoons of jojoba oil
2 teaspoons of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of calendula oil
30 drops of peppermint essential oil
What to do –
- Measure out the sugar first, then add all the other ingredients. Mix really well and put into a glass jar with a good seal. Store in a cool, dry place and it will last for 4 weeks