Friday, April 22, 2016

catching up + a friday list

It's been a while between posts. Sorry about that!

Life got busy and full.

We got a puppy.

We moved house.

Sol had grommets put in his ears.

I've undertaken more writing and marketing work this year than I have since before I had children - ten years ago - so now I have a full work load. Children. A puppy. And husband. Blessed. And stretched in every direction!

Ok, so now I write it in a list like that, A LOT has happened in the last month.

And sadly, time to blog fell away. Not because I haven't wanted to blog but because I decided I needed to sleep each night well before midnight.

Anyway, here I am back at the blogging wheel and happy to be.

Coming back with a Friday list seems like a good place to start...

I'm working with a new marketing client on their social media, they publish excellent resources for early childhood educators so if we have any kinder teachers or childcare workers in our midst do take a look at Teaching Solutions

Since I haven't been online 'just for fun' for a while I've been enjoying re-visiting some of my favorite food blogs:

My New Roots

Petite Kitchen

Mondays Wholefoods

Homegrown Kitchen

Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? I loved it.

I enjoy being on the newsletter lists of Pip Lincolne, Brenda Janscheck, Mamacino and A Cup of Jo

How amazing does Sophie's chocolate cake with sweet dukka and goat's curd look? (it's 4pm I'm hungry)

Blogging can be a bit like going for a run, once you put your shoes on you're fine, off and running.
So consider this post me putting my blogging shoes back on and hopefully it won't be so long between visits.

Have a great weekend x (long weekend if you are in Australia)


Thursday, March 10, 2016

thursday recipe: emily rose brott's chocolate pecan brownies















We're moving house this week.

I'm surrounded by brown cardboard boxes, a few filled, many empty waiting for the contents of our cupboards and shelves to be placed inside sealed with tape and transported to...our new home!

Our new home that we've waited almost ten years for.

When River was six weeks old we moved to our current little beach shack which is in a fantastic location between the ocean and the bay.

We've had what I think is possibly the cheapest rent in Australia while we've been here - believe me the antiquated kitchen and bathroom haven't deserved a dollar more - but the location is the drawcard.

It has been the perfect little nest to raise our babies into boys, and the easy to handle rent has given us freedom, freedom to travel each winter to remote communities for Peter's work and freedom to save.

For the past three months Pete has treated getting our new house ready like a job leaving home early each morning to go 'on site' and work through a long list of plastering, painting, laying new floors, designing and creating new bathrooms and kitchen and and and the list goes on. We've been blessed to have the help of my uncle with this work and a great young carpenter who has enjoyed honing his craft on Pete's creative design ideas.

I'm looking forward to showing you some photos soon!

But for now there's brownies. I thought you'd be ok with that. Personally I don't see what the fuss is about brownies I'd rather eat chocolate but I know a lot of people love them. My sons and husband included!

Thanks to mum of four and cookbook author Emily Rose Brott for sharing her brownie recipe here today. This recipe comes from Emily's most recent book My Secret Ingredient. If you don't eat wheat flour you can use spelt or your favorite gluten free option. I also don't use rice bran oil so I'd use almond oil or butter.

You can read more about Emily and get her recipe for apple, oat, cranberry and chocolate muffins here.

Ok I'm off to make school lunches and then pack some more boxes.

Enjoy the recipe x

Emily Rose Brott's Chocolate and Pecan Brownies
Ingredients
3 eggs
2/3 cup (165ml) rice bran oil
120g 70% dark chocolate
2/3 cup (190g) honey
¾ cup (120g) wholemeal (whole-wheat) plain (all-purpose) flour
¼ cup (25g) almond meal (ground almonds)
¼ cup (60ml) milk
½ cup (55g) chopped toasted pecans (refer to cooking tips)

To make
Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F) fan-forced.
Beat eggs and oil together. Melt chocolate, and mix honey into the chocolate until dissolved. Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture, and beat.
Mix in flour, almond meal and milk until combined.
Stir in toasted chopped pecans.
Grease a brownie tin (28cm × 18cm) with oil, and line base with baking paper. 
Pour mixture into tin, spreading it evenly, and bake for 25 minutes.
Leave to cool in tin for 20 minutes before removing and leaving to cool further on a cake rack. 
Slice and serve.
Makes 15

Cooking tip: As an alternative to pecans you can use toasted walnuts or macadamia nuts.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

are you mothering or smothering?


Are you mothering or smothering?

In different words essentially this was a question asked by an Elder at a public forum of about 100 people that my husband went to in Alice Springs last year.

It was a good question that made me think. Smothering is different in a way to what we think about when we use the term 'helicopter parenting'. It is more about getting kids do things for themselves and in fact getting them to do way more than most of us probably do right now.

Another way to look at it is that lots of kids today are raised sitting on the couch so to speak. You know, they don't do much around the house, aren't expected to do much or parents have given up asking.

Before we go on, I am as guilty as the next parent of doing things for my kids that I know full well they can do for themselves OR that I really should take the time to teach them to do for themselves.

My boys have their jobs to do around the house - make their beds, empty the compost bin, empty the recycling bag and the rubbish bin, wash and dry dishes (I'm not consistent enough with this one yet), putting their clothes and toys away, and from time to time sort and fold the washing. Looking at that list it isn't much really.

So why do I and so many other mums I know do too much for their kids?

One of the number one reasons some of my friends tell me is because they don't want to have to listen to their kids whinge about whatever the said task is.

One of my main reasons is because I know I can do it faster myself and often I can do it better.

Really, none of these are good enough reasons.

We are not doing our kids any favours (or the other people around them at school, at friends houses and later in their workplaces) if we are not teaching them to be capable and independent.

I am making a concerted effort before I just do a task, I make a point of asking River or Sol to do it.

Instead of feeling like you have to do everything around the house, start delegating. Not only does it lighten your load and teach your kids skills, it relieves any underlying resentment you may be feeling about having to keep on top of the household chores and perhaps you're not even aware of it.

So join with me, take the time, let go of perfect and let's put the effort into raising capable, independent kids.

Love to hear your experiences with this in the comments.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

from our kitchen to yours

I was so honoured to be asked to contribute a recipe to an e-book titled 'From Our Kitchen to Yours'. Some of you may have noticed it starting to be promoted on social media.

It is the brainchild of Sonia Donaldson who blogs at Natural New Age Mum. Sonia decided she wanted to take action in response to the high incidence of domestic violence in Australia so she put the word out to some of her blogging buddies in the food, health and wellness area and Aussie Wellness Women was born.

Our first project has been to put together 'From Our Kitchen to Yours'. All monies raised from the sale of the e-book go to the Luke Batty Foundation, our goal is to raise $200,000 and we would love your support either through buying the e-book and or sharing details of our project and goal to your family and friends.

In addition to the e-book Aussie Wellness Women have organised a nation wide donation drop of items such as unused bed linen, women's clothing, vouchers to supermarkets or department stores, this Saturday 27th February to support women and children at refuges. Very often women and children arrive with only the clothes they are wearing. Details of where you can donate and what is needed in your state can be found here.

**The Melbourne one is at Street Organics 1430 High Street Malvern between 8am and 4pm.**

Together we can all make a difference.

Thanks in advance for your support.

**If you or someone you love is experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault you can call 1800 737 732 information and support is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week**



Wednesday, January 06, 2016

consistency is key to happiness and success



A new year brings 365 untouched days for us to leave our mark on, to dream our dreams, live them, and still there's washing to fold.

Even if you're not one for new years resolutions what I'm writing about today is an unavoidable truth.

Anything that you want to achieve in life, that you want to master, or even just get a little bit better at calls for one thing - consistency.

My husband who has published nine books and has a single minded focus and self belief that I marvel at reminds me regularly that consistency is the key to achieving all the things that he does.

Let's take a look at the usual suspects where 'consistency is key' applies:

- Improving health and fitness

- Weight loss

- Reducing stress and anxiety

- Getting children to eat fruit and vegetables

- Saving money, building wealth

- Having stronger more fulfilling relationships

- Becoming a better artist, singer, musician, athlete, photographer, craftsperson

I admit I struggle to be consistent with some things in my life. My blog is a good example of that as you patient readers know. I have bursts of posting and then it is quiet for days.

My unfinished cookbook is another example. Spending just half an hour per day - everyday - would see that book finished in a couple of months. So why am I stalling? What is the pay off?

I'm going to get deep now.

Generally there is a pay off that we might not even be fully aware of as to why we keep doing things a certain way that basically just aren't working.

We cling to those ways mainly because we are comfortable in the pattern we are in and attached to the feelings that those behaviours bring. What??? I hear you cry, attached to the feeling of being broke or overweight or having projects unfinished, am I crazy you ask?

Nope. Not crazy. Just spelling out the complex human condition. Somehow we have to let go of being attached to those feelings and see ourself stepping into a new way of being and feeling, allowing ourself to do that and get on with it.

I've veered slightly off on a tangent but my point is whatever you are hoping to achieve and feel fulfilled about this year requires your daily attention. Daily is the key word. Ok, you can have weekends off if you want to.

Save 10% of every dollar you earn this year. Every dollar.

Write one page every day of that book you've been dreaming of writing. Every day.

Phone a friend or family member once a week and have a good talk. Every week.

Get up half an hour earlier and go for a walk, do some yoga, move your body. Every day.

Present fruit and vegetables to your children at every meal and snack. Every meal and snack.

Consistency is what it takes. I hope you'll join me this year in being consistent about the things that really matter. Happy New Year!








Wednesday, December 30, 2015

'twas two nights before christmas



"That's the stuff nightmares are made of," said my friend laughing when I told her about the party I was going to on Christmas Eve where guests are asked to perform a 'frivolous act'.

I had tried convincing River that it was going to be the perfect opportunity to play guitar in front of an audience. He had other ideas. "No Mum I'm not playing guitar, I think we should sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer".

Talk about feel the fear and sing it anyway!

We had been rehearsing and then without warning there was a plot twist.

The week before Christmas, Sol came down with gastro. Relentless vomiting that saw him unable to keep water down. Within a few days three kilos had vanished from his little frame.

On our third trip to the local emergency department the doctor said, "I have to send you to a bigger hospital your son needs to be seen by a paediatrician."

So the night before Christmas Eve Sol and I drove the 40 minutes to the bigger hospital and he was admitted to the children's ward and place on a drip. Placed on a drip sounds so simple. It wasn't simple. It was necessary but it was also traumatic. Getting a cannula (a needle for the drip to go into) into the back of a six year old's hand is not fun especially at 10.30pm when all they want to do is be curled up asleep.

I am going to spare you the difficult details of time spent in hospital other than to say Sol is well again, just a bit on the skinny side, and that we were able to come home after a 24 hour stay. We arrived home at 8pm on Christmas Eve. The party in Melbourne had started an hour and a half earlier. I was in no shape to be at a party and Sol definitely wasn't but I thought of our friends at the party when I looked at the clock and felt both relief to be home from hospital and disappointment that we weren't in Melbourne celebrating Christmas, the end of the year and being with friends.

Sol had fallen asleep in the back of the car. The heat of the evening enveloped us. I scooped him up off the back seat and carried him inside the house. We were under strict instructions to continue giving him 30mls of fluid every 15 minutes. I set the timer on my phone and followed the orders dutifully. There was no way I was going back to hospital with Sol, he was going to get well!

He stayed awake for a couple of hours and I kept up his fluids, he then slept soundly. River had placed carrots out for the reindeer and dry biscuits for Santa (lucky Santa?!) "Mum do you think Santa is lactose intolerant?" he asked filling a glass with rice milk.

Once the boys were asleep and I had finished my midnight gift wrapping session I placed a white electric guitar and an amplifier next to the Christmas tree, a gift from Eddy Pop. Perhaps next year River can do a rock version of Rudolph.

..........................

Stay well. Stay cool. Thankyou for reading and thanks for your patience with my on again off again posting. I hope that you are all having a wonderful festive season and are looking forward to making great things happen in 2016. xx

ps I had planned to share this link for a wonderful dairy free grain free trifle before Christmas but didn't get to so here it is now, still good for New Years Eve... Try Jo's Lemon Berry creation.

Friday, December 11, 2015

weekend reading



I'll start with a big happy birthday Mamacino! You've written some wise words here.

To Her Core is a fun new wholefood read

Now that we're renovating (!) I've been devouring inspiration via magazines, books and these little videos

Boho kitchens. Can you see me in any of these?

Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear? Check out Brenda's solution.

How magical is this mermaid photograph?

My husband Pete is a professional photographer and author, we're having a festive sale over on his online gallery his books 'Point Nepean' and 'Fire and the Story of Burning Country' are available for $35 each including postage anywhere in Australia. Pete can sign the books and include a personalised message and there's still time to order and receive before Christmas! Lots of lovely photographic prints available too. Visit River&Sol gallery.

Happy weekending everyone. I hope you're enjoying all that is good about December and the year drawing to a close. Or perhaps this time of year makes you dream of hitting that wide open road :)

xx

Thursday, December 10, 2015

thursday recipe: terri anne leske's choc pecan granola


Food helps to create traditions,
community, love and joy. 
It has a way of bringing people
together and making us happy.
~ Terri Anne Leske

It's been a while between posts. Again. I'd love to be more consistent with my posting but it is just not turning out that way at the moment. So, thanks for continuing to visit and for your patience. 
Let's get on with a recipe.

Today's recipe comes from blogger and mother of three, Terri Anne Leske who blogs at Carrotsticks and Cravings.

Terri Anne is originally from a sleepy little fishing village on the New South Wales south coast where as a child her Dad taught her to dive for abalone and catch fish. These days she finds herself in the bright city lights of Singapore, where she has lived for the past 4 years with her husband and their children, twins Eli and Olivia who are 3 and her baby girl Halle who has just turned one.

How Terri Anne has found time to blog and to write and self-publish her first cookbook I'll never know! But write a book she has and not only that she has done all the photography herself too.

Before we get into the recipe here is a Q & A I did with Terri to find out a bit more about life in Singapore and her love of cooking...

What do you love about living in Singapore? It is a cultural melting pot, and being so close to so many other amazing countries we are lucky to travel regularly. It's a great place to have a young family and has given me the opportunity to follow my passion writing this book and my blog. I've also met so many amazing people throughout our time here. 

Where does your passion for food and cooking come from? My mum was always a foodie, she used to get in the kitchen and just whip up something amazing with whatever we had in the house. I started cooking from a young age learning from her and learning my baking skills from my grandma. I love creating amazing meals for friends and family and trying new things. I also love baking and have always said baking is my therapy - when I was pregnant with my twins and had too much time on my hands I was baking batches of cupcakes and cakes daily! The kitchen is my happy place and I love now getting my kids involved in creating meals and getting them excited about food too - it's not just about the eating that I love it's the journey too and the creating :-) 

Why the name Carrotsticks and Cravings? When I decided to write a blog I played with so many names and I wanted the name to really resemble me and my food philosophy - which is all about balance. I feel Carrotsticks and Cravings does that! The majority of my recipes are super healthy and full of superfoods but I love making decadent cakes and treats too. We can have anything in life, it's all about balance. 

Why did you start your blog? I was cooking a lot and constantly throwing dinner parties and a friend wanted a recipe and said I should start a blog. I'm a terrible writer if I'm being honest but I loved the idea of sharing my creations with others and inspiring them to try new things in the kitchen. It's grown organically and I love to see and hear that people are making my recipes. 

What do you hope readers will get out of your cookbook? I want to get people excited in the kitchen and try things they normally wouldn't. I want readers to be able to make healthy nutritious meals from my cookbook for their loved ones and create memories in the process cooking and enjoying good food. 

What do you love the most about cooking? The eating of course!! I love that food creates traditions and brings people together. Some of my best memories involve amazing meals I've shared with loved ones. I also love trying new flavours and experimenting with different combinations. 

Terri Anne shares her recipe for Choc Pecan Granola.

Makes 4 Cups

1/2 cup raw pecans chopped
1/4 cup raw almonds chopped
2 cups thick cut rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
⅓ cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pre heat the oven to 160 C. 
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Chop the nuts roughly into smaller pieces.
Add nuts and all other ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and mix until fully combined.
Spread out granola mix onto the baking tray and bake for 8 minutes.
Mix/turn the granola and return to the oven for a further 8 minutes until golden.
Mix/turn the granola and return to the oven for a further 8 minutes until golden brown.
Once cooled transfer to an airtight jar and keep at room temperature for up to a month.
– If you want to keep it longer store in the fridge.

(photo credit: Terri Anne Leske)

Terri likes to serve this with Greek yoghurt and fresh seasonal berries, as overnight oats layered with yoghurt and berries, with fruit salad or as a crumble topping for desserts. I think it could be the perfect dish for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Thanks Terri Anne!

To read Terri's blog visit Carrotsticks and Cravings and to buy her cookbook go here.


Friday, November 20, 2015

weekend reading



(Image credit John Freeman)

Champagne is a wholefood you knew that already right? So I thought I'd tell you about an event I'm promoting as part of my work with Cakes and Ale. Celebrate the festive season with a ticket to this upcoming Champagne Tasting - 17 champagnes, 7 champagne houses, canapes and complimentary champagne flute $100 per person - Saturday 12th December 4pm-6pm, presented by the Independent Wine Store at Cakes and Ale.
Places are strictly limited bookings through the Independent Wine Store ph. 03 5985 4346

BPA free is not all it's cracked up to be

I found Orangette via Pip and could have stayed up all night reading

And then I found Kate Christensen via Orangette and if it weren't for my new rule of going to bed before midnight I would have been up reading til sunrise!

If you're looking to up your professional social media skills, I've recently been recommended Tim Martin's courses...on my wishlist for next year

Am I the only one who hasn't seen The Dressmaker yet? Also on my wishlist

I'm looking forward to spending some time with my Nan on the weekend.

I hope you have something fun and/or relaxing planned. See you back here next week x


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

catching up

(mural Alice Springs. Pete, River, Sol silhouettes)

Finding time to blog regularly is proving a challenge at the moment.

You see I've made a few new rules for myself and one of them is I no longer go to bed at midnight most nights and let me tell you that makes a million miles of difference to so many things.

It is an easy habit to fall into staying up late while the house sleeps, just so you can have some quiet time to yourself but really nothing can replace good sleep.

Add to that drinking two litres of water a day and you have yourself a recipe for more energy right there!

So, now that I'm going to bed earlier and doing important things like you know watching Madame Secretary with my husband I have to find a new time to blog. And I will! And I'm serious about the watching TV with my husband thing. Spending time together is actually important obvious as it sounds!

The other thing I've done is set myself office hours. The key is, sticking to them. Which I'm doing. This sounds so simple but has been life changing.

Managing your time well when you work from home is one of the trickiest things about working for yourself and working from home.

In my case clearer boundaries needed to be set. There is a time to fold washing, a time to focus on work, time to drink coffee with your girlfriends and time to spend with your loved ones and if you feel like you're constantly chasing your tail it is time to make some changes.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I just wanted to fill you in on what's been happening, where I've been and because I'm guessing there's a few people reading this who need to set some boundaries of their own. Do it!
It is easier than you think and it pays off in ways you can't even know about until you do it. And it is the small changes that make the big difference.

How is your week? Do you work from home? Tell us your time management tips in the comments. 
I'd love to know what works for you.

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