Category: Food

It’s Christmas month…I mean, December!!

You guys, I am so excited. Why (like you even have to ask)? Because it’s December! Which means Christmas! My favourite time of the year, because it’s kind of like it’s EVERYBODY’S birthday all at once! And birthdays are awesome, am I right, baby jeebus?

Unless of course your birthday IS on Christmas day, in which case it probably sucks a little bit because no-one cares and they wrap your presents in Christmas wrapping paper and don’t even get you separate gifts…I take my hat off to you guys…

I love seeing the decorations, eating calorific treats I wouldn’t normally indulge in throughout the year, the feeling of summer festivity in the air (nothing like an Aussie Christmas) and the giving spirit alive in so many of us.

I know. Some of you probably hate me for being so cheesy right now. But I love all of you adorable little grinches, anyway. Because CHRISTMAS!!!

Since the Little Mister came along just over 3 years ago, I’ve been getting more and more excited to share the Christmas spirit with him. This year was a great milestone year because it was the first time he could help Mr Unprepared and I with the decorating (yay for coordination)! I found myself just trying to soak in that moment and really appreciate it. I had to stop myself from making gooey, lovey dovey “nawwwwwwwww” noises every couple of seconds.

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He really liked putting ALL of the baubles (love that word – baubles – it’s ridiculous) on one tiny branch.

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At one point, he found two of our Christmas stockings, took the idea quite literally and strutted around with them on his feet, like he was the bees knees.

Kind of unrelated: What’s so awesome about bees’ knees? I never understood that saying…

So far, we’ve made some salt dough ornaments to paint and the Little Mister has painted some transparent Christmas stickers for the windows (you can’t really tell what they are anymore and all the colours are quite mixed together but ‘nawwww’). The Christmas tree went up yesterday (a day early), because it was the weekend and Mr Unprepared was off work, so we could do it together.

Christmas cookies were made and distributed to the grandparents (and the Little Mister’s belly and Mr Unprepared’s lunchbox and I might have sampled for *ahem* quality control) last week (OK so I cracked before December despite my best efforts haha).

It was so messy and fun letting the Little Mister take the lead (I was mostly just in charge of measuring and the hot oven).

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This cookie man (above) never fails to make me giggle. The dough was a little soft and stretchy, so some of our cookies were a little bit wonky. The Little Mister affectionately called this one “Daddy”. Very amusing. The longer I look at this photo, the more I laugh. I assure you that my husband doesn’t actually look like that…much…(this is just one of several little tests I include in my blog posts to see if he actually reads it as much as he says he does haha).

Who knows what other crazy crafting/baking ideas we’ll tackle next?! I’ve become a little deranged, but in a lovely enthusiastic way, at least (I hope)? I don’t know who I am anymore. I even bought some Christmas presents in OCTOBER. Are you shitting me??

I hope that this month, we can all share the Christmas spirit with our loved ones (whether they are our actual relatives or our various ‘chosen’ families). Let’s all be a little forgiving, very loving and look out for those who might not have as good a Christmas as we are fortunate enough to have.

Let’s drive considerately, keep our stress in check (especially in the supermarket or with those certain relatives) and remember to show the people in our lives that we care. It’s not all about giving extravagant material gifts to one another, but about giving of ourselves somehow.

Happy December, everybody!

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How are you planning to celebrate Christmas this year? If you do not celebrate Christmas, how will you spend your holidays? Do you go nuts like me or are you more restrained? What does a typical Christmas day look like for you? x

Fake it ’til you bake it.

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I didn’t really care for baking until I got pregnant with the Little Mister back in 2011. When the urge hit, I went a little bit nuts (I’m really not joking). Luckily my joy for it has since evened out and now I like doing it regularly. It can be a cost effective way to fill out Mr Unprepared’s work lunches and to provide the Little Mister with interesting enough snacks. It is also the way that I pad out the end of the pay period (when the cupboard and fridge are looking a bit bare). I find ways to throw as many random ingredients into a muffin or some other such thing as I can. Everyone thinks I’ve done something special for them (yay – baked goods), but all I’ve really done is scraped some weird stuff together so we don’t have to go back to the supermarket any sooner than we have to!

(and yes I do love love love online grocery shopping but sometimes I forget to order it ahead of time or can’t be bothered which is probably the most lazy – or tired if I’m kind to myself – a person can possibly be)

But make no mistake. I am not actually that awesome at it! I am never going to be on Masterchef and I honestly do not really know what I’m doing most of the time! I am not spending hours studying the art of whatever it is that people who can cook real good study (and I’m not even going to apologise for that poorly constructed sentence). I’m a total fake and I don’t care if everyone knows it.

It can be hard to find time to gather ingredients and it can be difficult to then create something with them, with a demanding toddler (who as much as I love his enthusiasm is not always as helpful as he – bless his heart – thinks he is).

*whispers* Sometimes? Sometimes I use *gasp* PACKET MIX. Yeah. Those cupcakes on Instagram? PACKET MIX. My secret? Raid the cake decorating section of the baking aisle in any major supermarket *OMG*.

Seriously. No-one cares. THEY TASTE LIKE CAKE.

Another tip? Have a baking kit. Once I started to keep one, shit got so much easier. I can bake almost any time I have a chance, instead of thinking, “WHAT? This recipe requires FLOUR? What kind of f*ckery is this?”

Here’s what I keep in it (always replenishing stocks):

  • Self raising flour
  • Plain flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Icing mix/icing sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cocoa
  • Patty cases
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons

Well, those are the basics, anyhow. It sounds like a lot, but if you go to the shops just the once, to begin with, the hard part is done! I’ve slowly added some extra bits and pieces (piping bag with nozzles or choc chips and sprinkles etc), but those simple things can get you a long way if you have some eggs, butter and milk in the fridge (don’t even get me started on how awesome and magical and versatile eggs are)! I know a lot of you are looking at this thinking, Kez. This is hardly revolutionary. I mean, who doesn’t have these things? Well, all you people who can probably bake better than me, until recently, I did not have these things. Ever. Every single attempt to bake was either thwarted from the get go or involved a time consuming, inconvenient special visit to the supermarket. It made it all a BIG DEAL. So tiring, really.

Now I just google recipes that have the ingredients I have to work with (e.g. a banana and a lemon or something equally weird) and get started! The other day it was canned corn kernels, store bought salsa dip and grated cheese!! WTF? I find that taste.com.au is an awesome resource (and no this is not a sponsored post – it is just my honest and independent opinion).

Another tip? Keep it frickin’ simple. Stay the f*ck away from recipes with ingredients you’ve never heard of or will never use again. Stop reading that recipe when it starts talking about doing weird things with the ingredients that you do not know how to do and cannot learn that day. I mean, I admire those who like a challenge, but for anyone like me who just needs to put something on the table to avoid mutiny, just stick to what you can handle! Use what you’ve already got. Trust me. People will think you are way more awesome than you feel you really are. Don’t make it more stressful than it has to be! There are HEAPS of really tasty recipes out there that I just know you’ll be able to handle. Also…Siri is a gun at converting things like farenheit to celcius, so don’t worry if that awesome recipe from an American blog/website/Pinterest sounds scary with all its weird numbers and measurements 😉

I do love learning new things here and there. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to master a new skill. I just don’t always have the time for it and I’m so OK with that.

Fake it ’til you bake it.

Or buy it from the shops. No judgement here haha.

How are you at cooking/baking? What’s your favourite thing to make? Or are you the buy it at the shops type? x

Crisp…and delicious: Apple chips!

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge x

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OMG. Check out these apple chips. Yes. Apple. I found a version of this recipe on Pinterest and it sounded just like something I needed in my life! It’s easy, reasonably healthy and low in calories! Not to mention, bloody tasty and surprisingly sweet! Fantastic treat to help beat those sugar cravings without going overboard(much better for us than M+Ms no?) and something yummy to help encourage the Little Mister to try new things (spoiler alert: he loves them).

Look, they’re not sugar free, but you need so little because the apple’s natural sweetness comes out. I might even experiment without it and report back. I am all about everything being good in moderation.

Mr Unprepared was kind enough to make these happen yesterday and even got the Little Mister to help out. Beware, though. You might try to eat a whole batch before they even make it off the cooling rack. And a bonus? While they’re in the oven, your whole house will smell like the inside of an apple pie.

Apple chips.

You’ll need:

Apples (I chose pink lady because they’re a little bit sweeter but I imagine it works with any kind – use as many as you like or can fit in your oven).

Ground cinnamon (to taste)

Sugar (to taste)

1. Preheat your oven to around 100 degrees celsius (pretty low for nice slow drying of the apple without burning it). Line a baking tray (or four haha) with greaseproof paper and set aside.

2. Peel apples if you wish (we didn’t bother) and slice them (as many as you would like) into thin chip-like slices. They don’t have to be perfectly thin, nor do they have to be perfectly shaped. They are just as tasty whichever way you have them!

3. Place slices in a zip loc bag (or something just as effective), throw in a bit of cinnamon and a bit of sugar (just enough to very lightly coat each slice of apple – a little will go a long way). AND SHAKE (the Little Mister’s job which he carried out with great joy)! 🙂

4. Place apple on baking trays and put in the oven for one hour. After that hour, turn the apple chips over and put them back in for another hour.

When finished, they should be dried out nicely and crispy to touch. Like chips! They will have shrunk a lot, but that’s normal! Place them on a   rack to cool and try to resist them!!!!

🙂

And that’s about as ‘food blogger’ as I get. You’re welcome haha.

Let me know if you try these! x

Healthy. Well, my version anyway.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge x

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About the photo: OK, so I am actually not that much of a fan of strawberries, but I’ll eat them if they’re a part of a dessert…they were probably the healthiest part of my cake (besides the water I poured in there) that I made on the weekend, but still, they were there, looking pretty and red so I took the photo!

I’m almost a week into my improved diet (not ‘diet’ as in fad diet but as in what I eat – big distinction) and I’ve already noticed a big difference. My body does not like the unhealthy foods I have been addicted to anymore, even if my brain does (I learnt this the hard way after a pig out yesterday for my grandfather’s 90th). I felt more energetic almost immediately after having my first consciously healthy meal last week. I was nowhere near as bloated and I stopped obsessing so much over what I was going to eat and more about how I was going to best fuel myself (a big feat for a food crazy person like me). I hope I can keep all of this going, because I fall off the wagon so easily when temptation is put in my way.

Here are some of the things that are keeping me motivated:

Catching up on my favourite TV shows while exercising.

I am obsessed with the iPad I got for my birthday this year. I have all the TV network apps on there that let me catch up on my favourite shows the next day (I always miss them). I sit on my exercise bike (which I seriously want to trade for a treadmill – that’s the dream) and I pedal away while watching. I can do this in our bedroom while the Little Mister naps and it feels like me-time. I am not the kind of person who likes to think they’re exercising. I have to keep my brain busy as well as my body or I just get bored or forget to push harder. I love realising that one of my awful reality shows or embarrassing dramas are waiting for me when I get on the bike. I’ve stopped obsessing over what I’m going to pig out on once the Little Mister is asleep and have started thinking about what shows I’ll watch while I exercise – a big win as that’s my biggest weakness, usually.

Cutting out soft drink, juice and dessert. 

It’s the simplest thing, but it can help you to feel better and lose weight without being too much of a sacrifice (depending on who you are of course but it works for me)! I just drink water and after dinner, I know to resist temptation. I reckon I’d probably lose a couple of kilos just by doing this. Some people even clean their teeth right after dinner, to stop them from indulging in ice cream or other sweets!

Not depriving myself on special occasions. Or Friday nights. 

I don’t want to feel like I’m on a starvation diet. I love food. Good food and…not so good food. I’ve decided that Friday nights (when we finish the Little Mister’s swimming lessons late) are takeaway night and that I’m not going to say no to some yummy cake or other treats on a family birthday or at a special celebration of some sort. Of course, I realise that if this happens more than not, then I’ll have to reassess and do some damage control, but for now it’s viable. I’ve coped this past week or so because I’ve known that those days are coming. It makes eating healthy salad and unprocessed foods so much more manageable. I want a lifestyle I can maintain, not some kind of torture or punishment.

Great recipes that don’t feel like ‘diet’ food. 

I’ve been pinning up a storm on Pinterest and researching things that actually look tasty and satisfying and, the clincher, EASY to make. With ingredients I have heard of and already like. So cool. There are so many more than I thought there would be. You don’t have to be down with quinoa or weird members of the zucchini family if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to spend hours deciphering complex recipes. It’s great! So far we’ve had mini frittatas with salad, pita pizzas (without the really greasy toppings) and a few other bits and pieces. Also? Avocado on wholemeal toast is divine.

Making friends with salad.

Just make every side a salad! Even easier with beautiful summer weather on its way. Chips, mashed potatoes, pasta and other stuff can just be replaced with salad. Suddenly you have a nice piece of protein and a lot of yummy greens. For me, carbs are something I abuse (rather than consume in healthy moderation), so this helps a lot.

I’m just doing this my way, I guess. It’s nothing revolutionary, but I know that if I push myself too hard too early, I will give up. I have to make sure my better habits are sustainable, especially with a toddler around and less time on my hands to experiment in the kitchen! I feel like a bit of a dag, writing about my renewed attempts at being fit and healthy over and over (because it doesn’t always stick), but I’m on this journey with all its peaks and pitfalls and I guess that just makes me real, so I’ll keep doing it however long it takes to get it in my head for good! x

What little tips and tricks do you use to stay healthy?

Out of place.

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s September Photo a Day challenge x

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Everywhere I go in my house, SOMETHING is out of place at all times. I think that’s the definition of a house that’s ‘lived in’. Especially when your home is lived in by a toddler. Sometimes it gets out of control to the point where I’m frustrated, but other times it’s kind of comforting and I know I would miss it if it wasn’t there. I feel grateful for the fact that I have a messy little munchkin or a munchkin at all.

Yesterday, my ‘out of place’ companions were Humpty and Fergus from Play School (the Little Mister recently went to a concert). They watched over me while I decorated the cake I’d made for my Gramps’ 90th birthday celebration. The rest of the kitchen was chaotic, so what’s the harm in a couple of extra onlookers?

The cake turned out OK in the end. I tried layering with whipped cream in the middle for the first time. Gosh, I was sh*tting myself the whole time I put it together! It was lovely to have the whole family marvelling at it. Oh, the jokes (and the iPhones out everywhere snapping pics). I admit it was a bit OTT, but I had a vision and I had to make it happen!

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It was basically two ‘Anne’s (if you don’t know WTF an ‘Anne’ is then click here) shoved together, with a massive layer of whipped cream in the middle. I topped it with strawberries (because healthy bahaha) and some crumbled up Cadbury Flake.

Half of the cake was left over and Mr Unprepared has taken some to work to offload it! Happy Monday, Mr Unprepared’s Work Colleagues!

Anyway, a great day with family was had and by the time we’d devoured my brother’s amazingly moist (how do you feel about the word moist?) roast chicken and veggies, plus my crazy cake aka Tower of Regret, we were stuffed!

It’s back on the healthy bandwagon today! My body is screaming out for it haha.

How was your weekend? What did you get up to? x