Saturday, 24 August 2013

Milk and limes

The kids and I took a little trip up Kapiti way yesterday.  I was having no luck slowing Gus down after his operation on Tuesday so I decided we could do a little hunting and gathering - in a way.  The first item on our list was Manna-Cow Milk.  We drove along keeping an eye out for the signs as though on a treasure hunt, a simple little sign here and another there and eventually we found the right farm.  We took a couple of wrong turns; not that it is hard to find but it is when you have two children yelling at you "Let me out, I want to play with the lambs and cows in the daffodils." It really is very beautiful up that way.

With the milk stowed away safely in our chilly bin we chased a few chickens, patted the farm dogs and picked a few flowers before heading off for the next bit of our little adventure.

We found an orchard advertising pick your own limes, and not that I have a clue what to do with all the limes Gus and Felix picked, it was fun.  Surprisingly, no one fell over in the muddy puddles, no one jumped in said muddy puddles and no one tried to take a bite of the limes either! Gus spent majority of his day resting and restrained in his carseat, whilst having a lovely trip out!


'A portrait of my children, once a week, each week, for 2013'

Gus - "Mummy is my cape flying?"  You wouldn't think that this boy had an operation on Tuesday (and this photo was taken on Wednesday!) It is very hard to slow down this 4 year old boy.

Felix - "ABCDFGZZZZ!" Singing his little heart out with the accordion from Grandma and Grandad.

Linking up with Jodi at Che and Fidel as usual.

Saturday, 17 August 2013


'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for 2013'

Gus - a very tired boy snaffled the tablet and retired to his bed after a busy afternoon celebrating his friends' belated birthday.

Felix - "Watch, watch, watch", and then checking to see that I'm watching. Both "Watch, watch, watch" and "Mummy, I neeeeeed you" are his favourite catchphrases at the moment.

Linking in with Jodi at Che and Fidel...

In our kitchen # 6

Any day is a good day for a cake, especially when you're celebrating a birthday (Happy Birthday Mum!). Mum and Dad are visiting this weekend so I thought I'd bake Mum a cake, and although my cake isn't quite as beautiful as this (nor does it have icing sugar sprinkled on it), but I'm sure it will taste just divine!

Picture and recipe from Petite Kitchen - Decadent and coconut chocolate torte

Once again its a Petite Kitchen cake and was typically easy to whip up. Can't wait to serve it up with Greek yoghurt and raspberries - after the obligatory candle-blowing of course. The boys don't count it as being a birthday cake unless there is the appropriate amount candle-blowing and singing. The recipe is available here.

Breakfast - came in two stages this morning. The kids had Petite Kitchen's Coconut Flour Pancakes when they first got up, and then after Mum and Dad had been to the market for BACON, we all had bacon and scrambled eggs.

Lunch - was a bit of an odd concoction with banana and yoghurt, avocado dip with carrot sticks and rice crackers, raisins and nuts, and leftover pancakes. Have I mentioned the avocado thing before, that we saw on Country Calendar? Avocado to You are based in Cooks Beach, on the Coromandel (near where we used to live), and they grow organic avocados which they pick, pack and send direct to you.  Awesome! Can't wait to try out that avocado chocolate mousse I've seen.

Dinner - well, I forgot to get meat out of the freezer this morning so I'm not quite sure what we're going to do.  There is leftover Cypriot Pie from last night and there is definitely enough for the boys but not for us. Will have to put my thinking cap on!

Friday, 16 August 2013

In our kitchen # 5

Look what was awaiting my return yesterday...

I have been ordering our fruit and vegetables direct from Riverside Orchards, which supply their own produce as well as that from other New Zealand suppliers.  I order once a fortnight and every other week the kids and I wander along to our local market to do a little top-up shop, which usually is just a couple of broccoli and some extra oranges.

Riverside Orchards have been a saving grace in more ways than one - not only is it good value for money, but it saves my back from the strain of lugging our weekly fruit and vegetables (and we eat lots), saves us time (have you taken kids to the market - madness), and it helps us to truly eat seasonally - plus the bonus is that the kids don't end up in the river. I plan my meals around what is in the box and not what we 'feel' like, a bit like in those good ole old days I suppose - you eat what you've got.

Breakfast - scrambled eggs with a huge pile of mushrooms. Felix prefers mushrooms and Gus the eggs, so they did a bit of a swap halfway through.

Lunch - was awesome! Tino reka te kai! There is something so Kiwi about fritters and at last I have found a great fritter recipe.  This recipe is by Teresa Cutter and is just as good as regular fritters.  Gus absolutely devoured his - note the presentation? All his own doing. Note the funny face: 'cheese'? I thought 'cheese' was supposed to be a smiling face.

Dinner - Annabel Langbein's Cypriot Shepherd's Pie. This is really delicious - all those herbs and spices are just delightful to the senses. Can't wait for dinner.

No more yarn!

Isabell Kraemer's Caramel Cardigan (free pattern - just follow the link below)

After visiting a fellow crafty friend the other day, I swore to her that I would refrain from commencing any new knitting projects until I had finished my Caramel Caridgan.

Those famous last words! I have but one sleeve to go and its finished (that's it above)! So close.

Jen Geigley's GAP-tastic Cowl (also free - see link below)

My dear friend then proceeded to show me the most soft, bouncy and sumptuous looking GAP-tastic Cowl - and it moss (seed) stitch. Only my favourite stitch in the whole wide world!  What could I do but pick up those needles and cast on the 131 required stitches?

Vintage New Zealand's sweetcorn yarn

I had been looking for a use for my delightfully fruity/vegetabley yarn (Sweetcorn from Skeinz's Vintage range), and what could be nicer than thoughts of spring daffodils and a yellow cowl. Still plenty of frosty days in a Wellington spring so won't be rushing to pack away the woollies just yet!

The Purl Soho Granny Style Blanket (yet another free pattern)

Not to be content with two projects I decided that I need a crochet project for when I get fed up with knitting. After crocheting a baby blanket for said friend in the Vintage Roeship and Cadet, I had hoped to use the yarn again for my blanket. They are so soft to knit and crochet with and are frequently my go-to yarns for DK projects. But the Granny Style Blanket requires an incredible amount of yarn so I've had to look elsewhere, and think I may have found the solution - Utiku Corriedale. Only trouble is I can't decide on which colours. Yellow, light grey and charcoal or burnt orange, oatmeal and mid-brown. I may just have to order all six colours and decide once I've seen them. A great thing about buying locally is that as such a huge quantity of yarn is necessary to complete the blanket, I can buy the yarn as I need it and can afford it. I imagine that this one will take some time to complete! Happy crafting. Xo

Thursday, 15 August 2013

In our kitchen # 4

Someone has hijacked my day! Where did it go? And what happened to lunchtime?

Breakfast - broccoli, cauliflower, mashed kumara and pumpkin with scrambled eggs.  The above photo is what Gus had for breakfast - all of it! And he was looking for more but there was nothing left.  I wormed him a few weeks ago as I did wonder if he was sharing his food with unwelcome guests, but not so!

Lunch - now this is where things went skewiff. The boys had some yoghurt with banana and half a buckwheat bread roll.  I forgot completely to eat and ended up snacking on fruit, nuts and seeds.

Dinner -  no cooking required again tonight as it is Tuesday nights leftovers for dinner - beef korma with cauliflower rice. We may even have dessert tonight - I have pulled the other half of last weeks' sticky date pudding out of the freezer.  Here is the recipe - I'm keen to see how it defrosts.

Felix is still unwell so he skipped childcare and came grocery shopping with me this morning.  I had my meal plan and a strict list of what to buy, but instead I got mince - beef, lamb and pork.  Its so versatile and Felix is going through a real fussy stage with dinner at the moment, and mince, especially bacon-wrapped mince, is one meal that he never fusses over.  So mince it is!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

In our kitchen # 3

Today was another easy day for kai.  I find that, on the days that Grant is away, it makes life a whole lot easier if I make extra to reduce the amount of time in the kitchen.

Breakfast - Our self proclaimed 'bacon boy' was thrilled this morning to see the bacon sizzling in the pan; as was Gus actually who made up a impromptu bacon song (is there something matter with them???). So obviously we had bacon for breakfast, as well as a pumpkin, broccoli and leek frittata.

Lunch - Well, lunch was breakfast as we all had the frittata again.  Gus' kindergarten lunchbox always comes home empty, seemingly regardless of whatever I put in it (and he's so honest that he tells me when he throws food in the bin - like if I try to slip in fresh fruit!).

Dinner - Steak, mashed kumara and pumpkin with broccoli and cauliflower.  Smiling faces all round with no sign of rash or sore puku (belly's).

Boys are both now in bed - one sleeping soundly (I think Gus was asleep pretty much as soon as I left the room), while Felix is coughing away in his sleep. Poor pepi.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

In our kitchen # 2

Following on from yesterdays post, here is the menu of the day.  Its an easy day kai-wise, which is a good thing because we had another trip to the doctors with Felix this morning.  I can't wait for the winter to be over so we can send these persistent coughs, colds and viruses to boot!

Breakfast - scrambled eggs.  We use 9 eggs just for breakfast, can you imagine how many it'll be when the boys hit their teenage years? It scares me to think about it.

Lunch  - yesterdays leftovers for lunch today. Nice and easy!

Dinner - beef korma with cauliflower rice and loaded with heaps of extra vegetables. Here is the recipe we use for the korma, and I'll simply substitute the chicken for beef.

I also made Chocolate Espresso Fudge Brownies this morning for a teacher meeting at Felix's Steiner Cottage tomorrow night; however, I don't rate my chances of getting this delectable treat out of the house. There will be protest!

Monday, 12 August 2013

In our kitchen

There have been a few times recently where I've been on the receiving end of that look that tells me that people think we're weird when I explain that we avoid eating refined sugar and grains - What, don't all Kiwi kids eat Weet-bix for breakfast?

So I thought I'd share a few of our meals to demonstrate that we're not strange, that we eat real food and that we don't go hungry by not eating sugar and wheat products.

Breakfast - scrambled eggs with leftover mashed carrot, parsnip and kumara fried in butter.  No arguments about breakfast here!

Lunch - cauliflower quiche from Petite Kitchen. I will also add a tin of tuna to get those Omega 3's in. Gus is at kindy today so his lunch is a little different (yoghurt, a buckwheat sandwich (which is still a grain but it is gluten free - a compromise), date truffles and carrot sticks) but he will have the quiche for afternoon tea.

Picture and recipe from Petite Kitchen

Dinner - garlic beef burgers also from Petite Kitchen. YUM!

Picture and recipe from Petite Kitchen

See, its just real food and delicious too! Xo

Saturday, 10 August 2013


'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for 2013'

Gus - you are such a strong boy Gus.  Pulling your own body weight up the chain is such a feat! 

Felix - Time for your medicine Felix, "Not my eyes!" Poor bubba had conjunctivitis last weekend and, like most kids, he got sick of the ointment pretty quickly.

Food to enjoy!

At the moment it feels as though if I'm not racing around chasing my tail, I'm studying, and when I'm doing neither of those things I'm in the kitchen cooking, cleaning or baking. And still, I decided to take on another project - the water kefir (pictured above). Kefir is a probiotic culture similar to kombucha - Nourished Kitchen have a great little article here on it which convinced me to give it a go.  Both of the boys have benefited from store-brought powdered probiotics over the past year but lately we've found the cost of them to be prohibitive, so I thought I'd give this a go.  See the fizz in the bottle? Our first batch is ready to be refrigerated and will be ready to drink tomorrow.  The grains multiply incredibly quickly so if you'd like some grains please let me know.

Photo of Rustic Cauliflower Quiche from Petite Kitchen

With the efforts we take to ensure that our family eats fresh, nutritious, ethically grown and homemade food, one of life's biggest disappointments is when you have a recipe fail - either a complete flop or just not meeting your expectations.  I have especially found this to be the case since we started following a Paleo diet, as too often the recipes just seem to be lacking in some way. I don't know what it is exactly, but for me they are just missing something.  Its not that we have exotic meals; quite the contrary actually as most days it is simply eggs and leftover vegetables for breakfast, something similar for lunch, and meat and vegetables for dinner.  However, if I am going to make a cake, biscuits or something a little special for dinner then it needs to taste good!  And just when I thought all was lost, a thoughtful friend sent me the link to Petite Kitchen, saying she thought it looked like something I'd like.  She was so right!

Photo of Chocolate Date Truffles from Petite Kitchen

It is fair to say that I have become just a little infatuated with Eleanor Ozich's blog Petite Kitchen. In the last month since I started obsessing over her recipes, I have made the Boiled Orange Chocolate Cake not once or twice but three times (we've had guests to be fair).  We've also had the Raw Lemon and Coconut Truffles, the Garlic and Pumpkin Tart, the Apple and Cinnamon Coconut Flour Cake, the Honey Nut Banana Cake, the Garlic and Beef Burgers, the Chocolate Date Truffles, the Fancy Meatloaf and the Cauliflower Quiche - twice. Each recipe has tasted incredibly delicious and I can't wait each week for Eleanor's new recipes. She is so incredibly incredible that she now has a regular spot in the Viva magazine of The NZ Herald.  All I can say (or perhaps our stomachs can say) is thank goodness for Eleanor! Xo

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Life as a student

Wow, I don't really know why I am writing this when I have readings awaiting my attention and a final sleeve to knit on my cardigan (that's it pictured above), but....

Well, you know how you always think that life is so busy and that there is never enough time to do all the things that you need to do, let alone do the things that you want to do - those things that help to keep you a little bit more on the saner side of life.  Well now it feels like there's just no time for anything! What on earth was I doing thinking that I'd manage to have the time to study when I barely managed this caper beforehand.

My first assignment has been submitted and it was with many butterflies in my stomach that I sent it away.  The proof will be in the pudding, as they say.  The never-ending readings are what I find overwhelming as there is just sooooo much to read and absorb - some of it is really dry (and I a little boring) but most of it is really interesting. Its all about time. And all the while my head is ticking away as I jot down notes from the readings while making mental notes of groceries to buy and things to do.

I am coping, I wouldn't say managing as I still have to get into the swing of things a bit better, but I do always feel like there are things that are being forgotten or left behind - a feeling I am unfamiliar with.  I am one of those odd people who very rarely lose or forget things and yet in the last week alone I have left Felix's hat at childcare twice, his lunchbox on another day, left his rain jacket at home this morning, Gus' entire backpack at home on Monday, and my hat and drink bottle at the gym on Friday - all in one week.  Lucky I haven't forgotten a child or left the iron on (not that I iron)! Its all a day in the life I suppose. Xo

Monday, 5 August 2013


'A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for 2013'

Gus - having a great time with his cousins on the Ferris wheel at the Petone Winter Carnival.

Felix - looking through gunk-filled eyes at his big brother and cousin who were Tom-fooling around in another basket above him.  Felix's older cousin took good care of our wee poppet, who loved every minute of his ride on the Ferris wheel.