Archive | March, 2012

The False Economy of the Snooze Button

31 Mar trisuit

This is a subject I’ve long been passionate about but it’s most definitely been brought to the forefront of my craw since Mister H has taken up triathlons and more importantly, triathlon training.

To be a triathlete requires dedication and perseverance and for some reason, ungodly hours (not to mention lycra). With an intense training regime of 4-5 mornings a week the alarm goes off long before the sparrows have even considered squeaking out a fart.
Now, there are two types of people in the alarm world. The first, the group to which I belong, set the alarm for the last possible moment that you need to get up and then, in a just rip that band-aid straight off fashion, the second you hear it – get up. Then there are ‘the others’.

The others believe that 10 minutes more sleep, multiple times, is actually a lovely start to the morning and they wake feeling like they cheated that pesky alarm. Then they’re often woken by a final alarm that sends them into a panic, they race around like headless chickens muttering that they are now running late, and the stinking alarm is somehow at fault.
Wake up! (speaking metaphorically, not literally, although literally waking up is today’s…..never mind)
Does everybody in bed, ie ME, really need to be awake every 10 minutes until you manage to haul it out into the cold, dark morning to throw yourself out into the terrifying world of pre-dawn exercise?

Of course, I understand the dilemma completely……cold, dark morning/ warm, schnuggly bed……cold, drizzly, dark, foreboding, possibly monster infested morning/ warm, schnuggly, sweet, safe bed complete with warm (if pregnant, flatulent wife)………It doesn’t take Einstein, right?
I suppose the one thing I can be grateful for is that he’s not a honking, clanking, bomp-bomping kind of alarm type of man, nor is he a ‘waking up with friends’ radio talk back kind of alarmist. No, I’m woken to the soothing sounds of ducks gently quacking in my ear. For one brief moment, as I’m pulled from dreamy depths, I can almost imagine I’m Huey, Dewy and Lewy’s long lost sister.

Which brings me to the other thing about triathletes – Lycra.
I get cycle shorts, especially for dudes. I imagine they keep the lads nice and safe from chafe (au contraire, dear reader) and that can only be a good thing, but why the skin tight, wacky coloured lycra top? They sure as hell don’t look (nor smell, in my laundry pile) breathable, so why the uniform?
Mister H recently started mentioning a ‘trisuit’. For the uninitiated this is a glorified and modest version of the ‘mankini’. When it actually arrived in the mail I insisted he put it on and show me immediately. This was not because I was interested in seeing how aerodynamic he looked, nor was it because I wanted to share his excitement for his sport. It was because I thought the sight of my man in a unitard would bring me great mirth. Out he strutted in his grey one piece and I was forced to eat my giggle, my smirk was wiped to the other side of my face….he looked kinda hot.

Perhaps I’ve turned into a triathlon wife by osmosis, or maybe my penchant for lycra was hidden all along.

Let’s go with the former.

DISCLAIMER : Mister H only did this once, and once only. By accident, apparently. Sure, babe. Sure.

Quick Lemon and Herb Schnitzel and Up-Town Slaw

30 Mar schnit and slaw

Everybody loves a bit of crumbed bird.

I discovered this combo when I was trying to think of a way to make chicken an enticing finger food for D Man, so although this particular version is served as large schnitzels for big piggies, if you make it in fingers it gets devoured by little piggies too. I don’t serve it to D Man with slaw though, that’s a tad adventurous for a budding cutlery user,  but he does so love this with mashed vegetables with some peas and corn stirred through for excitement (if not exciting at the table, then in the following day’s nappy).

This schnitzel recipe is fast and easy, mostly because I am very lazy and do so love to cut a culinary corner. I do not sacrifice flavour, no, no, but if I can speed things up a little, I will, because I’m busy, and I’m tired, just like you. My secret? I don’t flour and egg, I skip that entire step. If you want to go the whole shebangalang, then please, be my guest, but I find I’m perfectly content with a crumb that is a light coat, as opposed to a heavy jacket!

If you’re all inspired and fancy whipping yourself up some sourdough crumb, go forth. I personally always have Japanese panko crumbs on hand as they’re a cracking substitute when you don’t have the time, or inclination to make your own. They can be found in the Asian department of your supermarket or at an Asian grocery store. I don’t rate your standard store bought bread crumb, but if that’s all you have, let’s make life easy and use those just this once. This is about ease……..although I draw the line at using cornflakes. Just eat plain chicken in that case, and save the flakes for Honey Joys, mmmkay?

I serve this with mash,  but I very rarely, if ever use a straight potato mash with any of my meals. I usually team it with cauliflower, but I’ve been known to use parsnip when in season. This is for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t like too many complex carbs in my diet (left over habits from the Atkins era) and secondly, this way I can sneak an extra serving of veg into a meal. When I asked Mister H recently if he could really taste the difference between my mash and real mash, he responded “It’s been so long since I’ve had full mash that I don’t know what’s real anymore”. Poor deprived man.

Let’s do this….

Yeild : 2 adult serves and chicken and mash for a toddler or two

You will need :

For chicken:

  • 2 breasts chicken cut in half width ways (to make each one half as thick, you know?)
  • 2/3 cup Panko crumbs
  • 20g finely grated fresh parmesan (that shaky stuff in the green canister is not fresh parmesan, in fact, it’s shavings from a Ped Egg. Don’t do it, peeps)
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon, finely grated
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme, chopped. Dried is ok if it’s what you have
  • A teaspoon of lemon pepper, or just salt and pepper if you don’t have it
  • Lemon wedges to serve, zestless is fine.

For slaw :

  • 2 finely julienned carrots – I use a vegetable peeler to make fine strips, then cut them again finely on the diagonal. Easy.
  • 2 handfuls of julienned cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons good low-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon good mayo (I like Thomy)
  • 1 teaspoon seeded mustard

For mash :

  • 2 med potatoes
  • 2 handfuls cauliflower florets
  • butter to mash – use your discretion, I’m modest, but butter and mash are a marriage made in heaven if you have no guilt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Take your chicken and place it between two pieces of Cling Wrap on a board. If you have a meat tenderiser, use that, but if not, you can use the bottom of a palm sized jar. Now, beat that little chicken! You don’t want to pulverise it, but you want them to be nice, thin and even schnitzels.

Once done, throw together your crumbs, cheese, chopped thyme, zest and seasoning and combine well. Coat your schnitzels well by flipping them around and patting it on. Set aside.

I steam my potato and cauliflower in a vain attempt to preserve nutrients, so I cut my potato small and my cauli not so small so they cook at the same time. Pop them on the stove to steam and make your slaw.

Combine carrot and cabbage on a bowl and in a separate bowl mix wet ingredients. This recipe keeps your slaw low fat. I like it to be slightly tangy from the yoghurt, and not over dressed and gloopy and dripping. If you’re more of a mayo type, then add a little more, if you hate mustard, leave it out. Let’s be relaxed about it. Anyhoo, mix to taste and pop it into the bowl and combine.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan (I know certain oils corrupt at high heat etc, but this is not that blog. I use olive. Very corruptible, like my fair self), and cook your chicken on both sides until golden. Pop it all on your plate, pour a big glass of wine and serve with a lemon wedge.

Bon appétit….pretty clucking good.

Sorry, couldn’t resist!

Meditation and the Art of Zen

29 Mar

With the impending birth of my new babe, I thought it best to pull out my Calmbirth CD’s and reacquaint myself with the meditation technique that I used for D Man’s labour.

This is actually quite a good form of meditation as they firmly believe, and indeed encourage the thought, that your conscious mind doesn’t need to be paying too much attention to the guided meditation banging on about ‘opening like a flower’ as your unconscious mind is deeply interested in what they’re saying…..so I’ve been known to use this ‘homework’ opportunity to have a little nap. Multi-tasking at it’s absolute finest.

Naturally, using meditation as a form of pain relief during labour draws raised eyebrows and looks of disbelief from many, and I smile an enigmatic, Earth Mother (if she had lips) type smile and lower my gaze. However, if I’m asked an outright question like ‘Does it work?’, I really can’t lie. Although many will testify that their ‘surges’ were like waves bringing their baby closer to them, or their tightenings were merely like the muscle spasms of an orgasm (I’ll have what she’s having instead of passing this watermelon, thanks!) I have to say that no, I didn’t zen out for 20 hours of deep breathing and rouse to find a bonny bairn in my arms. It ain’t called labour for nothing.

My history with meditation is sketchy at best. Having read ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and devouring Elizabeth Gilbert’s enlightening experience in India, I fancied myself as somewhat of a zen goddess and check myself into Vipassana (sounds like rehab but without the entertainment!) for a dose of Kundalini. For the uninitiated, Vipassana is a 10 day, silent, meditation retreat. There are many around the world but I went to the coldest place in NSW in the middle of winter to live like a monk, deprive myself of comfort, live on only two meals per day and meditate for 16 hours a day whilst never uttering a word to another soul, nor making eye contact. That sounds enticing, right? I thought it did. I’ve since had a stern word with myself. A few of my friends had been and they ALL said what an amazing, empowering, enlightening experience it was, and they can’t wait to get back……well, if my friends like it, then it must be awesome.

Perhaps I was expecting Gwingana Health Retreat, or perhaps I anticipated myself being a tad more ethno bongo then I truly am, but I did not reach enlightenment. No, no, I did not. Why is it that enlightenment must come from such extreme circumstances? Hasn’t anyone ever attained enlightenment at a degustation meal with a skin full of wine? I reckon I could get a darn sight closer.

Upon arrival at Vispassana, they take your phone and wallet claiming it’s for safe keeping as the rooms (read : cells) are unlocked. Now, in hindsight, I realise it’s so that you don’t try to sneak off in the night, and drive your car like a maniac down the mountain side, straight home via the nearest MacDonalds. Perhaps the fact that I’d only ever really meditated once a week for an hour at a lovely little, warm, oil scented studio in North Sydney had something to do with it? Suddenly getting up at 4 am to trudge through the freezing dark to sit cross legged for 16 hours (ok, I exaggerate, they do have a meal breaks that you don’t have to be cross legged at, but food only at breakfast and lunch – salad and lentils). The most entertainment I received, aside from the yogi’s nightly discourse was listening to tortured lentil farts from bodies quite unused to this style of diet in the dark, quiet, and audibly sensing people’s relief that everyone’s eyes were closed. For the record I didn’t fart. No more than usual at least, my body is pretty down with a lentil…ok, maybe the occasional fart but they were only little ones. But I made it through, and felt a sense of achievement (The truth? I was too damn proud to leave, but man, I wanted to every day) and I couldn’t recommend it more highly if you think it’s your bag.

Needless to say, after this experience, I was sceptical about Calmbirth but I needed a plan. I wouldn’t try to run the New York Marathon without training and this seemed as good as anything.

So, does it help? Sure. Breathing is really important, at the best of times, and deep, rhythmic breathing definitely helps focus the mind and keep you relaxed. It certainly helped me to have the kind of labour I wanted for D Man, and I hope I have the same experience this time around. One of the most sage things anyone ever said to me about childbirth was ‘Don’t be a hero. No-one ever got a medal for having a drug free labour.’ So, we do what we have to under such primal conditions, but as for orgasmic spasms? I’d like my money back, please.

Super Yummy, Healthy Muesli Bars for Rugrats and Rascals

27 Mar muesli bars


It’s so hard to find good snacks for munchkins that are easy to pack and carry and are not full of preservatives and hidden nasties.

Muesli bars are awesome to throw in your handbag but I made the fatal error of buying a whoop from the supermarket after discovering their popularity. It wasn’t until I was home that I read the ingredients – rookie error. I found that a certain brand, synonymous with ‘health’ were so chocked full of sugar, oil, additives and fake fruit that I really couldn’t in good conscience feed them to D Man (company shall remain nameless although may rhyme with Muncle Schmobys). Then upon further investigation of yummier ones with less additives I discovered they were a million dollars per bar and over a couple of weeks could bankrupt you.

My household is a peanut butter lovin’ household and I’m sorry to say I can’t go past a bog standard salt added, sugar added version….although I do buy light as it makes me feel slightly better about my addiction (hell, if that’s the only one I have left I’m doing ok!), but recently a very dear friend of mine of singing the praises of all natural, all singing, all dancing pressed peanut style peanut butter. I got all righteous about it and decided not to start off with a little jar, no, I bought a whacking great bucket and decided, from now on, my family would only eat healthy peanut butter………Mister H turned his nose on day one, and D Man shortly followed suit, leaving me with a big tub of the stuff sitting in my pantry……. so I got to thinking, mmmmmmm, peanut butter muesli bars????

If you’re a nut free household you can omit the peanut butter but you will need a little more honey to keep it from crumbling into a million pieces upon first bite!

For something I’ve never made before I’ll often poodle around on google for a while and check out a couple of different recipes to see how the basic structure of said thing is (i.e. : what’s needed to keep it all together and not fall apart upon first bite) and then I’ll amalgamate and tweak until it’s mine.

So, after extensive muesli bar consumption, and a lot of dried fruit wind, here’s what I came up with.

Yield : 20 bars, so perfect to take for play with friends

Makes 24

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter
  • 1/4 cup honey (1/2 a cup for no peanut butter version)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup raw sugar
  • 1.5 cups puffed brown rice (avail in either cereal aisle or health aisle at major supermarkets)
  • 1.5 cups raw quick cook oats (these are smaller pieces and easier for little jaws and digestive tracts to handle)
  • ¼ cup mixed seeds, pepitas, sesame, sunflower, whatever you want
  • 1.5 cups dried fruit of your choice. I love cranberries, sultanas, apricots and dates
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Mine is 34cmx22cm to give you an idea of how big you need.
Combine honey, peanut butter, sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and stir for about a minute to let it thicken a little. Remove from heat and set aside.
Throw all your dry ingredients into a big bowl together and make a little well in the centre. Pour over your syrup and stir it until all dry ingredients are well coated and combined. Spoon into tray and I press down firmly with a big spoon to make it nice and even but also to compact it as much as I can before cooking. Pop it in the over for about 20 minutes, depending on oven, maybe 25 minutes, until it’s golden. Remove from oven.
At this stage, I get a clean cake tin and I press this puppy down as much as possible. The first time I made it I was picking up puffed rice from all manner of nooks and crannies so I reckon this step is imperative unless you want to eat outdoors or you have a dog that likes muesli. Leave to cool, put it on a board and cut into desired size.
I get about 20 pieces but I may be known to cut them chunky…..cos I’m a pig.

AMI Institute’s Evil Threat.

26 Mar

I was driving in my car today when an advertisement for the AMI Institute came on the radio. They were promising that if your partner put their new, revolutionary oral strip on his tongue, he would be able to last for hours in the bedroom. There were faceless ladies talking about how happy they were now that their partner was able to go for so much longer. I can think back to a time not so long ago (about 2 years and 9 months but who’s counting?) when this would have been an exciting prospect. Am I alone when I say all I could think was – Jesus, who the hell has got time for that? It’s like when you heard that Sting and Trudi Styler had tantric sex sessions that lasted for 6 hours. Holy crap, I have trouble staying awake through ‘Homeland’!!

You may think I’m a tad risqué for broaching the S word in my first week, but I kinda think, hell, if we’re gonna do this thing, let’s do it. Let’s all be honest about the great big elephant in the closet here……Between early mornings and exhausted evenings the marital bedroom becomes somewhat of a minefield after babies. There I said it. Now, throw into the mix another pregnancy or sore backs or sleepless toddlers or a breastfeeding babe taking majority of your mojo or a myriad of other things, it’s truly a wonder that anyone ever gets around to ‘doing it’. It’s not that you don’t want to, in fact, in theory you know it would even probably be quite fun, but I guess it comes down to the equation that the spirit is willing but the body is weak (read : can’t be assed). In fact, tragically, sometimes it simply comes down to a matter of timing, and we may even be reduced to scheduling.

“Well, you have to get up early, I’m exhausted by evening, weekends we have the kids, but we could try in their nap? Do you have any plans this weekend, during nap time?”

That’s not sexy….. A diary appointment. Is that what we’re reduced to?

Then, when you do finally manage to have an intimate moment there is the 6th sense that a toddler has that they’re missing out on something and they inevitably give out a squawk. Nothing kills passion faster than ‘Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa’ coming from the room next door. Then what the hell are you supposed to do with your AMI Institute rager?

What’s the answer? Oh god, this isn’t that kind of blog. I don’t propose to have an answer for these big, deep marriage type questions, but I do reckon maintaining a healthy level of intimacy and good sense of humour must help. You need to talk about too, don’t let it become a silent war, or matter of defeat. The other evening we were sitting on the couch and Mister H gently took my feet in his hands and gave them a massage. My feet are revolting at the best of times. Scalier than a rhinoceros  and in, my pregnant state, totally cracked and horrible (very hard to reach with my Ped Egg at the moment!). I have to say, that simple action was better than sex. Ok, I lie, but it was pretty good and just what I needed at that time. I reckon simple things like that help.

Oh, and quickies are alright too.

Treat ‘Em Green…..5 Minute Pesto

25 Mar pesto bowl


So, for the record – I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here. I don’t propose to be Neil Perry or Kylie Kwong. What I am endeavouring to do is give food inspiration to busy and tired people. Healthy, tasty, quick. That’s the key.

Let me preface this recipe by saying I love pesto.

I don’t love it because it’s versatile, and can be stirred through mayo to dress a salad or smear on a sandwich, and I don’t love it because it keeps nicely when refrigerated or frozen. I love it because D Man loves it and it takes 5 minutes to prepare. By the time the water for the pasta has boiled my pesto is ready and we’re good to dine, in a messy green fashion. This can be dolloped onto grilled fish or chicken, or stirred through freshly boiled potatoes with a squeeze of lemon. Basically, take what’s in the fridge and fancy it up with green stuff. Works on kids and husbands.

Traditionally, pesto is basil with a few other bits thrown in for excitement, but I’ve discovered that with enough basil and parmesan you can disguise most green vegetables so it’s a brilliant way to get in some sneaky veg. Raw food is incredibly important for the human body so I often don’t bother cooking what I blitz, although if you wanted to blanch quickly, that works too. If you’re all freaky on wheat there are many alternatives available at the supermarket these days – quinoa, rice and corn is a great combo that has fabulous nutritional qualities. D Man can spot it, however, at 20 paces and gives me the Mafioso stare down if I try to feed it to him…..that said, I can do a sneaky half and half if he’s not watching. Cooking times are different though so beware of the crunchy penne dilemma and be sure to read cooking instructions.

Now, I’m writing this as a toddler meal, but on busy weeknights I’ve most certainly been known to buy some good quality spinach and ricotta ravioli and crisp up some pancetta and serve this to us tall people for dinner. It’s seriously so fast and easy….and most importantly, yummy.

NOTE : If basil is too expensive or strong tasting for your bub, you can substitute parsley. The added bonus of this is a monster iron hit, too.

Time : 5 minutes

Yeild : 4 toddler serves or 2 adult and 1 toddler serve

Can be frozen in portions in freezer for a couple of weeks. Then it’s even easier than easy!

  • 2 big handfuls fresh, yummy basil
  • 1 handful or rocket or baby spinach
  • 50g good quality parmesan
  • 30g nuts – pine nuts, almonds and walnuts work for me
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Small handful of choice of veg – sugar snap peas, broccoli, zucchini combo
  • 90ml good olive oil
  • Penne to serve

Place all ingredients into a mini food processor, or blender or container to blitz with hand held Kitchen Wizz thing. Basically, smoosh it all together until it forms a paste. You want it to be luscious, not gluggy so add a little water, if needed, until it’s like a thick sauce.

Meanwhile, boil your pasta. At the last minute I also throw into my pasta water some cubed carrots and cauliflower as this gets devoured when green.

Drain pasta, add a couple of spoons of pesto and serve. You can also add tinned tuna, cooked chicken, cherry tomatoes or whatever you have for variety on the theme.

Blind Play Dating and the Art of Picking Up Chicks

25 Mar little feet with yellow sandal

After living all of my 20 years in Sydney in the Eastern Suburbs, 6 months ago Mister H and I bought a house 13 clicks South.

It was a matter of affordability versus space and I love our bright, spacious house with our garden with our imaginary vege patch that I will get around to one day. Where we used to live was a little like Melrose Place. Although we weren’t sleeping with anyone else in the building, nor did I wake up with full make-up and 80′s high hair, the similarities were that I had friends in the building, on the street and in the neighbourhood.

A simple trip out for bread could turn into a pavement chat, or a coffee or a full blown social event. It was pretty cool…..but we lived in a two bedroom apartment with a fast growing toddler, with a faster growing collection of toys that appeared to be over taking the lounge in a parasitic fashion.

So, now we’re here. 13 clicks South. It’s not far…..it’s not. It’s only half an hour , you know…..and I love it. I do. Love the house…….and the space……but the ‘burbs?

There are like minded people out here, I’m sure. Who can afford to buy their first home in the Eastern Suburbs? People are definitely buying further out they tell me…..so where the hell are they? My friends have begun to endeavour to set me up on blind play dates with peeps in my area. I have plenty of friends half an hour or so drive away but it’s nice to be able to pop to out locally and chat to someone who’s favourite word is not bum bum. Mister H and I met on a blind date so I’m down with a blind date. So far, the one contact I was given didn’t call back. I aimed to sound chirpy. Cheerful. I tried to instil a little chipper tone, without sounding like Minnie Mouse, that said ‘hey, you want to hang with my kid and I cos we’re hip’. But after no call back I feel that perhaps, in fact, I sounded like some crazed, friendless desperado psychopath who was using my kid to get to young mothers so I could abduct them and put them in my new back shed…….but my friend, the procurer of said number, said I was being silly, she’s obviously busy too. Just try again.

That goes against everything I learned in my dating days. Never, ever call twice in a row!!! Are you crazy!!!!????? So, I sent a text in case there was a dastardly mechanical error with her phone and she didn’t get my voicemail message………and, nada. No enchilada.

The area we live in is culturally rich and diverse. Which means I don’t see many people like me in the park. I think it’s great for D Man to grow up in a diverse area as I want him to be tolerant and open minded, but when it comes to chatting at the swings, it does make things a little tough. When I see someone in the park who looks like they could be a contender (quick break down – not crusty, speaks English), I sidle up to them and casually make a comment about their kid. Although I did hear myself recently say-

‘Sooooooo, I haven’t seen you in this park before. You come here often?’

Where the hell did I think I was……CHEERS???? We chatted for a bit but I realised that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and perhaps we wouldn’t be picnicking any time soon. I decided to take it to Mister H. He had knowledge of picking up chicks, right? Hell, I didn’t even fancy him when I first saw him on our blind date so he must have a magic touch. He have me a very sage of insight -

‘I usually just wait until they’re drunk’

(Mind casts back to first date….yep, can verify this as fact. Second date involved no alcohol whatsoever, though, and no it wasn’t breakfast, dirt bags)

I guess I’ll just have to be patient. You can’t rush these things and friendship cannot be forced. In the meantime, D Man and I drive to our old ‘hood…..coffee’s better in East anyway.

Breaking the Fast – Irresistible Apple and Maple Bircher

23 Mar

Anyone that knows me knows that I really love food.

When I’m eating breakfast I’m certain that it’s my favourite meal of the day. Whether it’s hot or cold, eggy or cereal, I do so love breaking my fast…but then, along comes my old friend, Lunch. As I’m enjoying my mid-day meal, not necessarily anything extravagant – perhaps a salad or sandwich, I would quite solemnly swear that, indeed, lunch was in fact my favourite meal of the day. As soon as the lunch plates have been cleared then I begin to think about my true love, dinner. I rarely plan in advance, as much as I’d love to be orgamanised, but I really, really enjoy a yummy dinner at the end of a long day…..oh, and I love snacks and dessert, did I mention that?

I like food. A lot. A LOT.

Seeing as this is the beginning of our relationship, dear reader, I thought it only apt to begin with a spot of breakfast. If you charted our foundling relationship as a day one could say we’re in our metaphorical breakfast, so I’m breaking us in easily with a spot of Bircher Muesli. Fun for the whole family.

Now my men hate porridge. The strange phenomenon is that they both like Bircher. I’m fairly sure Mister H knows Bircher is merely cold porridge but D Man is, as yet, none the wiser. I don’t dig your usual, standard claggy grey bowl of Bircher, I love fancy pants up-town variations that make me feel like I’m consuming a decadent creamy bowl of joy rather than tricked up horse food.

The beauty of this breaky is that you can make a batch on Sunday night, double it if you’re super keen and you’ve got quick, easy, low GI, low fat breaky ready to rock for the start of the week. No excuses for grabbing a ham and cheese croissant on the way to work (although Mister H has been known to have both – two breakfasts, like a good Hobbit!!)

Apple, Cinnamon and Maple Bircher – Holsby Style.

Time – overnight

Quantity – 2 adults and 1 little person

Ingredients –

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 heaped tablespoons, plus extra for serving, yummy yoghurt, either natural or vanilla if that floats your boat
  • 1 apple, skin on, grated
  • Some good quality apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup – none of that imitation crap, please. The real deal is so much better.
  • 3 teaspoons LSA (or ground linseed, sunflower and almonds for the nut novices)
  • a handful of dried cranberries, or fresh berries or other dried fruit of your liking.

So easy, gang. Ready? Set? Go!

Chuck your oats into a container, and just cover them with the apple juice. Add your yoghurt, cinnamon and grated apple.Stir it like you mean it. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, serve how much your morning belly wants, dollop on some yoghurt, sprinkle on some LSA and cranberries and drizzle with some maple.

Viola! Breakfast of champions and Holbys!

 
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Lessons From A Rat.

23 Mar Best Friends

My almost-two-year old son’s best friend is a rat.

He’s funny looking – Ratty, not my progeny -, rather smelly (could be referring to either but still Ratty, irrespective of regular washing) and due to an unfortunate incident with my favourite Clinique lipstick recently, oddly, pinky, stained down one side of his cafe latte coloured fur……but all of this aside, D Man loves him unconditionally.

Whether he saw him 10 minutes ago, or two hours ago, his little, often grubby, face lights up when he sees him and with true, heart exploding love he embraces his friend and kisses his smelly, and possibly soggy snout. He has no expectations of Ratty, just love. Pure and simple.

He doesn’t care where Rat has been, or what he’s been up to, or which of the other furry friends he’s been cavorting with in D Man’s absence – He’s just thrilled to bits at seeing his best friend again.

Perhaps there is something to be learned from the simplicity of this friendship?

The nature of friendship is something I’ve pondered greatly over the last two years since I’ve had D Man and my life has been turned upside down in a brown-banana -smears-and -stinky -nappy- flavoured manner, but it’s also something I’ve discussed at length with others of late.

Friendship appears, at times, to have an almost tidal nature. It waxes and wanes in a luna fashion. We are drawn apart and come back together, sometimes in a crashing wave we’re thrown back together, other times with a gentle surge we’re guided back towards our old friend.

The fact is, lives take different paths and yet sometimes we cling, in my case with the dishpan hands Mrs Palmolive warned us about, to the memory of a friendship that was and grieve it’s passing.

Where once there was Martinis, high heels and lipstick smears at dawn, there is now in it’s stead coffees in a park teeming with children and snippets of broken conversation as you try to gossip whilst keeping one eye on your child as they kamikaze off a jungle gym. Sensible Birkenstocks have replaced the heels and suncream and vegemite smears are the new make-up. I, and my life, have definitely, infinitely changed…..but what about my friends that have not?

Now please don’t get me wrong here, a few of my child free friends have embraced my little stinker as if he’s of their own loins, and slowly, one-by-one many of my old buddies are sprouting babes of their own (I was by no means a young mother but still a trail blazer in this field, if none other). I have found many new fabulous friends within a circle of mamas since ‘the change’ but many single peeps have fallen by the wayside.

Perhaps one day the tide of our friendship will come back in, but I know that ultimately the only thing guaranteed in life is there will be change, and if that change is brought about by little people, who raise their chubby little hands to you, snuggle into your neck and sigh ‘wee wee’, then change should be embraced and casualties will always be remembered fondly, through slightly foggy Martini shaped glasses.

The World According To Missus H.

23 Mar

I am well aware that there are many ‘mummy bloggers’ out there on the world wide web, and I’m not for a second proposing to have more insight, more humour and certainly more of an idea of what the hell goes on with my child half the time, but I’ve decidedthat I do have plenty to say, and sometimes not that many people to say it to….or no one over two years of age with an attention span shorter than my fair self.

I’m Danielle. I’m a writer, a tv producer, a great lover of food. I enjoy cooking for my family and friends and I hope to share that with you.

I am a wife, a mother, a photographic enthusiast and a person who finds it easy to laugh at herself – in no particular order.

So, without further ado, I welcome to you to the contents of my head…..and my pantry.

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