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8 Easy Dinner Ideas When You’ve Lost the Will to Cook

August 30, 2014

You’ve been up since Dawn’s crack, and everyone has had a piece of you all day.

You’ve already had to feed everyone a few times today and those needy little creatures want you to feed them once more before you can shut them away  put the little sweethearts to bed and finally have some you time to fold Mount Washmore and clean the kitchen whilst necking a bottle of wine.

You open your fridge and there may even be food but it all needs to be cooked lovingly and you have lost the will to cook.

Fear not.

Here are some fast ideas that will fill little tummies, and you will know that you’re still a contender in the Mother of the Year competition unless you forget to pick your daughter up from day care, and get disqualified like I did.

Continue Reading…

Ramblings of a Suburban Urbanite, Uncategorized

What not to say to a newly separated lady.

August 21, 2014

 

I got this.

If you follow me on Facebook you would have heard me mention that the neighbours are circling like gulls trying to ascertain WTF the new living arrangements at my gaff are.

If this is your first ever post, I’ll fill you in quickly – My marriage just ended and I’m doing a remarkable job of pretending it’s business as usual. I wear bright lipstick and stick a smile on my face and I drink a lot of wine.

This shituation is under control.

As I step out of my front gate I get swooped upon by curious suburban neighbourly types fishing for information to which I’m infuriatingly schtum.

My bestie suggested we build a man-sized mound of dirt in the back yard to really ‘fuck with them’. I personally thought that was pure gold. I could make it the new naughty corner and really look like the Mansons had moved in.

I explained the sitch to my direct neighbours because they’re home a lot. Now on my own in the house I thought having some neighbourhood watch was a sound plan. They’re a nice enough young fam bam. We say hi over the fence and it has real warmth but that warmth has not extended to backyard BBQS or key parties.

I’m good with that.

There is one particular Mrs Mangle nosey neighbour a few doors down whom I have avoided for about a year because I don’t dig her swag. Neighbourhood gossip ain’t my bag, and although pleasant enough, there’s not enough time for the peeps I’m crazy about let alone ones I’m lukewarm on.

So, the nice young Fam Bam was having a pretend picnic with their dinosaurs and teddies on a lovely rug in the gentle winter sun, and I stepped onto my back deck (which in awesome suburban style looks straight onto their greying knickers on the Hills Hoist), I gave them a ‘nice day for it’ salute and we all felt fuzzy for a moment and went about our business, until I heard my name being yelled across two gardens and a couple of fences by Mrs Mangle.

“Danieeeeeellle, where’s your husband? I haven’t seen him lately. Is he here? I saw him packing boxes into the car a couple of months ago.”

It was like a punch in the face to be honest. I could see the fam bam slowly sinking into the ground as they wish for invisibility and I did that thing where your tummy drops and your wee nearly squeezes out like silent tear from your urethra.

“He doesn’t live here anymore” I yelled back ” but perhaps over two fences and two gardens and a teddy bear’s picnic isn’t the best way to chat about it.”

And I stalked in, slamming the sliding door enough to shatter the glass into a million pieces – At least in my head I did. I really just politely closed it grumbling to myself because even though I never want to speak to her again I still want her to like me.

The other one I’m loving at the moment is “Wow, you have we very second weekend off from your kids. You’re so lucky.”

Yes, I am lucky. Because my marriage didn’t work out how we planned and I’m a single mum struggling to keep my shit together I get two days a fortnight to try and regain sanity. It’s awesomesauce. Everyone should have a crack at it.

In truth, the weekend thing is nice, but in an ideal world everything works out swell and you get a little ‘me’ time and family time is balanced  and everything is shiny and life is played to the ‘Family Ties’ theme song…..

“I bet we’ve been together for a million years, I bet we’ll be together for a million more…. sha la la laaa.”

*earworm alert – you’re welcome.

I’d also like to say if you have a distant acquaintance going through this, asking them about their financial status is actually rude. Asking me how I’m getting along financially is a little bit like asking me if my bowels are regular, and what’s the consistency.

Actually, you know, I’ll take the scat chat, please.

But I’m not immune to putting my foot in my mouth. No, sireeeee, Bob.

In fact, I’ve put my foot so far in my mouth on occasion, it was easier to remove it rectally than it was to cough that shit up, so I’m not judging anyone for their lack of tact….. however, if you’d care to express concern or curiosity buy me some goddamned $5 flowers and invite yourself over for a cup of tea.

Like I would do.

Or simply grab my hand, look me in the eye, and ask me,

“Are you cool? Can I do anything?”

I’ll say “yes, I’m cool”, and “no you can’t” so you’re off the hook but at least you weren’t a thoughtless dick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramblings of a Suburban Urbanite, Uncategorized

The Jerk

March 15, 2014

Scoping out which part of cowhide to vomit on…. wooden floor not appealing.

There’s another man in my life that I don’t really talk about much.

He’s a total fricken’ pussy, in all senses of the word but I think it’s time I let him out from under the bed, metaphorically speaking, because realistically he ain’t coming out for no one until it’s good and dark , and the kids are in bed.

I’m not hiding him from you – he’s fairly wraith like in his abilities to make himself scarce – but for such a small, quiet dude he’s probably the biggest jerk in the house. Mind you, that would probably just depend on the day.

We all seem to take turns, myself excluded.

Naturally.

I’ve referred to him in passing, and mentioned how he ruins my stuff by ignoring his array of expensive scratching posts and choosing instead to scratch the shit out of my big, gay, salmon couch.

Jerk

Jerk (that’s just a yoghurt stain….scouts honour)

10 years ago I was dating a dude who paraded me past the vet’s window when there was a tiny, weeny, bald shaven kitten the size of a fist who had been eaten by a dog.

The dog owners found the poor creature in their yard and they took it to the vet where their initial thoughts were to euthenaise the kitten… until he looked at the lady vet with his big green eyes and she was a G.O.N.E.R..

‘Look at him, BAY-by‘ said the boyfriend. He used to emphasise that first syllable of baby. I kinda liked it.

He wants to come home with us.’

But I wanted a Lady Puss. Not a Man Cat.

I went, solo, for a moggy date to the vets to hold the poor, sick cat that I did not want to prove to myself how much I did not want him.

Who was I kidding? Schmuck.

Those green eyes with flecks of gold clocked me and……G.O.N.E.R.

My whole life I’ve picked the broken waifs and strays and tried to fix them, did I really think I wouldn’t crumble and desire to give this boy cat all the puss love I had in my heart?

This was pretty much how my love life went in my 20’s. Find a broken one, and try to save him… although there was a little stint of find a young one and train him up.

Needless to say, those paramours fell away into sweet fragments of my history but a cat is no short love affair.

Anyhoo, 40 minutes and 50 bucks later, I was told I could pick up my kitten in a few weeks when his wounds had healed, and heal he did. Mister Fluffy Pants, aka The Jerk, is reaching middle age age now at a ripe old 10 years old.

When I cried, he sat with me, when I got drunk, he slunk around my ankles, and when I got laid he’d try to sit on the bed, with various success depending on the modesty of my lover. We were a team for a few years, Pants and I.

He was always shy after his traumatic beginnings. So much so that for years no one believed I even had a cat but when it was just he and I home, he loved life.

I guess where it all went south for The Jerk was when I shacked up.

Mister H hates cats, Mister Fluffy Pants in particular, but that makes Pants more determined to sit on him.

I like that about cats.

To make feline matters worse I got knocked up. I didn’t want Pants sitting all up in my face, and he’s never forgiven me for the little peeps. He thinks they’re the jerks.

Mr F Pants treats me like his girlfriend, which I’m supposed to be flattered about but in actuality it means that he randomly attacks me, and only me, in a display of power that I’m supposed to find sexy… but I don’t.

I find it creepy, and a scary, and my ankles constantly have razor like slashes across them from his onslaughts.

His preferred place to vomit is either on my Persian rug or my cow hide…. never on the vast expanse of wooden floor.

Jerk.

I feel for that Jerk though. Living his days sleeping under the bed, hiding from sticky, grabby hands and coming out to bite me at night.

It’s not easy going from being Top Cat to Top Jerk.

How the furry fall.

pants

Did your furry friend fall from grace when you had a family, or keep its ranking??

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Mrs H Talks..., Uncategorized

The end of her marriage was the beginning of her life.

February 25, 2014

felicity aitkenSometimes in life you need to hit the very bottom before you can come back better than ever. Obviously, the bottom is a subjective thing, but no matter who you are, or what’s going on, it’s never easy to get back up on top.

That’s what struck me when I had a brief chat to Felicity at my gym.

You see I looked at her and saw an awesomely fit, strong, vibrant lady who could kick my arse around the spin room and make me want to vomit 10 times in 45 minutes, and she just goes like the Energiser Bunny.

She’s a thinker, philosophical and provocative, and she called me out one day on the way I’m often quick to judge something if it’s different to what I know.

I liked that.

I like someone challenging the way I think. I went away and thought about what she’d said.

A little way into our discussion Felicity revealed that a few short years ago she was in a toxic and abusive relationship, with a very small baby, was 30 kilos overweight and quite simply –

MISERABLE

After a whirlwind romance she married her love very swiftly, but it did not take long for cracks to appear.

Felicity quickly fell pregnant and between that and the emotional stress she was under her weight climbed steadily. Her self esteem was nose diving at a rate of knots and she let go of her self care.

Not just physically, but also emotionally.

Felicity suffered pere-natal depression and was put on watch, and that extra attention went on after the birth of her child.

‘I was put in a single room and monitored closely. My hormones were going crazy, which I’m sure many mothers can relate to. After I left the hospital I still really had the blues

Felicity was madly in love with her son, but the cloud over her was dense.

Although she genuinely wanted things to work with her husband her spirits were sinking deeper with each explosive incident… and although that part is not my story to tell I will say there were many incidences that would have broken a lesser woman.

It was a Christmas away with her family, watching the dynamics between her people and observing the way they interacted with each other that made Felicity realise that her relationship was bad for her and it was time to make changes for herself and her son.

The logistics of a break up is always tricky and after a few false starts and some low patches Felicity and her son Josh moved in with her parents where they still now stay.

‘If it wasn’t for my family and community I would not be the person I am today and doing the things I am doing. The dynamics of parenting with my parents is sometimes tricky,  but I am so thankful that I have them. They help me no end, and Josh has a wonderful relationship with his grandparents because of that’.

People don’t often speak of the sense of failure they feel when a marriage breaks down but Felicity was quite candid with me.

‘I felt like it was my fault and I should try harder, but in the end it was so unhealthy, and I was so unhappy, that I knew there was no other way. I sought solace in my spirituality and received counselling without which I don’t know how I’d have gotten through‘.

Felicity had started her Cert 4 in Ministry (Theology) 6 years ago and fell off the wagon then got back on 6 months into her separation as she felt a real need to complete her certificate, knowing it would guide her through the tough times. Then in 2013 she began her University degree in Psychology, theology and sociology.

She threw herself into being the best personal trainer she could be and by getting into her body and mind was able to rise again like a phoenix from the ashes and take back control of her life.

‘I don’t lose weight easily and it took three years to lose the weight I had gained, but I’m now fitter, and stronger and happier in my skin than I have ever been.’

felicity aitkenThe thing that strikes me about Felicity is this is not just skin deep.

It’s her attitude.

Her determination.

Her light shines out of her, as cliched as that may sound.

‘I want to encourage people that even though you may be in so much pain, crippling pain, curled up in a fetal position can’t breath pain…. you do breath again.’

Felicity AitkenFelicity has a very thoughtful blog over here where she shares her journey and her inspiration.

Here’s one paragraph of hers that just sings to my soul right now –

Metamorphosis…..and…. The rhythm of life… 

I absolutely love this word and the meaning behind it. The caterpillar goes into a cocoon and comes out a magnificent butterfly. How amazing is this when we can transfer this concept into our lives? The idea that we can have time to heal, replenish discover who we are then enter the world with beauty and wholeness…

You can also catch her on Facebook here.

felicity aitken

 

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Humor, Parenting, Ramblings of a Suburban Urbanite, Uncategorized

If your desk reflects your brain, your car reflects your….?

January 16, 2014
*source* DISCLAIMER : Not actually going to ever firebomb my car, nor do I suggest you do.

*source*
DISCLAIMER : Not actually going to ever firebomb my car, nor do I suggest you do.

I’ve heard it said that your desk, and the clutter or lack thereof may reflect the way you work and the way you think.

As I currently sit here typing I’m looking at a soft toy dog, a Quad Copter, boxing wrist straps, a cloth wine gift bag from my book launch 2 MONTHS AGO, a silk scarf, two note pads, 5 million Woolworths animal cards that I never put into an album, various pieces of unopened mail probably not containing love letters, a parking fine and some paw paw cream…. and an empty coffee cup.

Sometimes people ask me how I manage to do everything I do.

The answer is simple.

When most stay at home parents clean, I do more fun stuff.

The result is this blog, and a less than pristine house.

I’m fairly ok with the concept that the inside of my head is a tad on the unruly end of the spectrum and I’ll never suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder.

 I actually tidied my desk today….. Well, technically, it’s the dining table.

I do have a tidy desk in a tidy office but the second I sit in said office my offspring take it as a sign to pull everything out of the kitchen drawers, chase each other with crab crackers and metal skewers and go hand skating on my CD collection.

BS, Before Sproglets, I was never fanatical about my car interior, but I never had extraneous stuff or rubbish in my car either.

That said, I also NEVER had dried yoghurt sprays up interior car doors, seats or windows, fossilised apple cores, sand enough to bank up New Orleans should they require again, odd socks, random toys missing limbs and petrified rice crackers.

What if the state of your car interior is indicative of your soul?

I’m stuffed. Frankly.

Let’s just face it.

In my defence, my little driver’s area is actually really rather neat.

Perhaps there’s an area of my soul that’s not in danger of immortal peril.

My personal space in the car has small amount of sand. A dried up, vaguely cheesy wet wipe in the console (I tried to sort that yoghurt problem but I was driving), an eaten pear core (not mine, handed to me whilst driving yesterday and on exiting the car my hands were already full), otherwise not too bad, in the grand scheme of car filth. I’ve seen way worse.

But, really, what if it is representative of a part of my psyche???

Shudder to think.

While I’m on the subject, I may as well confess to the state of the children’s seats.

Do you allow your children to eat in the car?

Don’t.

Ever.

I do, and when my children are finished with those chairs I will not be putting them on eBay. I will be giving them to the science department of the university to run tests on.

There is a microcosmos going down in the cracks of those chairs that consists largely of crumbs, squashed sultanas and bum sweat.

I wish I could find the ideal car food for them but I’m still searching.

It’s not banana. No way.

That gack gets squished everywhere and by the time the mercury hits 35C my car reeks like a gorilla’s yawn.

It’s also certainly not muffins, crackers, sandwiches, or anything that may crumb because by the time my tiny beasts are done with it the morsels left in the chair cracks are enough to feed a sponsor child.

I regularly think about cleaning the car out.

I think about it hard…. but when it comes to getting the extension cord and the vacuum cleaner and, and, and….. the thought makes me need to have a cup of tea.

Or bottle of wine.

I know you’re thinking why not a car wash?

Love, love, love the idea but then I’m stuck sitting there with toddlers while they detail my car for a million dollars.

Maybe I should simply start driving Mister H’s nice tidy car more often because no matter how hot it gets it never smells like cheesy banana.

In fact, it’s so beautifully clean that sometimes I just want to sit in there in the late afternoon, lock the doors, turn up Triple J and leave the kids to the witching hour.

To be honest, a large part of me thinks perhaps it would be easier if I just firebomb the family wagon, get myself a cheeky car loan and buy that Mustang I’ve always fancied myself driving.

Can you get baby seats in a ‘Stang?

*** THIS IS A SPONSORED POST. ALL THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN***

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  – A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

Uncategorized

Portrait 365 : 14

January 14, 2014
My Jackie

My Jackie

‘Wake up, take a breath, trust yourself…. and let go.’

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Photography, Portrait 365, Uncategorized

Portrait 365 : 12

January 12, 2014
Caitlin

Caitlin

‘When I woke up this morning my cat was sleeping in the small of my back. It made me happy…… you know, you look like my best friend Fiona Hamilton.’

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Photography, Portrait 365, Uncategorized

Portrait 365 : 6

January 6, 2014
Rick

Rick

‘Speak with only love in your heart’

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Photography, Portrait 365, Uncategorized

Portrait 365 : 5

January 5, 2014

Nu

Nu


‘Make life more simple.’

If you like what you’re seeing, or want a little more info about this image why not like my Facebook page now as I have a little spiel there.

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Uncategorized

Some epic fails and Pea and Ham Soup

December 31, 2013

pea and ham soup ingredientsWhen my friend Bunny Eats Design posted some old photos of the beginning of her food blogging and photography recently-ish it was really cool to see how far she’d come.

As with most things in life, the more you do something the better you become. I could really see her progression and now I really love her food photography.

When I first started mine was trés ordinaire. I’m not proposing for a minute to be amazeballs, but I can see that I’ve improved no end.

yoghurt chicken

Hello, bad food photography.

Lord knows I’ve had enough practice. Especially after that little camera setting balls up that required me to shoot EVERYTHING again for the book.

I’ve had quite a bit of practice all round really in the past year.

I wanted to wrap the year up by letting y’all know that my kitchen is far from mishap free. If you think that it’s all Martha Stewart, or Jamie Oliver over here at Chez Holsby you’d be sorely mistaken.

You see I’m as busy and preoccupied, and in demand by my kids as you guys, so I too forget about things in the oven, on the stove, or sometimes I just plain old balls it up.

Initially my idea was to never ever let on that I am a mere mortal and not Super Woman but I think you may find this slightly more entertaining.

The fail list.

One of my biggest issues is doing too many things at once so I have boiled over custard for ice-cream about 5 times, and caramel for toffee at least once. That ain’t easy to clean up, let me tell you.

ice cream custard all ver the stove

Sweet, sticky mess. I considered squeezing it back in but figured there was probably remnants of meals past. Ew.

I also tend to try to lick toffee or praline or any kind of molten sugar which removes your fingerprint on contact and is so hot that sticking it in your mouth is something only someone very special would do.

I’m very special.

The Turkish Delight muffins? Epic fail.

Over cooked, dusty and the Turkish Delight didn’t melt. It stayed in one little hard cube in the middle of the muffin that wanted a puff of dust as you bit into it.

Couldn’t even give them to any of the neighbourhood chilluns.

My first attempt at sushi was ok…my second? That sucked balls.

failed sushi

WTF happened here? Too much liquid? Heavy hand? Poor ravaged sushi.

Remember the Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meal experiment? The food was delicious but holy shimoly the kitchen looked like a bomb hit it.

Like seriously. Sweet potato on the floor, on my Ugg Boot and all over the counter.

sweet potato currently on counter, soon to be floorWhere am I going with this?

Basically, don’t be afraid to make mistakes in the kitchen. No effort is wasted as we are always learning and growing in our culinary journeys…. much like life.

Life is messy and we balls it up sometimes.

Get on with it.

Also, I’m just setting you up to let you know this soup is ugly.

Try as I might, I could not make Pea and Ham Soup look pretty.

D Man calls it Troll Snot Soup and you know, he’s about right….. but damn, it’s so tasty and couldn’t be easier. The main ingredient here is time.

I used my Christmas ham bone but you just buy a pork hock. I had a 6kg pig at Christmas and we had pretty much eaten most of the meat. I cut as much of remaining meat off and cut it fine and chucked it in the mix.

What you will need :

  • Ham bone or hock with some meat still on
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
  • 600g green split peas
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or chicken stock powder
  • salt and pepper

What you will need to do :

Throw your bone into a big pot and cover with water.

Toss everything else in, bring to boil and reduce heat, putting it on a heat diffuser if necessary.

Stick a lid on it and ignore the crap out of it for at least an hour and a half.

Give it a stir occasionally. If you need more water, add it.

When the meat is falling off the bone and everything is all mushed together and soupy, season generously and you’re pretty much done.

pea and ham soup

Wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year and I can’t wait to see where 2014 takes us all!

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  – A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.