Tag Archives: cooking

No bake muesli bars.

So I’m in a cooking / baking / making mood.

I always try to have healthy snacks at the ready, that are quick and easy but also yummy.

Dont get me wrong, I eat not so healthy food and quite often find myself reaching for the double coat Tim Tams 😉 BUT if I’m organised I try to have better options available.

Food prep takes no time at all and your body and mindset will thank you for it.

I hate to say it, but what you fuel your body with is how it responds. Much like your car, you put good fuel in your car and it will drive well. You eat well and your body and mind will perform well.

No bake muesli bars.

Ingredients
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup agave syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract,
¼ teaspoon cinnamon,
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup cashews
½ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower seeds,
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup chopped dried apricots.

Instructions
Melt the agave syrup with the coconut oil.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl then add the melted coconut oil and agave mixture.

Stir well or blitz in a food processor.

Pour into a lined or non stick tray and refrigerate for minimum 3hr or until the coconut oil has set.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

– note –
You can swap the dried fruit for whatever you like including dates, goji berries, sultanas or even a mix.

You can also swap the nuts to almonds, walnuts or peanuts. Again whatever flavour you prefer or maybe to a mix?

You could also add extra seeds and add chocolate chips if you like or try drizzling either melted chocolate or yogurt on top prior to setting it in the refrigerator.

Who says healthy isn’t easy and yummy!

These babies took no time at all. Actually about 15 minutes without setting time.

ThermoMix heaven….

Easy, healthy cooking.

About a year ago something happened that literally turned things around for me in the kitchen. I met Caroline, my Thermomix consultant. She’s also a mummy with two young children so we clicked straight away over shared experiences.

Together she showed me how this one piece of equipment could help me in so many ways – not just making it possible to make healthy and tasty options but to do so quickly and easily, which of course meant I didn’t resort to store-bought yuckies. And having more free time was a bonus I didn’t anticipate but certainly appreciate.

Now I’m not big on selling things but seriously, this ‘thing’ she showed me, was about to turn my kitchen experience around.

Even better, I could get those nutrients into my littlies, especially my fussy young man, without resorting to a battle. Of course, trying new tastes often results in the reflex spit-out but a bit like the sleeping patterns persistence can pay off and it took less time than I imagined.

Yes, a Thermomix is a considerable investment, but for me it’s also been a Godsend and possibly one of my best purchases as a parent. They also have many options to almost ‘lay buy’ or ‘pay off’ this piece of kitchen equipment. I use mine almost every day and for everything from a smoothie, making porridge, chopping vegetables, cooking a whole meal at once, including steaming vegetable in the varoma, whilst making a pasta sauce in the jug!

This 1 item has eliminated so many from my kitchen. It chops, blends, steams, boils, stirs, cooks, poaches, purées and all on a timer. So no boiling over, burning pans or constant stiring. Best of all it comes with a recipe chip, which is amazing! It has hundreds of easy to make recipes, that takes no time at all to prepare and cook. Well actually this machine pretty much does everything. The LCD screen works a bit like an iPad. It prompts you all the way so you basically cannot stuff up! Easy!

Not only is Caroline always just a phone call away to help with cooking and recipe tips, but as well as a Thermomix consultant I’ve also gained a friend.

Your interested to know more, please feel free to contact Caroline direct. I’ve popped her details at the bottom of this post.

Or jump onto the ThermoMix website and check it out for yourself!

Here’s one of our favourite sneaky veg recipes:

Carrot and Zucchini Choc Muffins

Ingredients:
1 medium zucchini
1 medium carrot
30g raw sugar
130g chickpea flour
30g raw cacao
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt
30g almonds
30g macadamia nuts
70g grapeseed oil
2 eggs

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a muffin tray
Grate zucchini and carrot speed 7 for 2 seconds, transfer to a bowl
Add all ingredients from raw sugar to macadamia nuts and mix speed 5 for 6 seconds
Add oil and eggs and mix speed 5 for 20 seconds
Add back zucchini and carrot and mix speed 2 for 5 seconds on reverse
Transfer mixture to prepared muffin tray and bake for 20-25 minutes
Transfer to wire tray to cool for 10 minutes

I like to serve these with vanilla coconut custard…( one of Caroline’s recipes).

These can even be frozen so you always have a supply on hand!

If you would like to contact Caroline to arrange a cooking demonstration or purchase you own Thermomix you can contact her on 0402 483 803 or carolinesomma@hotmail.com

Settlements and chores

Settlements and chores with marriage and divorce.

I recently read an article in Australia’s Marie Claire magazine about divorce settlements and how they are being settled.

To my shock these things are now being divided almost into a spreadsheet of what the women did around the house during the marriage and put a number on. For example, each load of washing was valued at $25.00.

After reading more into this breakdown it also detailed ‘babysitting duties’ at $25/hr, cooking at $15 per person per meal, school runs at $20/hr and so on.

So these women say have 3 children ranging from 5-15 years old and are married for 17 years and now getting settlements based on what they ‘earns’ during their marriage raising their families?

Please explain to me how this works?

I thought that being a mother was a blessing and not a job?

Why should we be paid or compensated for being given this privilege?

I understand that when we do become mothers and like myself some choose to become a stay at home mum and raise our children instead of keeping our careers and having our little ones in full time care, this is our choice. So why when things don’t go as planned are women expecting to get a lump dime pay out to compensate for loss of earnings?

The article I read had the woman seeking half her husbands superannuation, which I understand she hasn’t early any in the past however many years as she has been the home maker, but why is she entitled?

Along with half the super she is seeking the lump sum payment which looks a bit like this.

17 years
3 children
* 1 x load of washing per day @ $25 per load = $175 x 17 years = $546,976
* Baby sitting @ $25 per hour – 5 hours per day, = $125 x 5 days per week, the time she is at home alone each week day with the / her children = $625 x 15 years = $
* 6 x dinners per week @ $20 per meal for 5 people = $600 x 17 years = $
* Daily errands = $20 per hour @ 3hours per day = $60 x 7 days = $420 x 17 years = $
* Ironing @ $25 per basket x 2 baskets per week = $50 x 17 years =
* cleaning the family home @ $25 per hour x 3 days per week = $75 x 17 years = $
* Packing school lunches @ $10 per lunch, 3 x children.
10 years for the eldest @ 5 x days per week, $50 per week @ 40 weeks per year x 10 years = $20,000
5 years for the Middle child @ 5 days per week $10,000
1 year for the youngest @ 5 days per week $2,000
Total = $32,000

So this all equals $2,278.53 per week
Which equals $118,483.82 per year
Over 17 years equals $2,012,355.00

Keep in mind this doesn’t include her going for half the superannuation not half the combined assets.

Is this fair?

With the average Australian annual salary being $75,000 per annum what would you expect from your partner if you were to divorce after 17 years and raising 3 children?

Would you expect or want half his superannuation?

Would you expect a lump sum pay out similar to the above?

Who actually can afford to pay out over $2 million dollars in a divorce settlement?

Another article that I found interesting was one where the husband worked out what his wife’s annual salary should equate to if being paid on parental duties only. Surprising it’s $97,000 per annum – this is not including house hold chores.

http://www.mamamia.com.au/parenting/stay-at-home-salary/

Have you been divorced?

Do you find this fair?

Email me : noordinarymummy@gmail.com

Butterfly cakes.

Butterfly Cakes

This recipe is such a favourite of mine. It brings back find memories if making them with my nan in her kitchen when I was about 7 years old.

Sadly nan passed away from cancer when I was 10, that is 24 years ago.

These cupcakes will always remind me of her and her beautiful ways.

Ingredients
280g butter
1 1/4 x cups caster sugar
1 1/2 x tsp vanilla extract
5 x eggs
3 3/4 x cups self raising flour
360ml milk

Filling
2 1/4 x cups thickened cream
3 x tsp icing sugar
1 x cup strawberry jam
Extra icing sugar for dusting

Method
Preheat oven to 190°C.
Line 2 x 12 cup muffin tins with patty pans and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy.

Add eggs in one at a time.

Slowly add half the flour and then half the milk and then repeat.

Beat with the electric mixer for just enough time for ingredients to be combined.

Divide mixture into patty pans and bake for 13-15 mins.

When the cakes are cool, whip the cream with the icing sugar until it’s thick.

Using a sharp knife, slice out a round disc from the top of the cake.

Place approx 1 teaspoon of jam in each top off the cake and spread with the back of a spoon. Top with a big scoop of cream.

Slice the disc you cut out in half then sit them in the cream. These are the butterfly wings 🙂

Add 1/4 tsp of jam in the centre for decoration.

Overnight oats!

Overnight oats!

Ok so perhaps I’ve jumped on ten bandwagon here 🙂

These are actually delicious and creamy! My little guy and I have porridge every morning so I thought, hey why not try these. Simple, easy, delicious!

1 x cup rolled oats
1 x cup milk – your choice. I’ve used almond and full cream. (Not together)
1 x teaspoon chia seeds
1 x tablespoon honey

Add all ingredients into a jar with a lid or Tupperware is great also.
Shake, refrigerate, eat!

This is best if it’s been in the fridge for minimum 12hrs…. I make mine at lunch time for the next morning. Yumo!

You can also add other flavours, such as banana or simply top with fruits? Granola, anything really. It’s just like porridge but no cooking required!

Warm Quinoa Salad

Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame & Tarragon

This recipe is one that a good friend if mine passed onto me. She like to eat good wholesome foods that also taste great, not only is this quick and easy, it really does taste great!

INGREDIENTS
1 cup quinoa,
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup drained and diced jarred roasted red peppers
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, preferably toasted

DIRECTIONS
1. Toast quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic and begins to crackle, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.

2. Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook gently for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and, without disturbing the quinoa, add edamame. Cover and continue to cook until the edamame and quinoa are tender, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Drain any remaining water, if necessary.

3. Whisk lemon zest and juice, oil, tarragon and salt in a large bowl. Add peppers and the quinoa mixture. Toss to combine. Divide among 4 plates and top with walnuts.

Tips:
Note: Quinoa is a delicately flavored grain that was a staple in the ancient Incas’ diet. It is available in most natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets. Toasting the grain before cooking enhances its flavor and rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering.

Cooking Tip: To toast walnuts:
Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

NUTRITION FACTS
Calories 404, Total Fat 18 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 6 g, Sodium 645 mg, Carbohydrate 46 g, Fiber 16 g, Protein 17 g, Potassium 319 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 20%, Iron 25%. Exchanges: Starch 3, Lean Meat 1, Fat 3.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Yummy lentil burgers!

Lentil burgers recipe

We are all trying to be a little healthier in my house hold so I’ve been sourcing some healthy recipes. I’m also trying to make finger food so that my toddler – who has become quite fussy will at least try what I cook. He still likes to feed himself…! See previous posts.

This recipe is passed on by a good friend of mine who is a very healthy individual who also prefers to eat organic.

These yummy lentil burger patties are a real mainstay of vegetarian menus. This version is so tasty and versatile that you can use it for lentil balls, mini bites and burgers patties.

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked brown lentils
1 cup mashed potato
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup L.S.A.
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp garlic, crushed
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients.

Using wet hands, shape mixture into balls or patties – whatever you prefer and place on the tray.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Entertaining little ones.

Keeping your little one entertained.

Let’s be honest here, we sometimes wonder ‘what next?’ What can we do now? How can I occupy my little one?

Well I have also often have these thoughts, so here are a few of my favorite things to do with my little man.

1. Outdoor exploring – my little one loves the outdoors so we often go exploring in the gardens. Showing him flowers and various plants, insects, trees etc not only keeps him busy but also teaches him about his environment. Get involved and smell flowers, walk on grass, sit and play with dirt, lay on the ground and make picture out if the clouds in the sky!

2. Drawing with chalk – again outdoors. Get some giant chalk sticks and let your children’s explore on the drive way or pavement. Chalk is not permeant so easily washed away with a bucket of water or with the hose. Unleash your creative side and your little ones also! Draw animals, write words, create shapes – anything is possible – explain as you go and your little will will absorb all your knowledge, remember they are sponges!

3. Singing and dancing – every night when little man is in the bath we sing songs. This is a little special time for us and it keeps him in the bath a little longer than 2 seconds. Which is his usual. So if your little one is too busy to bath – get singing. Lots of nursery rhymes have hand actions and clapping and stomping are great for motor skills communicating. Our favorite is ‘eyes,ears,mouth and nose’ – ‘gloop gloop went the little green frog’ and ‘Open shut them.’ These are super easy and fun. Keeps both occupied and promotes language skills. Of course you don’t need to do this in the bath you can do this in the lounge room or anywhere.

4. Cooking – I know this sounds dangerous but I never give him sharp objects or anything that he can be harmed with. When I am preparing any meal I pop my toddler in his high chair and let him watch me. I give him a bowl, spoon, whisk and other plastic non shape utensils and allow him to imitate. This really helps with their development and learning abilities.

5. Sensory games – cheap and cheerful. Get some small containers from your Tupperware cupboard. Go to your pantry and pull out some rice and pasta, then head to your driveway and collect some pebbles approx 20mm in diameter then a small jug of water. Put the rice in one container, pasta in another, pebbles in another and finally the water in another. Allow your little one to sit and play with these. Not only is this another form of exploring but it’s teaching them different texture, shape, size and materials.

6. Reading books – my little guy loves to read! So every day we sit down and read at least 2 books. Not only is this quiet time, it also helps him to learn words, objects, images, colors and turning pages. He also sits by himself and turns the pages in his books chatting away to himself.

7. Chases – this can be indoors or out. Play catchies! You chase them then allow them to chase you. Also allow them to catch you and when you catch them. Make it special – give a little tickle or kiss. Guaranteed this will be fun for all involved!

If these don’t keep you and your toddler busy I’m not sure what will. 🙂

Remember they are only little for a short time so embrace their ability to learn and allow them to crate and learn to their full potential.

Easy peasy healthy meatballs.

Easy healthy meatballs!

500gm lean mince
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 eggs

Put the mince in a large mixing bowl. Add both raw eggs and combine well
Add the tomato paste and continue to combine then add garlic and chili until all ingredients are well combined.

Take a large spoon of mixture and roll into a ball like shape – you can actually make any shape you like – sausage etc.

Once all meatballs are formed heat a frypan on medium and cook until each side is golden brown.

Serve with diced tomato and avocado for a easy salsa.

Or use as patties for burgers!

This easy meatball recipe can also be altered using turkey mince or pork mince.

Guarantee all the family will love them and by making them smaller ie the size of a golf ball – your toddler can easily munch away on them!

Either way – Delicious!

Keeping summer ready in the cooler seasons.

So summer is almost over and the cooler weather is settling in.

This means multiple things to gals like me.

1. Warm comfy baggy clothing
2. Yummy delicious comfort food
3. Stay inside and snuggle on the couch
4. Being fairly inactive and watching lots of movies / TV

So what am I going to change?

Firstly I’m going to play around with some new meal ideas that are not only yummy but better for me. Comfort food does not have to be unhealthy nor greasy nor hard!

I love a chili con carne just as much as anyone else so below is my easy, low fat but extremely delicious recipe.

Chili Con Carne

1kg lean beef mince
2 x medium eggs
1 x 400g tin kidney beans
1 x 400g tin chick peas
1 x 400g tin white beans
1 x 400g tin black beans
1/2 x cup tomato paste
1 x teaspoon minced garlic
1 x red chili finely sliced
Salt n pepper to taste

Lightly brown the mince on a medium heat adding the 2 raw eggs – the eggs add extra protein but also keep the mince fluffy and less dense.
Drain all the beans and give a rinse before adding into mince.
Add tomato paste mix well.
Add chili, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve by itself, with some flat bread or with couscous.

Enjoy!

My next change is to be / stay active!

Even when the weather permits nice walks outside. There are still many indoor activities that can be done to get moving and stay active.

These can include :

Lunges – side and front.
Side lunge –

This is easy simply stand with legs apart – approx. a little wider than shoulder width.

Keeping your body upright and shoulders back slightly bend your knees.

Gradually turn your toes outward.

Leaning your weight over your right knew first then back to your centre standing upright then repeat 10 times.

After you have done 10 on the right leg swap to your left leg and again repeat 10 times.

Do this until you have done 3 sets on each leg.

Front lunges –

Stand with legs again a little over shoulder width apart. Twist your body and feet to face the left side.

Keeping your balance bend left knee to a little above 90 degree angle.

Keep back leg straight.

Gently lower your body placing the weight on your back toe bending the front knee.

Keep your body upright at all times and don’t add too much pressure on your bent knee.

Place your hands on your hips for stability.

Lower yourself 10 times counting 3 seconds down then 3 seconds back up to upright position. Repeat 3 times then swap legs.

Do the same on the other leg again 3 x 10 front lunges.

Marching on the spot

Remember to breathe

Keeping your feet facing forward

Back straight and tummy in

Lift each knee to a 90 degree angle pointing your toe as you lift the knee as to march on the spot

Do for 10mins rest for 60 seconds then repeat another 10 mins twice so that you have done 30mins marching

Although these exercises are pretty simple, they are effective and will keep your energy levels up during the cooler season and keeps your legs and bottom firm for summer.

Adding a light weight whilst marching on the spot – this can be as simple as holding 2 x tins of food. Just make sure the tins are the same weight.

Whilst marching hold the weight / tin at your thigh facing your palm towards your body.

As you lift your knee slightly turn your opposite palm outwards and curl at the elbow – instant bicep curl.

Repeat with other arm remembering to keep your tummy in and alternate arms raising left leg with right arm then right leg with left arm.

This will keep those arms tight and singlet ready!

If your feeling a little more active you can try  skipping.

Skipping –

Providing you have high ceilings.

Get a skipping rope from your local toy store – most will still sell them or even buy approx. 2 meters of any type of rope from the hardware store – with the hardware store bought rope – tie a knot in each end to use as handles – this will help steady the grip.

Skipping takes me back to the school yard at lunch times playing with my friends. Skipping is high intensity and you will see results in your fitness and energy levels.

You can do any of the above exercises in the comfort of your baggy clothes and in front if your movie / TV…

Just remember moving burns calories – assisted weight will burn more calories – DO NOT PUSH YOURSELF THOUGH – IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY PAIN OR DISCOMFORT STOP STRAIGHT AWAY AND CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.

Keeping summer ready all year round is easy. Give it a try.

More exercise tips can be found at the below link. Shape magazine is awesome for easy effective workouts that are far from boring!

http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/eyes-thighs-5-moves-sexy-stems

thigh-exercises-700x700