Monday, 29 September 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

Term three school holidays have arrived....ahhh. A time for routine and structure to stop. Sleep ins, staying in pjs till midday, adventures, the royal show time, trips to the city. Two weeks of no homework or school lunches. Fantastic. School holidays also mean the kids and I bake stuff they can't normally eat at school, like peanut butter cookies. And peanut butter sandwiches on fresh baked bread. And just nuts in general. I think it's fantastic that our school is a nut free zone, but I do like to make healthy nutty treats for the kids.

Mind you, these cookies are a little more indulgent than healthy. It is the holidays after all...

Peanut Butter Cookies

125 grams of softend butter
250 grams of crunchy peanut butter
200 grams firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted peanuts roughly chopped

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy. Then add the brown sugar and beat until pale. Add the egg and beat until well combined.

Next, grab a wooden spoon and mix in the dry ingredients and chopped peanuts. Lightly flour your hands and roll tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough. Place on the baking trays, about 4cm apart. Flatten each ball to about 5cm diameter and 1cm thick. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes, bandstand on tray for 5 minutes before devouring with a cup of coffee.

Nic Nurtures

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Breathe Deep

It's one of those mornings. It's raining, the traffic is heavy making you feel late for the school run. The baby is crying - she just wants to go to sleep. The moon is full and the kids are behaving like lunatics. One child hits another. Game on. You feel your shoulders tighten. Hands grip the steering wheel a little firmer. It feels like it takes you hours to get out of the car and across the road to school, all the while it is raining and those kids just won't let up. You just want to SCREAM!!!

Sound familiar?

We've all been there. This used to be me. Especially if I had worked late the night before. The unrelenting stress of being a parent. It doesn't go away. But the way in which you react to the stressors determines the way you cope.

My solution? Breathe. 5 deep full breaths. In and out. In through the nose, and out through the mouth with an audible "haaa" sound. It works wonders. You can even get the kids in on it too. Ask them to pretend that you are all trying to blow up the biggest balloon in the world. They will have a giggle at seeing you doing something so silly in the midst of their squabbling. Seeing you taking full deep breaths and blowing out with full puffed cheeks will get everyone laughing. 

And we all know that laughter is the best medicine.

By demonstrating positive coping skills during stressful times, we are teaching our children valuable tools, that they too will mimick later on.

Having a new baby in the house with two school kids certainly poses many a stressful situation at times. Fortunately, my two big kids are old enough to lend a helping hand and from my breastfeeding chair I can feed the baby and direct the flow of the morning or afternoon. Sure, I still feel stressed from time to time, or overwhelmed...usually by the amount of laundry...first world problems. 

How do you cope with parental stress?

Nic Nurtures

Monday, 22 September 2014

Fridge Porridge

Pease porridge hot. 
Pease porridge cold. 
Pease porridge in the pot nine days old. 

Some like it hot.
Some like it cold.
Some like it in the pot nine days old.

This week I am loving eating my porridge cold! Thats right, cold! Also known as refrigerator oats, this breakfast is super quick to make, healthy and ready to go first thing in the morning, so it is perfect for a busy breastfeeding mum who also has to get two big kids off to school.

Fridge Porridge

1.5 cups of oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp LSA
1.5 cups Greek yoghurt
1 cup milk of your choice

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until well combined. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning you will have a beautifully creamy, healthy and delicious breakfast. This amount makes 3 - 4 serves. Add your own toppings. Today I used blueberries, chopped almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup. Honey and banana works well, as does tinned cherries. Enjoy!

Nic Nurtures x

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Best Banana Bread

I've tasted and baked many loaves of banana breads over the years. This particular recipe is a trending favourite in our house right now, in fact, I had it for breakfast this morning with my coffee! And you can throw it together in about 5 minutes.

Best Banana Bread

2 cups wholemeal SR flour (substitute for GF if need be)
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
100g melted butter
1/2 cup of milk (I use almond milk)
3 over ripe bananas mashed
1 cup dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 170 degrees and prepare loaf pan. Melt butter and allow to cool. 
Sift flours and bicarb, stir in sugar. Whisk eggs, vanilla and milk together, then add to dry ingredients with butter and banana. Stir until just combined and fold through chic chips. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. 

It's that easy.

Nic Nurtures x

Monday, 15 September 2014

Weekend Stills

1. Show your colours. The strip down the middle of down town Fremantle.
2. Green smoothie, flat white, the start to any good Saturday.
3. Love this place - Ootong and Linton, South Fremantle. 
4. Spring magic down at the Youth Plaza at the Esplanade. 
5. Round 2 coffees, courtesy of awesome Barista Tom of Studio 37.
6. Go Freo! Dockers love everywhere.
7. Freo heave ho!
8. South Fremantle - Turbo getting into Parkour, flipping and climbing all over town. 

A glorious weekend had in Fremantle, our old stomping ground, fueled with food, coffee, football and fun. Sometimes it's nice to get out of town.

Linking up to twins plus one
Nic Nurtures x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Taking Stock

Making : a fairy garden with Turbo
Cooking : dhal in bulk for lunches and easy dinners with rice and raita and chapati
Drinking : kpl - kale, pear and lemon juice
Reading: sbs feast magazine
Wanting: a housekeeper like Alice from the Brady Bunch
Looking: at Pinterest for my doll house renovation
Playing: catch up on the laundry now that the sun is shining
Deciding: whether to keep my business or sell it
Wishing: family lived nearer
Enjoying: reruns of Offspring at 2pm - the perfect do nothing for an hour before the kids get home from school
Waiting: for my new Imac to arrive
Liking: the warmer weather
Wondering: where does the 6 hours go in a school day
Loving: quiet time with Baby P
Pondering: should I cut my hair pixie short
Considering: increasing my credit card limit - I just keep finding things i want to buy
Watching: the wildflowers coming out at the start of Spring 
Hoping: to meet up with my good girlfriend in Freo on the weekend
Marvelling: at how much time flies when you have a new baby in the house
Needing: to clean out the fridge - so many mystery bowls and jars and leftovers
Smelling: lemon, lavender and peppermint essential oils in the oil burner
Wearing: green ballet flats and a 60's style hair tie head band
Following: Tinkerlab - love love love the creative craft inspiration
Noticing: the daisies are out
Knowing: this too shall pass
Thinking: what to make for dinner
Sorting: my wardrobe
Buying: a yellow chair for my computer desk
Getting: fed up with people who don't use manners
Disliking: Facebook for personal use. 
Opening:a new bag of Di Bella coffee beans
Giggling: with Turbo
Feeling: a bit tight and stiff through the shoulder, time for a massage I say!
Snacking: vegetable slice
Wishing: I could fly to Melbourne soon to meet my sister in laws new love
Helping: at the school Fun Run on Friday
Hearing: lots of birds chirping in the garden

I'm a bit late joining in on the 'taking stock' link from Meet me at Mikes for August, but I really liked the idea, so I'm taking stock right here, right now.

What are you taking stock of?
Nic Nurtures x

Friday, 5 September 2014

Perfect Pesto

I love Pesto. It is a staple in our family. It's an easy go to dinner when you can't be bothered to cook. I'll often steam some brocolli or shred some spinach and process that too. In summer, when there is an abundance of basil growing in the garden, I'll make large batches and put them in jars. A good layer of olive oil over the top will preserve the pesto for ages, making them the perfect gift for Christmas or a new mum.

Large Bunch of basil leaves
1/2 cup of pinenuts, lightly toasted
2 large garlic cloves
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 
Olive Oil, anywhere between 3/4 cup to 1 cup, depending on your tastes.

Place basil, garlic and pinenuts into processor and blend. Add parmesan cheese and process. Add lemon zest. While machine is still going, pour in olive oil to combine it all together, achieving your desired taste and texture. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper.

Five Ways With Pesto

1. Pesto Pasta, serve it with spaghetti or penne. Sneak in some more veggies like grated zucchini and finely shredded spinach, add bacon or prosciuto, sun dried tomatoes....yum!

2. Green Eggs, and Ham. Add a good dollop of Pesto to your scrambled eggs the nest time your have eggs and bacon for breakfast...delicious!

3. Lamb lollipops with Pesto. French lamb cutlets, grilled and served with a spreading of Pesto on the outside, mash potato and green beans, cherry tomatoes....mmmmm!

4. Pesto tart. Puff pastry with a thick spread of Pesto on the base and topped with tomatoes, feta, roast pumpkin and spinach leaves, bake in the oven....lovely light lunch!

5. Savoury cheese and pesto muffins. Add a tablespoon or two of Pesto to your favourite cheese muffin recipe.

Have fun on your Pesto Adventures!

Nic Nurtures x

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Project Doll House

Last weekend I had the first real moment of what it means to have a daughter. I purchased a Doll House on a whim. I saw the house for $10 and thought what a bargain as my mind flashed forward to four years and a chubby cheeked girl happily plays. The house is tall and solid with 'good bones' and in need of a major interior renovation. It will be years before Baby P will get to appreciate and play with her Doll House. But I don't gives me time to research and plan for Project Doll House.

The more I look and read and search the net, the more excited I become. Etsy, Made it, Blogs, Pinterest, Instagram...they are all filled with amazing tutorials and inspiration. you can follow my Doll House Renovation Pinterest board here.

For now, I'm off to the local hardware store to get me some paint swatches.

Nic Nurtures x

Monday, 1 September 2014

Sneaky vegetables

Sometimes I just love to be sneaky! Especially when it comes to vegetables! There is nothing more satisfying than sneaking vegetables into food, hiding it here and there.

This recipe is definitely one of those more pleasurable sneaky ones. It's a Chocolate Zucchini Cake from the Country Classics cookbook, by the CWA.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of cocoa
1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
1 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup choc bits

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a ring tin. Sift bicarb soda, flour, salt, cinnamon and cocoa together and set aside. Place butter, oil, sugar, orange rind and vanilla together and mix well. Add egg, then mix in zucchini until combined, add dry ingredients and milk. Pour into tin, sprinkle with choc bits and cook for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool and serve with cream or ice cream or on it's own. It is very moist and holds well in kid lunch boxes.

Nic Nurtures x