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Mysterious mummy superpowers (and some cute widdle salmon cakes)

I’ve managed to convince my kids that I have x-ray vision.

My superpower was revealed last weekend during a session of “guess what colour undies I’m wearing”. To the utter astonishment of my children I was able to correctly guess what colour undies they were both wearing AND my own AND daddy’s, too.

“How’d you do that?!” they wanted to know.

“I have x-ray vision.”

“No really! How’d you do that?!”

“I REALLY have x-ray vision.”

Nodding, they looked at me in awe, oblivious to the fact that as chief buyer, washerer and folderer of all the smalls at VSHQ I had a distinct advantage in the game and I’d simply just guessed the most common colour from their clothes pile.

It was luck that I was right every single time. But my status as the ‘undie-whisperer’ was cemented, and I’m now known for my mysterious super-powers – a fact which I’ll be sure to remind them off during their teenage years when they think I can’t see that packet of ciggies stashed in the bottom of their school bag.

Test out your superpowers by telling your kids to eat these mini salmon cakes, then you’ll practice your x-ray powers by looking into their tummies to count the number in there.

And I can see what vegies are in here, too, but the kids can't.

And I can see what vegies are in here, too, but the kids can’t.

Itsy widdle salmon cakes

2 large potatoes
1 cup cauliflower florets
180g can salmon in springwater, drained
2 spring onions, very finely sliced
Handful of green beans, very finely sliced (or pulsed in a mini food processor)
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Squeeze lemon juice, to taste (I like a big squeeze)
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
Salt & pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs (or blitz up a few slices of stale bread and leave it out to get even more stale for a couple of hours)
Spray oil

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

Cook your potatoes. It’s up to you whether you bake them, steam them or be terribly unfashionable like me and just microwave them until the insides are a mashing consistency.

Cook your cauliflower. Same as above. You want it 90% cooked, still firm enough to dice finely, so that it will disappear into the potato.

Add your cooked potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork and mix in the cauliflower and all of the other ingredients (except the breadcrumbs). Season and combine really well.

Roll bite-sized balls of mixture, coat in breadcrumbs and place on your tray. Spray with oil spray and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully turn the balls over, spray with extra oil and cook for a further 10 minutes until golden.

Serve as is or with a dollop of mayonaise and salad.

Serves 2 adults & 2 small kids, along with salad.

new-book-on-sale

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5 vegie-smuggling tips for parents (and a new cookbook has arrived!)

Wow! My first magazine cover!

Wow! My first magazine cover!

Since I live in Vegie Smugglers-land all the time, I forget that some folks are new to me and my blog. The ambiguous name of this website seems to cause a bit of confusion amongst visitors, so with a surge of new readers stopping by it seems like a good time to explain myself a little.

In the interest of unbiased journalism, I’ll interview myself, in the third person. That won’t be weird, will it?…

[Fake journalist] Hi Wendy, I’ve been a big fan for a while now, but I’m keen to chat and find out more about this website. And by the way, your hair is looking GREAT today.

[Me… slight uncomfortable titter] Oh well thanks FJ! Where shall we start?

[FJ] Why did you start Vegie Smugglers?

[Me] Back in the late 2000s I was in all sorts of hell, trying to get my fussy kids to eat fresh vegies. Each night was a tense standoff and usually I was the loser who finished dinner by scraping thrown food off the floor and into the bin. One night I stopped and decided, ‘THIS IS ENOUGH.’ I was determined to find the right recipes that could help me reclaim dinnertime as a happy family time. And as a massive lover of food and cooking, I wasn’t going to let two toddlers dictate the menu.

[FJ] So you created a range of recipes that contained hidden vegetables?

[Me] My major concern at the time was to get some nutrition into my kids. Both were irritable and constantly sick. I was sure that their limited diets were not helping matters. Since neither would eat reliably, I was determined that each spoonful of a meal should be packed full of nutrients so that the few bites they would eat were beneficial. It took a while, but I came up with a range of recipes that did the trick.

[FJ] Then you have no ethical problems with hiding vegies and lying to your children about their dinner?

[Me] No. None. Their health was more important to me than the truth. To break the cycle I was happy to be as sneaky as need be. All cooking is manipulating ingredients to get a delicious result. When I eat in a restaurant I’m not bothered if I don’t know all the ingredients so long as the meal tastes good.

As soon as I had my kids eating a wider range of foods, I relaxed. It triggered a whole domino effect of positivity. They ate better. Their health was better. Their behaviour and sleep patterns were better. My sanity returned and once the immediate food issues subsided I was able to move them onto phase 2, which was teaching them about the joys of healthy eating.

[FJ] And how do you do that?

[Me] Well, obviously hiding vegies is a short term solution. The aim is to transition kids from baby to adult food and this is a long and exciting journey that is totally guided by the parents.

[FJ] In what way?

[Me] Parents are the food leaders in the household so it’s up to them to continue challenging their kids try new foods and accept new flavours. They can do this by learning to cook new recipes, including the kids when buying vegies, getting them to help cook, teaching them basic nutrition and growing food in the garden. It all creates a positive and fun food environment.

[FJ] So what makes a perfect Vegie Smugglers recipe?

[Me] Firstly it must be something that everyone can eat. Possibly you can make alterations for the militant toddler, or add extra ingredients to make it more ‘adult’ once the kids are served. But everyone needs to be eating the same dish. For two reasons really, firstly, in this busy world, no one has the time to cook multiple meals and secondly, there’s no better example for kids than seeing their parents tucking into the same dinner.

Generally a Vegie Smugglers recipe needs to have easily available ingredients and be simple to make. Not all parents are keen cooks, but that’s no impediment to eating well. Rarely does a VS recipe have two stages. Some are quicker to make than others, many can be prepared ahead on a less busy day. Many freeze well and all are full of healthy ingredients.

[FJ] I’ve heard criticism that you don’t actually hide vegies in many dishes.

[Me] This is true. As I said, once the immediate nutrition concerns are being taken care of, it’s time to progress the kids onto the next stage. So you might start grating every carrot, or blitzing it up, but slowly over time you need to move to dicing things finely, then in larger chunks, until they’re accepting adult-style meals. This can take ages, and some vegies might need to be hidden for years longer – at our house we still smuggle zucchini and mushrooms – each household can prepare ingredients to suit their situation. The recipes on the blog and in the cookbooks reflect this journey and are as flexible as possible. All contain vegies, but the amount they’re ‘smuggled’ ranges from totally, to not at all.

[FJ] What are five quick vegie smuggling tips for parents?

[Me] 1. Start by chopping ingredients finely and combine them into dinners that smell and taste great. When kids can’t see and identify ingredients, they’re less likely to pick them out and complain.

2. Use lure ingredients. Like croutons submerged in a soup or pasta smothered in vegetable sauce. The kids will go for the thing they like and taste the meal on the way. Hopefully to discover that it’s worth tucking into.

3. Be realistic
about your child’s current stage of development and how it may be affecting their appetite. Toddlers eat less because they’re busy doing other things and food just isn’t interesting every day at set times.

4. Give yourself the best chance for success.
If your kids hate green stuff, don’t serve them pesto pasta. Start with a red capsicum sauce or creamy chicken. If they like bread, serve them pancakes, or if they like meat, pack meatballs full of good stuff.

5. Relax. I know it’s incredibly hard to do this, but remember that this is another phase, that if handled well, will pass. Keep a variety of healthy foods on offer, don’t succumb to their demands. Stay in charge of the menu and cook meals that you’ll enjoy even if they reject them.

[FJ] So your kids eat well now?

[Me] Miss F is almost 10 and is still naturally fussy. She dislikes most spice but has come to trust that I always cook things she should enjoy. She will eat every meal on the blog. Some she loves, some she’d rather do without, but she understands that our family food culture doesn’t revolve around her whims. Nutrition-packed dinners are still a priority since she is a light eater. If it was up to her, she would still exist on cheese, fruit and pasta. Luckily I didn’t give in, or I’d be dealing with a fussy 9 year old with malnutrition issues.

Mr M&P was more regular and has grown out of his fussy eating stage beautifully. He is now 7 and tackles everything.

Both have a full understanding of food, where it comes from, how it’s cooked and the role it plays in our family traditions. Neither currently have food, weight or nutrition issues. Both are thriving and I’m not talking myself up too much when I say that my determination has played a major role. When I see them tucking into sophisticated meals, I’m so thrilled and am totally convinced that vegie smuggling has been worth every single bit of effort. For me, food is the crucial building block that contributes to all other aspects of child development.

[FJ] And finally, do you avoid sugar or gluten or use organic produce only? And why is this blog called ‘Vegie Smugglers’ when you cook with meat?

[Me] I use vegies in everything, but am not vegetarian. This site is about encouraging a love of fresh produce in kids (and adults). Variety is my main mantra, so some recipes are vegetarian and some use meat. Many might rely on a touch of sweetness to make them kid-friendly since toddlers’ taste-buds strongly prefer this. If a teaspoon of sugar helps a whole heap of vegies get gobbled, then I’m all for it. You can ween them off it as they get older. Some recipes are gluten-free, some are dairy-free. On a blog this size, I can’t cater for everyone, all the time. I encourage people to join in on the recipes that suit their dietary regime. Organic produce is always a great idea, but I understand that not everyone can manage this.

[FJ - stretching out his long, muscular legs] Well thanks Wendy, I’ve enjoyed our chat and have enjoyed getting to know more about the ideas behind your blog. Are you free for a drink? I believe you don’t mind a wine or two?

[Me - shyly smiling, whilst flicking my super long and lustrous Swedish-blonde hair] I’ll have to say no FJ, but I’m flattered, you’re a very attractive man. Luckily I’ve got a lovely husband who’s asked me to sit and watch ‘Escape to the Country’ tonight. So I best dash off to meet him.

[FJ] No problem. And gosh, you’re obviously a great parent. Your kids haven’t interrupted our conversation even once!

[Me - smiling graciously] Well thanks! And after you leave, I’ll even let them out from under the stairs…. now… where did I leave that key?

The new cookbook is in the shop now!

The new cookbook is in the shop now!

Vegie Smugglers’ Kitchen Collection has arrived! Packed full of 125 recipes that cover…

- basics like poaching chicken and stewing fruit
– lunchbox bakes & ideas
– everyday dinners
– meals suitable for slow cookers, pressure cookers or conventional ovens
– easy ways to feed a crowd and how to cater for entire families
– special celebration recipes for birthdays, Easter, Christmas and school fetes
– four weeks of visual meal plans

Many of the recipes are freezer friendly, many are allergy friendly. I’ve deliberately kept a wide mix of ingredients and methods so that there’s something for everyone. Download samples and a full recipe index here. Check it out in the shop.

rainbow

Thanks for stopping by today. I’m proud to be an Australian independent publisher. As with most ‘mumpreneur’ businesses, I survive on tiny budgets and rely heavily on word of mouth to promote my products. I hugely appreciate all of your kind words and social media mentions.

To say thanks for reading through this whole post, I am offering you a special ‘catch up’ deal on my new book and a few other products! Click here to check it out….

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I’m giving away an advance copy of my new cookbook!

Over the past few months you may have thought I’ve slacked off, what with my posts appearing less frequently. Don’t be fooled though, no! I’ve been busy, first putting together my Thermomix e-book (you can link to it here) and in my spare time I’ve whipped up another hardcopy, hold-it-in-your-hands cookbook.

The amount of work that goes into my books is quite overwhelming. Initially I planned on launching it for last Christmas, then it was the new school year, then it was Easter… you get the idea. But the delays were all me taking my time and ensuring that I was producing something AMAZING. So many cookbooks in the shops are a bit… well… dull, and I was keen to give you something gorgeous AND hugely helpful. Finally after months of design, edits, production (blah!) and more production (blah! blah!), these pretty as punch advance copies arrived on my doorstep.

I was so happy that possibly I squealed (very not me) and hand-clapped a little. If I don’t say so myself, I’ve done a bloody good job!

Ohh! It's called "Kitchen Collection"

Ohh! It’s called “Kitchen Collection”

There's a section on basics, then a chapter for snacks and lunchbox items...

There’s a section on basics, then a chapter for snacks and lunchbox items…

Then it's the serious business of DINNER, since that happens tediously often...

Then it’s the serious business of DINNER, since that happens tediously often…

I've converted a bunch of recipes so that there's oven, slow cooker or pressure cooker instructions...

I’ve converted a bunch of recipes so that there’s oven, slow cooker or pressure cooker instructions…

Next chapter is full of ways to feed friends and family....

Next chapter is full of ways to feed friends and family….

And I finish off with celebrations with recipes for all kinds of dietary needs.

And I finish off with celebrations with recipes for all kinds of dietary needs.

And there you have it – a nice little sneak peak of my new 160page, 125 recipe tome. I’ll have the bulk of the books in another month or so – at this stage I have just THREE COPIES and one of them could be yours.

To win, you must be a Vegie Smugglers subscriber (PS, I do check- last comp a few people missed out on prizes because they weren’t) and you must have a postal address in Australia.

I’d love for it to go to someone who will really enjoy it as much as me. So to enter, please comment below on which Vegie Smugglers recipes are currently a hit in your house, or tell me about your fussy kids and how my recipes have helped you. There’s no need to crawl or kiss my butt – just honest truths about the success you’ve had with my recipes. So often I feel that I work in a vacuum – it’ll be nice to get the warm and fuzzies and feel that the effort I put in is making a difference somewhere.

Entries close Friday May 16 at 8pm, AEST, which also happens to be Food Revolution Day. Nice timing!
THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED – IT WAS FANTASTIC TO HEAR ALL OF YOUR FEEDBACK. THE LUCKY WINNER IS AMANDA SULLIVAN!

And of course, you can buy my other books here.

Comments (270) »

Rude words and a giveaway from some awesome ladies

Mr M&P is worried. He came to me the other day with a brow fully crinkled.

“Mum”. He was obviously nervous about what he had to say. “Mum, do you know that you’ve got a cookbook with a rude word on it?”

“Really?” said I, unsure about where this was all going.

“Yes”. He dropped his voice to a whisper. “It’s called ‘Cut out the c-word’.” His eyes were wide as he conveyed this tidbit.

I tried not to smile, but couldn’t help it. He’d just seen a copy of ‘Cut out the Crap, which is Collette White’s wonderful series of cookbooks which have been following me around the house recently. Collette’s recipes take healthy eating a step further than mine. While I focus on variety and fresh produce, she is creating delicious gluten, dairy & preservative free recipes.

Collette and I have met via social media and it’s connections like this that dispel any worries I have about whether or not so much connectivity is a good thing. There’s a bunch of us ladies online who gather (admittedly, a bit away from public view) and workshop issues we have around hosting pages, running online businesses and wider life and health issues. I adore them all and every now and again I’m going to mention a few and encourage you to visit them. If you’re interested in health/wholefoods & alternative type things then go and check out some of their pages. Visit Collette at Cut out the Crap, Sonia at Natural New Age Mum, Alisha at Naughty Naturopath Mum, Kristin at Mamacino, Kelly Burch, Brenda Janschek, Jo at Quirky Cooking, Iwa at Additive Free Bites, Rebecca at 4myearth and Bek at Cooking with Bek. They’ll keep you entertained and inspired for a while!

I’ve got a giveaway too – a collection of fantastic things from some enterprising Australian women. There’s a copy of Collette’s Cut out the Crap for Kids. Some 4myearth products (including the fantastic bread bag), and Safety Food peelers and knives from the fabulous Jackie. I’ll chuck in a copy of Vegie Smugglers 1, as well.

Win all this!

Win all this!

Enter by liking up Collette’s page, Rebecca’s page and Jackie’s page. Then comment below, paying tribute to a local business you love. Or even promote your own venture. Competition is for Australian Vegie Smuggler subscribers only. Enter before 9pm Thursday March 6, 2014. Thanks everyone – this competition is now over – our lucky winner is Kristy who told us about Splatter Gallery in West Wyalong. Congrats Kristy!

Go you good things!

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Fours ways to keep your family thriving

I avoid self-promotion, but in the interest of 'getting to know you', here's a pic of me and the kids....

I avoid self-promotion, but in the interest of ‘getting to know you’, here’s a pic of me and the kids….

Despite the fact that I’m focused on improving the health of your family, I try really hard to not be a preachy blog that dictates how you should and shouldn’t live your life. It’s your life after all, right?

And I try to keep this more as a place where I write a bit, cook a bit and share bits of my life that you might find funny, interesting and/or helpful. There are enough fanatics on the internet, after all. Even with my strong interest in nutrition I get weighed down by the online doom and the people ready to hate on me if I admit that I use flour or sugar or nuts or meat or dairy or soy or salicytes or additives or anything that was grown further than a kilometre away.

While I am all admiration for anyone who commits so thoroughly to a cause, I don’t find it achievable in my own life. I have a job. I am the primary carer for my kids. I’m involved at school. I’ve got washing to do, activities to ferry people to and I’ve also got a pretty good little publishing business that takes up a bit of my time. And I’ve got a chain supermarket about 30 seconds from my house. So realistically, that’s where I shop.

However, I do find that there are several simple eating guidelines that I impose in my household that seem to be pretty successful. And since it’s the first post of the year, I thought I’d break my ‘no preaching’ rule and share them with you – maybe there’s an idea here that you might want to work on this year. Here goes…..

FOUR WAYS TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY THRIVING

1. No sugared drinks
The growing ‘sugar is poison’ movement is pretty compelling. There’s a great lecture here that while long, will be enough to have you checking labels and reducing the amount of sucrose/fructose/corn syrup that you consume. One simple message is that children should never be drinking soft drink, flavoured milk or juice. And I agree.

But I’m a pragmatist, and don’t want my kids to crave something that’s forbidden (also they’re skinny little things), so when we’re out to dinner or at parties, they have a lemonade. And that’s fine.

2. Eat more fibre
It’s good for you and adds flavour and texture to meals. It helps you feel full and helps your body cope with the sugars that you do consume. Strangely, most people don’t eat nearly enough. Increase your intake by choosing high fibre versions of things. Add bran into your baking. Pop a can of beans into your dinner. Learn all about fibre here.

3. Plan your meals
It’s the key to feeding a busy family well. If you have all the ingredients at hand, you’re much more likely to cook. If you plan out your dinners then you can shop for exactly what you need (which also saves you money). Don’t like doing it? I’ve got a meal plan for you here, complete with a shopping list. And if you like it, you might want to buy my Meal Plan e-book, which has 6 weeks of dinners all sorted out for you. There’s an ipad version for just $4.95.

4. Cook
Buy core ingredients and cook rather than just following reheating instructions on a packet. You’ll find that it doesn’t take much more time, particularly if you have equipment to help you. A mini-food processor is the best $80 you’ll ever spend.

Need inspiration? Cruise through some pages of this blog. There are over 200 recipes to keep you cooking. Want some quick recipe suggestions? Try this okonomiyaki, this vegie bologonaise or these salmon pikelets. Or these mini-meatloaves. In fact most of my recipes are pretty simple since I’m as busy as you.

And that’s it. Preaching over. It’s unusual for me to be this serious, so I’m feeling like I need to apologise – I promise I’ll be funnier next time.

I hope you stick with me this year – there are some exciting things afoot – a new hardcopy book coming out in the Autumn and there’s the thermomix e-book just days away. Subscribe to keep in touch and to receive my new recipes straight to your inbox.

Happy 2014 – may it be a fantastic year for your entire family!
xx

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What are you cooking this Christmas?

Gloriously home made good cheer.

Gloriously home made good cheer.

How are your kids faring in the lead up to Christmas? Mine are nearly jumping out of their skins with excitement. Me? Not so much. For the grown ups, it’s a bit more stressful, don’t you think? So much to do! So much to remember!

To negotiate it all with the minimum of fuss, I resort to LISTS. And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m a chronic planner. Long ago I learned that my brain is unreliable, so don’t be surprised to walk into my kitchen and find I’ve got a running sheet for Christmas day, which starts at the time we want to eat and works backwards all the way to what time I need to preheat the oven. Sure, it’s a bit uptight, but for me it means that I don’t have to think, just do, which I find easier after an early afternoon glass of bubbles!

My menu for Christmas day is nearly set. Is yours? I’ll love to see your recipe links and ideas. Shall we do a bit of recipe sharing? You all pop yours in the comments below and here’s what I’m cooking this year…

Christmas Eve – I get off lightly, just turning up to my side of the family with a green salad and the traditional pudding, which is already in the fridge, ready to go.

This year, the other side of the family is coming to our house for Christmas day. There are only 9 of us, so I can do the traditional lunch without too much trouble. I’ll serve a starter platter of good crackers with smoked salmon, capers, chives, and lemons. Freeform sounds good to me – everyone can compile their own morsels. (If you like these flavours, and want a more formal starter, check out this smoked salmon & cheese tart recipe – it’s REALLY good).

For main, it’s a roast turkey. I’m going to use this recipe from Taste. I tested the stuffing on a roast chook last weekend and it was delicious (I used sourdough breadcrumbs). On the side I’m thinking that this green salad with mango looks good and some hassle back potatoes.

For dessert, I’ll crumble meringues into parfait glasses, along with chunks of Christmas cake, ice cream and some poached cherries (I’ll cook them in a sugar syrup with vanilla & cinnamon).

To nibble afterwards? Well, it’s gotta be rumballs. My gorgeous granny used to make them and as soon as I pop one into my mouth I’m bombarded with happy memories of childhood and love.

A cuddle in a recipe.

A cuddle in a recipe.

Rumballs

1 packet plain biscuits (I like Milk Arrowroot)
395 g can condensed milk
1 cup desiccated coconut, plus ½ cup extra, for rolling
3 tbsp good-quality cocoa powder
3 tbsp rum

Line a plastic container with baking paper. Tear some extra sheets so that you can store layers of the balls easily.

Place the biscuits in a large plastic bag and use a rolling pin or your fist to smash them up into crumbs. Tip into a large mixing bowl.

Add the condensed milk, coconut, cocoa and rum. Stir to combine. Use your hands to roll bite-sized balls. Toss in the extra coconut and place in your container. Seal and refrigerate for 2 hours.

MAKES ABOUT 60

ps….**CHRISTMAS DELIVERIES**

Wanting to buy Vegie Smugglers cookbooks as gifts? Make sure you place orders within the next couple of days – especially if you’re far flung. Of course e-books can be bought anytime – you’ll be sent an automated download link at the time of your purchase.

pps… **I’M ON HOLIDAY!**

After nearly 4 years of regular blogging, I need a break. The shop is still open and I’ll still be checking Facebook & emails, but to replenish my creative juices I’m taking a few weeks off (in the background I’ll be finishing off my new cookbook and Thermomix e-book).

Thanks to all of my regular readers – I hugely appreciate your ongoing support of this blog and my business! So have a wonderful Christmas, happy New Year and I’ll see you at some stage in January. xxx

Comments (16) »

Ho ho flipping ho!

I am horrified to report that Christmas is just over 5 weeks away. How the year turned into a high speed adventure, I’m not sure. Somehow since August, the year has compressed and now I’m dreading an impending crash. Because I’ve not done any preparations yet. Have you?

The kids did pop together their Santa list over the weekend. I like to lock that sucker down nice and early. But scanning through I’ve noticed that even the cheapest items will leave poor Santa with empty pockets until mid-March.

Fret not, though. With your mind full of to-do lists, I’ll sort out your immediate concerns. All these meals can be made ahead and stored in the fridge, ready to munch on when you get home late from the ballet concert, or ready to scoff before you head out for Christmas carols…

Chicken pies.

Chicken pies – reheat in the oven.

pasta salad

Tuna pasta salad – eat cold.

vegie smugglers frittata recipe

Mini frittatas – eat warm or cold.

And my present to you this Christmas? Until December 2, I’m offering an earlybird Christmas special. Buy a cookbook bundle (that’s 320 glorious colour pages, full of 120+ Vegie Smugglers recipes) and you’ll receive the Lunchbox Planner e-book (worth $14.95) for free.

So for $59.95 you get the two books delivered to your door and the ebook is ready to download. And just quietly, I won’t tell if you decide to gift on the cookbooks but keep the ebook for yourself. We all deserve a little something at this time of year.

xmas-deal

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What kind of a woman are you? And what kind of woman will your daughter be?

Can you guess what my favourite TV show is at the moment? Possibly you might think that it’s Jamie, what with all of his new budget recipes. And I am a massive fan of his so it might surprise you when I say that I’ve not caught even one episode of his new series.

Well then, is it Adam Liaw trawling around Japan and presenting some of the best-ever looking sashimi on TV? Nope, not Adam (although I am religiously watching him on Thursday nights).

Actually it’s not a food show at all. No, it’s a show that can teach me MUCH MORE ABOUT LIFE. And that show is, of course, The Bachelor Australia.

I can’t get enough of it.

Being a simple girl, free of hair extensions and matching mani/pedis, I’m finding that I have SO MUCH TO LEARN. Like how to apply so much makeup that I look homogenously like every other girl. How to make high heels look ‘right’ when I’m visiting sand dunes. How to wear hotpants with confidence. How to appear charming at not-at-all-awkward cocktail parties where there’s just me and 20 other girls who all hate my guts. And how to attract the attentions of a not-at-all-boring fella, who I imagine is being paid a lot of money in order to nod with compassion and state, straight-to-camera, “this is all obviously really intense for the girls, all wanting to get my attention.”

In the same week, I watched Anne Summers chat with Julia Gillard. As a staunch supporter of women’s rights, I lapped it up. Evidently Julia didn’t do such a great job as PM, but I thought it was just a little bit awesome that after such a tumultuous time, she finally got to be in a room full of adoring women who wanted to say THANK YOU, for being the first female prime minister. And THANK YOU for enduring the personal slander that poured over you in the guise of legitimate political criticism. THANK YOU Jules, for paving the way.

I suppose we’ve hit true female liberation – this is a time when girls can grow up and choose where they belong on this vast range of femininity. But part of me can’t help but worry that the women choosing to perpetuate the stereotypes and inhabit the decorative part of the scale aren’t just making life a little bit harder for those who are trying to prove that a woman is worth more than just her looks.

And while I try to remain open-minded, I have to admit that I already know at which end of the woman-scale that I hope my daughter chooses to place herself. What about you?

From Vegie Smugglers 1. Have you bought a copy yet?

From Vegie Smugglers 1. Have you bought a copy yet?

Liberated ‘chick’pea & corn fritters

²/³ cup self-raising flour
1 egg
²/³ cup milk
315g can corn
kernels, drained
1 medium carrot, peeled,
grated
400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, mashed a little
4 spring onions,
finely chopped
Handful of basil and parsley leaves, finely chopped
Black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Salad and lemon wedges, to serve

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the combined egg and milk, whisking as you go to avoid lumps.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the batter and mix until evenly combined.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the canola oil and ensure it is nice and hot before adding ¼ cup amounts of batter to the pan.

Cook for 3 minutes then flip over and cook on the other side for a further 3-4 minutes until nice and golden. Repeat with remaining batter.

Drain on kitchen paper.

Serve warm with salad and lemon wedges.

MAKES 10

Comments (10) »

Am I being firm or unkind?

Don't ask why, but THIS is the 'cool' cap, he's so desperate for.

Don’t ask why, but THIS is the ‘cool’ cap, he’s so desperate for.

Drama at school this morning as Mr M&P arrived for mufti day only to realise that unlike the rest of the boys in his class, he had forgotten to wear a cool cap and instead was sentenced to an embarrassing day with only his daggy green wide-brimmed hat to protect him from the harsh Australian sun.

Trying to instill the idea that he needs to be responsible for his own items for school has been an ongoing battle – readers, library books, notes etc are ignored and forgotten with such tedious regularity that I really felt that I had to hold my ground, even though he had worked himself up into quite a tizz.

He wanted me to go home and return with his cool cap. I told him that he’d have to wear his regular school hat, instead. The conversation deteriorated to this point…

Him: “But muuummmmmmmmyyyyy, if you loved me, you go and get my cap.”
Me: “If I really loved you, I let you learn the lesson that you need to be in charge of all your own things.”
Him: “But I haven’t learned that lesson yet.”
Me: “Yes, you’re learning it right now.”
Him: “But I’ll look stupid.”
Me: “No, you always look handsome and I always love you.”

Bell rings, saving me.

He sucked it up and joined the line with all the little boys wearing the coolest assortment of caps known to man.

I’ve got to go out again soon, and I’m thinking that I might just go via school and pop his cap into his bag, ready to surprise him at lunchtime. Is it the right thing to do? Or am I a sucker?

_______________

Now apologies – there’s no recipe this week. I’m desperately trying to finish off my new cookbook instead. I promise you a chocolately, awesome treat next time, which definitely is worth the wait.

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Cake stall SOS

Do you think the best part of election day is the food? Of course I would, what with me being both a pig and a glutton – nothing thrills me more than a display of home-made baked things or a sizzling BBQ with the waft of bacon.

If you’re lucky enough to be voting in a church hall, then you might just get a home-made jar of jam or lemon butter along with your piece of democracy. Most of us will trundle along to our local primary school where nabbing a bacon & egg roll or sausage in a bread will mean our hands are full enough that we can happily refuse the ‘how to vote’ pamphlets. Then after casting your vote, come out and buy up big at the cake stall. For the school, it’s one of the best fundraisers of the year.

No doubt if you have school-aged kids then have had the note home requesting that you whip something up for sale. Life being the busy thing it is though, you probably don’t have time to help out… or do you? YOU DO! I’ve got your back sisters – these cake stall donations are all simple, quick AND delicious. Click the pics to go through to the recipes…

sally-wise-chocolate-cupcakes

The easiest cupcakes ever.

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

Microwave marmalade.

Microwave marmalade.

...awwwwww, transported straight to Queensland.

Pineapple cakes.

May the best man win….

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