Really awesome things to do with leftover bread – Part 1

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*If you are not into grains or carbs, this post is not for you I’m afraid…

Mind you, we don’t eat a lot of bread here. Well, C does actually. He drives a truck for work and he needs food that can be managed easily so sandwiches or wraps tend to be a daily staple for him. J5 loves a toasted sanga, but while R2 will munch on some toast, he won’t eat sandwiches at all. I love bread, I just don’t think the love is mutual…
Anyway, we often end up with half a loaf of uneaten bread. I’m not one for wasting food, to me it’s just like throwing money in the bin, so I thought I’d share a series of posts about what we do with our left over or day old bread. This is part one…

TASTY TRIANGLES

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These are essentially little tarts made from bread and leftovers. You can fill them with anything – bolognaise, savoury mince, tuna mornay, casseroles, baked beans, bacon and eggs etc… This time, I used the rest of last night’s bacon, zucchini and tomato risotto. (made with brown rice though, not aborio)

Step 1
Cut a diagonal slit from the centre to one corner of a piece of bread.
Cut one crust off and fold the bread in to form a triangle cup.
Squish the bread together to seal and line a muffin tin with 12 pieces.

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Step 2
Fill triangle cups with leftovers.
*I drizzled a little olive oil over the empty bread baskets too but it’s not really necessary.

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Step 3
Top with grated cheese and bake @ 180 C for approx 30 minutes.

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Step 4
Such a perfect weekend lunch or quick midweek meal Enjoy 🙂

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Bread Posts Still To Come…

Part 2 – “Savouries”
Part 3 – “French toast, family style”

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The Most Surprising Moments

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Most surprising are those moments in mothering,
When you’ve done nothing but shout all day
and you’ve wished yourself far away,
To somewhere quiet, somewhere clean,
Somewhere where white linen is more than a silly idea.

When being a mother is swallowing you like a prescription pill,
and you’re breathless with quiet rage.
Frozen in the face of anxiety and expectation,
And guilt and judgement
And paperwork.

When the tedium of washing and cleaning
and questions and cooking and washing and feeding
and fighting,
is equal to the weight you now carry on your stay at home mum belly…
And everybody is asking you “what’s for dinner?”

There will be a sparkling little moment,
A tiny shiny jewel,
Worth far more than the ring that brought you here.
Perhaps more precious and bewildering
than even conception itself.

Your little boy with his enormous heart,
And eyes like your own,
will for no reason other
than the fact that you are his mother,
Say to his brother, “let’s go and pick mum some flowers!”

And his brother will say “yes, good idea!
But not too many.
Because flowers are nature
and without nature,
we can’t breathe.”

In those most surprising moments,
I’m so thankful I am here.
And I smile at my babies
Who noticed the pretty daisies
Long before their mother.

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Snow Day!

I realise for many of you, snow is nothing new. But for us here in central Victoria, Australia, it’s a real rarity.
Don’t get me wrong, it gets cold, really cold. Frost covered lawns, hail, rain and crazy winds. Even snow occasionally, but rarely does it fall so heavily and settle on the ground so thick.
Today was just magical for us. Our boys now 5 and almost 3, have never seen snow and I haven’t had many opportunities in my life either to have a snowball fight or build a snowman. Limbs and leaves clothed in sparkling white, it was truly a sight to behold.

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We live in a country-ish town at the foot of Mount Macedon and this afternoon we bundled the kids into the car in their warmest woollies and headed up the mountain. Snow began hitting the windscreen as we drove higher and was met with squeals of delight… By all of us!
Honestly, it was like driving into Narnia.

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A place where magic happens and memories are made.

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The kids were beside themselves when we jumped out of the car, running off to make tracks in the snow, noticing how it crunched beneath their boots.

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Television has obviously taught them about snow ball fights as they wasted no time getting stuck into that.

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And before long, C and I joined in too.

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J5 got busy rolling snowballs…

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While R2 went exploring…

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And of course, snowmen were constructed by cold, wet little hands.

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Big and small…

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It was the most fun we’ve had as a family in as long as I can remember.

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Sometimes as adults we forget how to just play

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Home for hot showers, hot cuppas and hot, salty fish n’ chips.
Perfection 🙂

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Toy Storage

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I was just having a read of Barbara’s blog over at the new good life and she was talking about de-cluttering and the never ending battle against kids toys taking over our living areas.
Thought I’d post a few pics of some of my storage solutions.
That unit pictured with the shelving and wire drawers is brilliant for toys. I originally purchased it for the laundry but found the drawers weren’t big enough to be very practical for sorting our mountains of washing. For toys however, it’s ideal. It tucks away neatly in a corner. I can categorise types of toys in each drawer eg: cars in one, musical instruments in another, action figures in a third, puzzles in the fourth. And because the baskets are wire and the shelves open, the kids can easily see what they’re looking for without tearing 5 million toys apart as they do when they are all in a toy box.
Lego is a whole new world for us since my son’s 5th birthday a few weeks ago so at the moment we are working from an upturned kids’ play table. It keeps it contained and I can easily move it from the floor to the dining room table depending on where the kids are playing but long term I’m working on a better solution. Stay tuned!
And of course, every little boy needs a weapons chest yes?? Sigh… I quickly came to the realisation that boys will turn anything they can get their hands on into a gun or a sword so I’d rather it be something made of plastic than – my curtain rods for example. Or my now ruined rolls of wrapping paper. Or their father’s guitar, an attachment for the pram, a hobby horse, a broom… You get the idea.

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The formula tins pictured contain sorted small toys like army men, smurfs, animals, marbles and other bits and pieces. The empty baby wipes box holds about 50,000 matchbox cars. The shelf of books is the spillover from another matching bookcase full of children’s books.
I’d like to say this is where their toys begin and end but there is still a big plastic bucket tucked under the coffee table and 3 tubs of craft supplies in a cupboard. Plus other things like board games hiding away in any nook and cranny I can find!
How do you store your kids toys? Are you winning the war?
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Morning Madness Made Over – Create an ACTION STATION!

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Tonight, the winter holidays and our family break comes to an end and we will be back to a frosty reality tomorrow morning. Hubby has had three weeks off work and being cold and wintery, we haven’t done a lot, but rather simply enjoyed spending time at home together. We celebrated our little one’s 5th birthday and caught up with my sisters’ family, down from Sydney for the school holidays and spent a weekend with C’s family. Other than that though, we’ve just relaxed and enjoyed slowing down a bit. The kids stuck to their father like glue which was in some ways a bit sad for me. My babies are now little boys learning how to be men and not very interested in hanging out with mum when dad’s around. (Especially as he was a bit of a novelty I suppose.) On the other hand, it was so lovely to get a break, sleeping in and spending some time on my own for a change.
Tomorrow morning however, the madness of getting the kids fed, dressed and out the door for an 8.30am kinder start, begins again.
In fact, term three starts for most kids tomorrow so I thought I would share my secret weapon: our “Action Station.” (Pictured above)
Each family member has a box on the top row for their bag, hat, and scarf and below it, a box for their shoes. My DIY key hooks mean never doing the mad key hunt and the silver bowl holds bits and pieces like phones, wallets and sunglasses. Having everything in one central spot is an easy way for me to pack everyones’ bags and lunches and the kids know exactly wear to find their boots and hats etc… To get themselves organized quickly.
The storage cubes were just cheap from Aldi, the frames for the keys were from target, and the hooks and wooden letters were from Bunnings.
I also lay the kids clothes out on the couch, make lunches the night before and put breakfast stuff out on the bench so everything is ready to go without requiring too much thinking.
And that’s how I make our mornings manageable, how about you? Would love to hear your tips and tricks!

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Spider-Man Cake And A House Full Of Five Year Olds

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My great big five year old celebrated his birthday last weekend and requested a spider man cake. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a convincing additive- free version but the Hoppers natural food colours that I bought from Healthy Angels were really vibrant and looked great. I added a little yellow to the red to brighten it and used an entire bottle of blue! Piping the dark chocolate for the spider web was tricky for a decorating novice as it set quickly making it quite unforgiving but I was pleased with the overall outcome. I used this simple chocolate cake recipe and bought the Spider-Man chocolate moulds off eBay. J5 loved it and it seemed to impress the 18 little boys and 2 little girls that filled our house wall to wall! They were so well behaved though – simple foods make a huge difference – sausages, plain chips, fairy bread with real butter and natural sprinkles, yummy earth natural lollipops, honey joys etc…
There was no shortage of sugar but a noticeable absence of artificial foods, rashes and emotional melt downs!
The kids engaged in some fun party activities – decorating their own superhero masks, (I bought plain cardboard ones from a local cheap shop) playing “pin the Spider-Man on the web,” and of course, pass the parcel. The weather was cold, windy, rainy – everything you wouldn’t wish for, but kids being kids they still happily rugged up and played outside on the trampoline and in the cubby.
In all, it was an exhausting but really wonderful day making memories.

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Additive Free Nachos, with homemade bean salsa

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Often families I know, have either Friday or Saturday nights reserved for take-away meals as a treat and a good excuse to give mum or dad a break from the kitchen. That’s totally fine in my book but two areas of concern for our family are the cost – most meals to feed a family really are not a cheap option in my opinion and then there’s what to get to please everyone…
We all tend to agree that fish & chips sound like a great idea, until we all feel utterly sick and bloated afterwards, vowing to never eat another chip again. And then of course there’s the fact that it is all dripping in highly processed vegetable oils, who knows what’s in the fish with the state of our oceans and really, there’s nothing very nourishing in a meal like that is there? I like to eat colour!
There is of course pizza… Only wheat and I are not great friends and these days I try to avoid it, plus little R2 has never been into anything bread-like, so this is on his “won’t touch” list.
C and I agree that Thai is delicious but the kids aren’t really interested apart from perhaps a mild pad Thai noodle dish.
Chinese is something I rarely entertain the idea of due to the high levels of MSG used in the cooking. (can also be a factor in Thai) That sort of food is an instant migraine to C, tummy troubles for me, and rashes, sleeplessness and tantrums for J4.
Fast food burgers and fries… Well that’s just not food at all is it? There’s nothing in that to do any good for little growing bodies, or big bodies for that matter.
Indian, is quite a good option in terms of being real satiating food, however, locally it’s very expensive and doesn’t seem to go very far.
So… Where does that leave us?
Well, we reserve Friday nights for Friday Favourites. Basically easy meals that we all love and that I can throw together quickly and with minimal effort. But we also like them to feel like a bit of a treat too. Often they are inspired by take away style food such as crispy chicken strips and chips or fried rice in fifteen minutes.
The following recipe is definitely a favourite and a great way to bring the family together around the table and break a bit of convention. Little R2 having mastered his fork was mortified at the idea of using his hands! But really, how else are you going to eat nachos?

ADDITIVE FREE NACHOS with homemade bean salsa.

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You Will Need:

2 garlic cloves, finely diced or crushed
1/2 red onion
I capsicum (Pepper) or roughly a side of each colour- red, yellow, and green, finely diced.
400g of passata or chopped tomatoes. (I prefer passata for this but a can of organic tomatoes will do just fine if that’s what’s in your cupboard)
1 can organic cannelini, red kidney or navy beans, drained and rinsed. (In a pinch, I have actually used a can of Coles brand organic baked beans before, which were delicious though they do contain raw sugar.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional – I leave this out when I’m making this for my little ones)
Salt and pepper to season (I prefer pink Himalayan, Murray river or Celtic sea salt)
1 large packet of organic corn chips. I buy the Macro brand from Woolworths in Aus as they are free of additives and GMO’s.
1 cup grated cheese (I use colby)

Optional To Serve:
Sour cream or Greek yoghurt
Avocado or guacamole
Sliced spring onions
Sliced red or green fresh chillies

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HERE’S HOW
Preheat oven to 200dc (390 F)
Sauté your vegetables in a little olive oil until softened
Add your spices to the pan and gently fry until fragrant
Add your passata or tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then simmer on a medium/low heat for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile:
Divide your chips into two and place 1 layer of corn chips in a large baking dish,
Scatter with half a cup of cheese
Add the rest of the chips
Top with salsa and the rest of the cheese.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is well melted and gooey.

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Now I know, you’re thinking, where’s the guacamole? I know… Sadly I am the only avocado fan here (though I do hide it in the kids’ smoothies and they have no idea!)
Next time I may even bake this in four separate oven safe bowls so that I can top mine separately with all the good stuff like guacamole and chilies! Realistically, I could also cut way down on the dairy by doing this too, which is something else I personally don’t like a lot of. Apart from some questionable ethical issues involved in modern dairy farming, it also really flares up my hay fever and sinus issues. So as much as I enjoy a meal like this, I tend to pay for it the next day.

Anyway, how nuts you go with the toppings is up to you but for an occasional indulgence, this meal is a real people pleaser!

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Enjoy 🙂

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