Easy Cheesy Pizza (with 2ingredient yoghurt dough)

20140731-190328.jpg
Cooking with kids is one of the greatest ways to get them to eat their meals. I’ve been somewhat surprised to discover that it’s actually really enjoyable too! The process can be a bit slow and a little messy but they love it and it’s a nice way to engage with them on a rainy day.
More than that though, as a woman who cooks every meal, every night, I feel really good about equipping them with a basic life skill so that one day their future wives might get a night or two off in the kitchen! Hey, maybe they’ll even be cooking for me soon… One can only hope 🙂

2 Ingredient Yoghurt Dough
This dough is so versatile and easy to make. I have a Bellini (Target’s version of a thermomix) and you can make it in there in a flash but to be honest, it’s so easy, I still use a bowl and my hands.
Plus, I’m a fairly tactile person. I used to teach high school art and ceramics and I like working the dough with my hands so I can feel if it’s the right consistency.

note: This makes 2 medium/large pizzas. (You can halve the recipe if you like)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups Greek Yoghurt
3 cups plain flour (pretty much any flour will work, – spelt, gluten free etc…)

METHOD
Preheat oven to 200C (390F)
In a large bowl, add first two cups of flour to the yoghurt and roughly combine.
Gradually add the third cup of flour until you reach a workable consistency that’s no longer sticky.
Divide dough into two (or four)
Roll out on a floured surface.

Toppings
You can add whatever you like.
We kept things pretty simple – basically a margarita with bacon:
Tomato Passata
Dried Italian herbs like oregano and basil.
Crushed garlic
Spring onions
Free range, organic bacon
Mozzarella cheese

*Cook on a pizza tray or lined baking tray for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese melted and edges browned and crispy.
*Cut in half and check that the dough is golden and cooked in the centre. If not, give it another 5-10 minutes.

My whole family loves this dough (making it and eating it!)

20140731-193907.jpg

It’s great for making things like cheese and ham scrolls as well.

Note: I use self raising flour for scrolls, halve the recipe and bake at 180C. (350F)

20140731-221814.jpg
Warm from the oven…

20140731-222117.jpg
Perfect for lunch boxes!

Enjoy 🙂

Here is the link to my facebook page

Advertisements

WINTER WARMER WEDNESDAY – Slow Cooked Hearty Beef

20140716-201145.jpg
Well slow cooker season is well and truly here. Today, some sun has managed to briefly peek through the clouds but generally the mornings have been icy and the days, wet, windy and dreary. On the plus side, spending more time indoors does inspire some delicious meals and baked goods.
The slow cooker is back as a permanent fixture on my kitchen bench. It’s just so satisfying to turn a cheap cut of meat like gravy beef into a tender, mouthwatering meal with so little effort.
As well as that, slow cookers make it so easy to cook in bulk and freeze half for later. I can’t believe that it’s taken me three years to figure out that using the slow cooker is also the best way to defrost and reheat those meals. You just dump the frozen sauce, soup, casserole etc… Into the slow cooker and about 6 hours on high should do the trick! Why did I waste all those hours defrosting things in the fridge or on the bench?
Once it’s hot, you can even add your rice or pasta into the pot with no need for extra dirty dishes. I add some extra water, about 1/2 – 1 cup so it doesn’t suck too much of the liquid out of the meal.
You can easily halve this recipe by the way if you prefer but I like to cook a lot and freeze half for a rainy day.
Anyway, let’s get down to business…

Slow Cooked Hearty Beef
1 kg gravy beef, diced
2 small or 1 large red or brown onion cut into rustic chunks.
4-6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato cut into large even cubes
4 small potatoes quartered
3 carrots sliced
1 tin tomatoes
Salt, pepper
1 tbsp dried herbs (I used sage and thyme)
3-4 tbsp flour (you can use arrow root, plain, spelt, cornflour – anything that will help it thicken)
1.5 – 2 litres beef stock

Directions
*You can throw everything in together, turn it on and walk away and you will get a great result.
But I like to do a few steps first to add a real depth of flavour.

    20140716-151218.jpg

1. Season and brown beef in batches and add to slow cooker with carrots and potatoes.
2. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the same pan used for the beef.
3. Add flour and a pinch of salt, stir to coat and fry for a couple of minutes.
4. Gradually add about 1/2-1 cup of water to the onions to create a gravy.
5. Add onion gravy to the pot along with herbs, tomatoes and stock.
6. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8-9 hours.
7. Serve with cooked rice, crusty bread or simply as it is.

* Optional: add some leafy greens like spinach or silver beet to the surface of the casserole and let it gently steam under the lid for about 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy the goodness 🙂

20140716-201550.jpg
Don’t forget to checkout my facebook page!

Toy Storage

20140714-152412.jpg

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.

20140714-155151.jpg
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?
Don’t forget to check out my facebook page!

Slow Cooked Porridge – with apple, cinnamon and honey

20140714-090914.jpg

The Best Winter Breakfast. EVER!
This morning we woke to the most delicious aroma of cinnamon and apple wafting through the house. If you ever needed a reason to get out of bed on a chilly morning, this is it!
J5 declared “yummy!” And R2 took one look at his bowl and said, “don’t like porridge.” Which is typical, but I managed to dot a small amount on the bottom of his lip from the spoon and watched his scowl turn into a smile declaring, “I do like porridge!”
Bowls were licked clean and with basically no effort at all, little bellies were sent off to kinder warm and content.

*Note: as this this breakfast cooks itself over night, it will only work if you’re a bit of a night owl like me as it will be ready in 6-7 hours. I put it on before bed at 11.30pm and it is ready to eat when we get up at 6.30am.

SLOW COOKED PORRIDGE with apple, cinnamon and honey
Serves 4

1. 2 cups of rolled oats
2. 2 chopped apples – I used red delicious as that’s what I had but any variety will work fine.
3. 2 tablespoons honey
4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
5. 4 cups of water

Combine in your slow cooker/crock pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Dish into bowls and let stand for a couple of minutes while it cools and thickens a little.
Serve as is or with milk, extra honey, chopped almonds, fresh grated apple… Etc
Enjoy the goodness 🙂

Check out my facebook page

Morning Madness Made Over – Create an ACTION STATION!

20140713-204048.jpg
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!

20140713-210855.jpg

*Don’t forget to check out my facebook page

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

20140707-002916.jpg

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.

20140707-004658.jpg

Sunflower

It’s so c.c.c cold here in Victoria today. A perfect day for staying indoors, under a blanket and drawing. I really miss making art but with little kids in the house it’s hard to find space and time to set up materials anywhere. So when I discovered this free kids drawing app the other day, called “colouring book” it fired up a little creative spark. The app itself is very basic dot to dot drawing to create the outlines of trucks, cars and trains etc… But I got a bit carried away and started drawing over the top of the vehicles. A simple activity but really satisfying. Would love to reproduce the sunflower on a really large scale with paint or pastels.

20140624-195308.jpg

20140624-195430.jpg