Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Green Mother's Day Ideas

Since Mother's Day is coming up soon, and I'm hugely fond of both receiving and giving gifts, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite (inexpensive) ideas ... and where the cheapest places are to get them (around Brisbane, anyway).

*This is a revised version of a post I wrote last year on an earlier blog I was playing around with ... Hope you enjoy it!


Bought Treats
There are ethical issues surrounding chocolate that you may want to know about, so I really can only recommend organic/fair trade chocolate at this point. Not to say that I don't have chocolate desserts at restaurants, but I think it's always a good idea to be mindful of where the things you eat come from.


1. Green and Black's chocolate bars
- you can get them at any natural foods store and most supermarkets, and there are several varieties. Average price for a 150 g bar is $4-$7. Best value is the chain supermarkets where on occasion it goes on sale for (no kidding) $1.99 a bar. Then I stock up on the dark and the milk bars and use them for cooking and eating. (Have you looked at the ingredients in cooking chocolate? Shocking!!) I always walk past the Green and Blacks when I'm at Coles or Woolies just to see ...

2. Loving Earth raw chocolate bars
- you'll have to go to a natural foods store for these, and I've only ever bought them from Wray Organic. They cost about $7-$9 a bar, but if you love dark chocolate in particular, you must must must try it. Raw cocoa is higher in antioxidants than processed chocolate and is sugar and dairy free. There are several varieties.

(This is the chocolate I give my 3 year old ...  heh heh ... )

3. Loving Earth raw organic cocoa butter
- an all-natural moisturiser, great for winter coming up! Just rub a small bit on skin and lips - it melts at skin temperature. Find it at natural foods stores in Brisbane or online at Loving Earth.

4. Certified organic lavender essential oil
- great for the bath, for the laundry, for homemade beauty products. You can get small vials of 15mL for $10 at most natural foods stores, which is expensive but you only use a few drops at a time (so it lasts forever).

5. Subscription to Peppermint magazine - it's $44 for a year's subscription, and a new love of mine (thanks Renee!)
 
Make it Yourself
Making food and beauty products yourself is a great way to have high-quality products without the expense. Plus you know exactly what's going in them!

1. Yummy chocolate cake 

2. Check out Nigella Lawson's Feast from the library and explore the chocolate cake chapter (yes, a WHOLE chapter!!) with your mum


4. Easy face scrub from ground oats and almonds (50% each-put them in your blender and whizzzzzzzzz)

5. Coffee filter tea bags, filled with chai tea or with your mum's favourite loose tea and with special messages on the labels.

6. Take some special photos, print them out and frame them ... (like these Valentine's photos we made for my husband ...)

7. Lip balms and potions - I posted these for Valentine's Day, but between you and me, I'd love to receive them anytime of year ...


Recycled things
A green mum will appreciate secondhand things, plus reusing and recycling is great for the environment!

1. Unloved exercise equipment from Ebay (I've found a pilates machine, a rower and more ... )

2. Check out all the craft and decor possibilities at Reverse Garbage in The Gabba (I've found great paper and cloth scraps and a vintage stained glass window ... )

3. A great book at The Book Bank in Toowong Village (I found Nigella's Feast and Tessa Kiros' Apples for Jam there, but it's not just cook books, don't worry ... )

4. Scour op (thrift) shops for great clothes and dishes and housewares (I've found amazing serving platters, vintage cookie jars, games, and cute jewelry, among other things ... ) By the way, my fave op shops are the YWCA shop in Toowong (Sherwood Rd) and Vinnies in Paddington (Latrobe Tce) and any thrift stores in small, country towns ... 

5. While you're at the op shop, pick up a frame and put some of your fave kiddie art into it. My all time best mother's day present was one of these.


What are your fave Mother's Day ideas?

I hope you have a lovely Mother's Day, and spoil her rotten!
Amanda xx

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fish-free, Seaweed-free Sushi ...

... is probably not really sushi. But what good is language if we can't adapt it to our own selfish needs? Take that, Mr. Webster.


Anyway, this is a sushi for people who (do or ) don't like seaweed. It's great for the kids' lunchboxes. And, in fact, the kids can make them ... while you put your feet up and sip green tea. Oh, yes.

Sound good? Here we go:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Absolutely Amazing Brown Rice with Yummy Stuff in It


Brown rice is one of those battles at my house. I buy it almost exclusively - because it has higher nutritive value, more fibre, and I like the nuttiness of it. But Robbie? As soon as I start to make a curry for dinner he's asking 'can we please have basmati?'

Well, this is my compromise ... of sorts. I mean - it's not really a compromise ... because it's still brown rice (so, I win! Ha!) It's more of a jazzing up of brown rice. Jazzing up to the point that Robbie has seconds of it ... and thirds ...

(and for that matter, so does Nelle)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My New Store


*Know what, guys? I've decided to skip calling my store Foodie Kids - because really I want to keep it closely linked to this site. So ... I've changed my mind (in typical Libran fashion, so they say) ... and my store will now be called "Easy Peasy Organic." Clever, hey?

***********
There's actually a lot of debate about whether 'foodie' is a good label or not ... whether it means you're

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why You Need a Good Roadtrip

Because you can stop for a run in the sunshine - barefoot, of course. You can feel the light soaking into your hair and see it erupting out of golden flowers. You can spy fruit nestled in a tree.

You may even collect roadside oranges and roadside passionfruits. And peer through fences at roadside cattle ...

You might imagine that you could live like this - a vagabond, collecting what you need from the places you pass through - as long as you have the people you love with you ...

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Best Waffles EVER


I wanted to post this before the weekend ... but then we ended up on the road, driving driving driving, heading south like birds. Except that birds in this hemisphere head north. And I wasn't driving. I was nursing body aches and coughs and fatigue in the passenger seat while Robbie took control of the radio (sigh) and Nelle sang all the way from Brisbane to Sydney. 

The grand old duck of yore, he had ten ah ah men ...

Not that I felt sorry for myself. Not me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's Official - I'm in Love. (with Food Connect.)


Oh, it's been a long, long time since I've had a breakup like this one. It was a long-term relationship ... and I did it over email. (What kind of person does that? I know, I know. Evil. Heartless. Cruel.) 

It's just ... I felt like I deserved more. You know, consistency. Quality. A back massage whenever I ask for it (uh, sorry - that just slipped out ... ) Anyway, I always had a little doubt in the back of my head/gut/heart about this relationship. I just finally listened.

And broke it off. 

Only to find myself 
(alarmingly quickly)
in love. Love. LOVE.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Too Many Chokos, Part 1


These are chokos. Also known as chayotes (apparently - though I didn't meet these little guys till I moved to Australia, where they're called chokos.) They grow on long, looping vines that stretch across people's backyards here in Brisbane. You're more likely to get given a bag of them by a friend, or workmate, or relative than you are to actually buy them. And if you're lucky enough to have a vine at home ... well, you'll be the one giving them away.

Until you read these recipes. Then you might just keep them all for yourself. Every. last. one.

And the first? Will also be the most basic.
(to get you started)


***********
Butter* Chokos
*vegans can of course substitute olive oil

The time
10 min

The ingredients
chokos, washed and chopped into small chunks (you don't have to peel them)
organic butter or olive oil
sea salt

The process
1. Steam the chokos until tender (but not mushy).

2. Douse in butter and salt, to taste.

The cost
Almost nothing! I've never bought chokos as I seem to have lots of friends and family who (fortunately for me) like offloading their extras

Want more inspiration? To me, chokos taste a bit like zucchini ... so I'd give them a go in any number of zucchini-based recipes ... like Whatever You've Got Muffins or Zucchini Cake. So this is a start ... stay tuned for more choko recipes soon.

Enjoy!
Amanda xx

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Good Morning, World! (or Extolling the Virtues of Mini-Breaks)

I have to say, I love my little family more than anything in the world. (they know that.)

(in fact, you know that.)

... but ... 

how good is it when they go away for a day and a night, leaving me to my own unaccountable devices??? 

(Between you and me, I end up in bed with a bowl of pasta, a glass of wine, and the last two episodes of Stargate Atlantis season 1 at - 7:30pm. Now that is a *virtue*.)

And then it's morning. 

My day begins.


And I can't wait to have my two favourite people home again.

Have a great Sunday! Maybe you could even negotiate an hour or two on your own ... to watch sci fi / read Peppermint / plan holidays from the comforts of bed ... with treats of your choosing ... and silence in the house ...

Amanda xx

Friday, April 1, 2011

Emergency Gazpacho

Once upon a time, there was a lonely jar of passata*.

That became ...
gazpacho.

(cue Spanish music)
(cue Antonio Banderas while you're at it)


As you may have guessed, gazpacho is Spanish. Loved for its * fresh * clean * cool * zing * in those hot hot Iberian summers. Now, I may or may not go to hell for suggesting you make gazpacho out of passata* ... but it certainly makes this little recipe nearly instantaneous.

Refreshing + instantaneous? = happy


*passata is tomato puree. Usually Italian, just tomatoes. A staple.

***********
Emergency Gazpacho
serves 6-8

The time
10 min prep + chilling time

The ingredients
The soup
1 700mL jar of passata (tomato puree)
350 mL water (1/2 the jar)
1 green pepper/capsicum, chopped
1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 c honeydew melon, chopped*
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
handful fresh cilantro/coriander

The garnish
1/2 green pepper/capsicum, minced
1/2 c honeydew melon, minced*

*you can substitute cucumber for the melon, but this is a twist on the original that I think you'll like

**try to use organic ingredients when you can

The process
1. Put all the soup ingredients in a blender and whizzzzz till smooth.

2. Ideally, refrigerate the soup for 30 min - 1 hr ... otherwise, serve over ice cubes.

3. Serve into pretty glasses (I use martini glasses sometimes) and garnish.

The cost
My batch of 100% organic gazpacho cost me around $0.75 per serve.

Olé    !
Amanda xx

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