Monday, 25 August 2014

Menu Planning Monday 12

I am sorry I have yet to get back to you about the whole self-confidence 'series' I was/is going to do! Between hubby's food misadventures, and job hunting - time has disappeared faster than I care to remember!

Hoping one day for more time, and sleeping children; so I can use that time efficiently! Last night was good, but the previous night Button was up 3x, AND the cat brought a mouse in which she proceeded to let go - so there was a mouse hunt in the middle of the night, and of course 'lil M decided that 5:30am was a good time to wake up for the day! Last night we were in bed by 8pm, yep, we were that tired!

So, the intentions are still all good, and I do plan on making it happen... one day! But right now we have more pressing matters that require attention; hubby went off the track over the weekend, and paid for it a bit today; so back on track again this week, and hopefully a little more common sense will prevail next weekend!

So, last weeks menu didn't quite go to plan, here is how it turned out (to tired to do an actual synopsis):

Monday - Meatballs and Rice
Tuesday - Devilled Sausages
Wednesday - Apricot Chicken
Thursday - Corned Beef - turned into Mince Bread Baskets, as I totally forgot to put the corned beef into the crock pot.
Friday - out with family, so sausages and hot chips
Saturday - Soup and scones - turned into Corned Beef, with little roasties and fresh veggies.
Sunday - Pizza

So, for this week:

Monday - Soup and Scones
Tuesday - Hoki Bake with Basil and Tomato Recipe found here
Wednesday - Crunchy Peanut Butter Chicken on Rice Recipe Found Here
Thursday - Savoury Mince Pie (using g-f pastry recipe I have in one of my cookbooks) basic recipe and idea found here
Friday - Pizza Night
Saturday - Homemade Sausages with Mash Recipe Found Here
Sunday - Honey Sesame Chicken Recipe Found Here 

Am hoping the children sleep better this week, and I get more time on my blog... had a great night out on Friday with my sister-in-law, attending a cooking night with Nicola Galloway! We both thoroughly enjoyed it, and have plans on attending another course run by her, probably not until next year though! 

It has been a busy, but lovely weekend... wish more were like this one! I even got a morning in the kitchen without children! What a luxury!

Anyway, it is now 10pm, and I need to head to bed - one good night does not erase months of bad nights, and I am once again getting tired!

Hopefully we can talk again soon!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Back On Track... Well Almost!

So after spending much time thinking and panicking (if truth be known) and praying desperate prayers for inspiration - I have finally come to a place of being able to help hubby, I think. I still desperately want him to see a Doctor, the 'diagnosis' of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is just a guess; as it fits his symptoms the best, however there are all sorts of other things it could be... if only he'd go and have a few tests! 

But he won't, and there is no point going on and on, as it'll only make matters worse! So I decided to give him an ultimatum (after much reading and researching), that he either goes on the 'Elizabeth Elimination Diet' and sticks to it, or he goes to the Doctor! He chose the elimination diet, and I bet by the end he'll be wishing he had just sucked it up and had gone to the Doctor. 

So, for two weeks he is going to be on minimal food - plenty of portions, just minimal variety... he won't go hungry, but he'll probably get bored with it all! AND then, I'll just reintroduce one food at a time every 3 or so days, so it'll be dull and boring for him for a while yet!

Little Snack Packs of nuts and seeds...

So yesterday I spent the day preparing and working it all out, and today I spent the day buying what appropriate foods I'd be needing, and cooking... cooking... cooking!

Pot of Creamy Quinoa bubbling away on the stove...

Huge pot of 'safe-to-eat' soup for the man (pork and veggies)!

So with all that in mind - his menu for the next two weeks goes something like this:

2x eggs and toast
GF Cornflakes and a banana

A bowl of Creamy Quinoa (coconut cream of course) with a Banana
A bowl of soup, with toast and a piece of fruit

Fresh boiled veggies
Plain white rice
A piece of fresh meat (steak, schnitzel, chicken, fish)

Fruit (he can only eat bananas, oranges, kiwifruit and manderins)
Nuts and Seeds (Sunflower, Pumpkin, Walnuts, Pecans, Brazil Nuts and Cashews).

Even his fruit and veggie intake is limited, as some of them can and do cause trouble. He had carrots, broccoli and celery last night and reacted... *sigh*, we think it was the celery, but are just not sure. So tonight it was back to the drawing board, and he only got carrots; tomorrow I will include a little bit of broccoli and see how that goes, and the following night we will add a bit of celery back in.

Over the next fortnight I will then be doing some research on what foods to start reintroducing first, and build up a plan as to how we're going to tackle it all. We will also need to have a list somewhere, where we can note what seems to be okay and what doesn't. He has had a good day today, and so far everything has gone down comfortably - whew, so that means carrots are on the good list!

Anyway - while I was doing that, I was able to scrawl out a quick menu plan for the rest of us as well:

Monday - Meatballs and Rice
Tuesday - Devilled Sausages
Wednesday - Apricot Chicken
Thursday - Corned Beef
Friday - out with family, so sausages and hot chips
Saturday - Soup and scones
Sunday - Pizza

This is what happened LAST week, which I don't think I managed to catch you up on, due to one thing or another:

Monday - Soup and fresh bread
Tuesday - Chicken Cacciatore
Wednesday - Soup and scones (ooops)
Thursday - Homemade Burgers and Hot Chips
Friday - Pancakes
Saturday - Zesty Lemon and Soy Chicken
Sunday - Mince and Noodles

Makings for the homemade burgers!

So that is the latest on our Food Misadventures! I have got so many other posts and photos whizzing around in my head, but time is just not happening (even tonight I should have really been registering for jobs on a couple of websites, and sending my CV into a couple of other places, rather than blogging *sigh*)!

On the bright side - 'lil M has got the beginning of his LAST two teeth coming through now, wahoo! So while that means a grumpy little boy at home, and short day sleeps - it also means the end is in sight! He is currently managing to sleep through the night, or at least until 5am (which is GOOD, trust me), so we are very grateful for that (that has only been happening for a week now though, so trying not to count the chickens before they hatch as such)!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Menu Planning Monday Gone Astray

It is after 10pm, and I have just spent the entire evening on the phone talking to my sister-in-law... I rang to just quickly confirm what we'll be doing on Friday night; as we'll be attending a cooking class run by Nicola Galloway of Homegrown Kitchen; excited much! But as women are want to do - we just kept talking!

It was good though; really good!

And I really don't know if I'd have had much for you anyway, hubby and I are working through some of his tummy issues at the moment; as he is REALLY struggling. So we're looking into trying him on the Fodmap Diet, and seeing if this helps - it is brutal, and I am still getting my head around it. Right now, I am still working out what he can and can't eat, and if I can realistically fit that into our everyday eating - it doesn't look good, might mean cooking two meals, something I would rather avoid if at all possible.

So, once I have an idea of what is going on, and how I am going to tackle this next challenge in our food journey - I will pop in with an update.

But right now, I need sleep.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Menu Planning Monday 10

TEN - did you read that? I have been menu-planning and blogging about it for TEN weeks, I don't think I have ever been that consistent with my blogging, or following a weekly theme, let alone actually 'doing something' for myself, the entire four years I have been blogging! I am impressed with my own stickability!

But in saying that -  this weeks post is going to be a bit of a cheat one, as I haven't planned the whole week in advance yet, and as I am tired and have a busy week ahead; I might not get to do this for a few days yet!

I am also not going to do a synopsis from last week - this current menu has been changed and played around with SO much over the past fortnight, that I doubt I could remember it accurately now, let alone atest to what has been good or bad! We have had colds and tummy bugs and teething and other such 'fun' things to deal with the entire time; so the meals have been loosely based on current day needs and available time. BUT the good thing is, by menu planning a whole fortnight in advance - I can do this, as I have all the ingredients ready at hand; and it's just a matter of quickly rescheduling! Loving the flexibility of it all, which I haven't really used up until now, but it has come in handy this time!

So - what I have got so far:

Monday 11th August = Soup, followed by homemade beaked beans on toast (which were loved by everyone except 'lil M).

Tuesday 12th August = Chicken Cacciatore

Wednesday 13th August = Old Fashioned Fish Pie

Thursday 14th August = Something with chicken

Friday 15th August = something quick and easy, having a break from pizza at the moment. Button asked for Tuna and Pasta Bake, which we used to eat a lot of (recipe can be found here), but since hubby and Button have had to come off dairy as well - this hasn't been an option. However, we have some goat mozzarella in the fridge which no one likes much; so maybe using it up in something like this would be okay. I also did a pasta bake from one of Sophie Gray (Destitute Gourmet) books recently, and she suggested sprinkling breadcrumbs over the top, instead of cheese - which of course makes it safer for my allergy family! Everyone loved it, as it gave it a slightly crunchy top... so could try this again as a Friday night special maybe? Button used to love Tuna and Pasta Bake, and would ask for it regularly - will see how we go.

Saturday and Sunday = still unknown!

Hope you all have a lovely week, and enjoyed the sneak peek at spring!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Thoughts on Thoughts... 1

I have been thinking; thinking about the type of thinking that I do. I suspect this has come about from reading Ange's post here on Being Enough, it really hit a raw nerve. I also suspect it is surfacing due to having to head back into the workforce again, as I explained in my previous post; it has been five years since I have last had to work set hours out of the home

So part of this thinking has been regarding confidence, and lack of it. What is at the core of confidence? What is the difference between those people who are confident in who they are, and those of us who aren't? Is it physical?

If it was just physicality - then I should be almost at my peak! I have been very blessed to have a body that LOST weight after the children were born; so not my expectation, nor my experience throughout my life. Let me show you:

This is me in February 2007 - at my biggest.
I hated myself, I felt bad and I was ill all the time.

Because of my medical history, extra weight tends to cause me severe pain and major problems. So it got to the point where I had to do something, I mean HAD to. I didn't want to, I hate exercise and I love food; neither of these things alone are a bad thing - but combined it meant it was so much harder on hubby to 'help' me lose the weight, than what it needed to be. He is the exercise king, so he had me out every night running and controlled my food - all of this just made me mad! But once I saw AND felt the results, it was all worth it!

Me - January 2008, a 12kg weightloss

By the time I fell pregnant with Button, I was about 65kgs, and feeling fairly good about myself. However, I was expecting it to be really hard work to get back down to this - I have struggled with my weight all my life, and gone up and down constantly. So to discover that for me the weight falls off after pregnancy was like a dream! I do have to insert here though that Button had silent reflux, and I spent literally hours EVERY.SINGLE.DAY for the first 6-8 months walking up and down the stairs trying to settle her. There was hardly anything I could eat, as almost everything set her off - so my diet for the first six months was seriously bland, and the next six months was only a little bit better. So I suspected that this played a big part of it... I got right down to 55kgs at my lowest point, but by the time I fell pregnant with 'lil M, I was back up to 58kg (happily).

August 2011 - Me at 58kgs, just after finding out I was pregnant with 'lil M!
I love this photo, it is one of my all-time favourites.

So, while 'lil M didn't have the tummy issues Button had (praise God), he did have severe wind and some colic. This meant he was a much better sleeper, and I didn't have to walk to stairs very often; but it did restrict my diet again, for the first six months. And again, the weight fell off:

November 2012 - me at my utmost smallest, 52kgs.

I am currently sitting back on 58kgs, and overall feel pretty okay about me physically. When I dress up, and make an effort; I sometimes even actually like what I see! 

So - if physicality was the only criteria for confidence, then really I should be right on up there at this point in my life! 

And yet; I am not. 

Don't get me wrong, losing weight for most people does give them a confidence boost. You can see it did for me, when you look at the difference in my stance between the first two photos in particular. But it doesn't change the little voices in your head; so how do you do this? 

What are some other things that give people that confidence? What do you do about the little voices in your head? I know I am not the only one who hears these! 

I really need to work on this before I have to head back into the workforce, and I also want to bring my children up confident in who they are! But if I don't believe I am enough - how can I expect my daughter, in particular, to place value in herself. I know it is going to take hard work, whatever path I decide to follow - changing your thought patterns is never easy. But I have seen my husband change significantly over these past ten years, and I am inspired... We are making some HUGE life changes soon, and I think it is time I personally catch up with it!

So join me as I explore the difference between those who are confident, and me, over the next few weeks! And then follow my journey (I promise I will be totally upfront and honest), as I work on slowly changing those little voices, and learn to like myself... Because I WILL, one day, learn to like me! And I hope you will also like me, learn some new strategies, and maybe gain a deeper understanding of how awesome you are along the way!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Alluding... To Revealing!

I have alluded here, and on my instagram feed, on a few occasions, that there are going to be some BIG changes for my little family happening soon.

I have avoided writing about it up until now, as I just wanted to really let it sink in, and make sure I told a few people 'in real life' first as well. 

So - the news is:

We're on the move

Nope; not pregnant, bet that's what some of you were thinking though!

This is a difficult post to explain, as there are no set dates in place for this to happen just yet - and there are a number of things that have to happen first, before we can move. But move we will, and we'll be gone by the end of the year; come what may! We are dead serious, and are decluttering, selling stuff and generally preparing ourselves for this (and the kids as much as is possible), we have even packed two boxes! Hubby came home today saying he has got a boot load more boxes at work as well, which he will bring home tomorrow; those boxes will make it far more real.

So - why are we moving, and where are we going to?

We are 'going home'! We met and married in a small waikato town, and that is where we're heading back to... both sets of parents still live there, and this is the kind of lifestyle  / upbringing we want for our children. We have always planned to be out of Auckland before Button started school (next year - eeek), although initially, we'd never intended on 'going home' as such; rather the Bay of Plenty had been our original destination... We'd still eventually like to settle there, but that has become a more long-term goal now.

But one of the obstacles in our way, of course, is a job... we still need an income, even if it is cheaper living there! But not just any job, and not for the hubby - rather, I'll be going back to work, and hubby will become the 'stay-at-home-parent', as he works on setting up and building up his own business. He has been working / studying nights our entire marriage, but it is getting harder and harder living in Auckland on one income, and with two small children. He needs more time to focus, and the only place I could conceive of getting a job that could support us is a small place like there - living costs are so low, that one income in the low to middle range, is still enough to survive on. We could buy a 3 bedroom livable (not necessarily nice, but livable) house for under 100k down there... The only way we'll ever be able to afford a house is by moving; and we'll have babysitters just down the road, bonus!

There is so much more to it than just this, SO much more... but suffice to say, changes are happening; and happening soon!

PS - I am excited, but scared! It was never in the plans for me to go back to work full-time, let alone as the sole-bread winner; I feel a bit of pressure from this. But I know, once we have moved and have settled in, it will be fine! Hubby is fantastic with the kids, and I won't need to worry about them at all (miss them, yes like crazy - but worry, no), we already have accommodation sorted; everything is seriously falling into place... JUST.NEED.THE.JOB! 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Menu Planning Monday 9

We have just had the weekend from tummy-bug-hell, where the other three all fell ill over a 12 hour period. I am the only one still standing...

The kids bounced back really quickly, but it has taken hubby a bit longer... he seemed okay late yesterday, only to wake up feeling pretty bad again today (not that he mentioned this until late afternoon to me). Now it looks like it has hit Button again, she went to bed with no dinner, and has just woken writhing and in pain. Hubby is sitting with her while I quickly get this up for you all, and then we will swap.

So I will not be doing a synopsis of last week, nor will I be including any links for this weeks recipes, nor any photos! Hopefully, maybe, if we ever get a 'nice' week of no bad health issues and no bad nights (on top of it all 'lil M is cutting his second-to-last molar, so we're up almost every night to him as well), I may be able to update this with a synopsis, links and the odd photo. Or maybe that will just wait until next week?!?

So - the plan for this coming week is:

Monday 4th August = Homemade FishnChips

Tuesday 5th August = Soup, pork and veggie

Wednesday 6th August = Lemon and Thyme Pasta

Thursday 7th August = Mini Meatloaves

Friday 8th August = Homemade Baked Beans

Saturday 9th August = Stew

Sunday 10th August = Sticky Maple (honey) chicken

However, if this tummy bug is doing the rounds again, then all this week is up for change - just like this past week was *sigh*!

Hope you all had a better weekend than we did!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Menu Planning Monday 8

Good evening once more,

Gosh, despite the rough week last week, with ill-health still rampaging through the house; it has gone by really fast, and here we are at Monday night again! But this Monday night is a good Monday - both children are well, both are generally sleeping through again, and everyone is good! Yay! Long may this last!

This is the sight that greeted me on the stairs the other day...

I then proceeded to carry on up the stairs, to be greeted with this:
It was a laugh or cry moment... but at least I knew he was starting to feel better!

So, a quick synopsis from last week:

Monday 21st July - Gluten-free Fish Fingers with homemade chippies, and fresh veggies.

Went ok - kids aren't big fish eaters, and they were both still under the weather (in the end Button basically didn't eat all week). But hubby liked them, so will probably try them again when everyone is feeling better, and see how the little people respond that time!

Tuesday 22nd July - Roast chicken with little roasties, and fresh veggies.

'lil M ate the chicken well, but Button didn't eat anything. However, us adults enjoyed the dinner and hubby appreciated some of the leftovers for lunch!

Wednesday 23rd July - Chicken Fried Rice, with the leftovers. If you have't tried this recipe, you've got to - seriously, the best fried rice EVER!
Then the carcass will become homemade stock, if you want to know the easiest way to make chicken stock in the crockpot, check out the recipe found at Don't Waste The Crumbs. I highly recommend it!

Again - this is something that we have all enjoyed in the past, but with two unwell kiddies it wasn't the hit it previously has been! Again, hubby and I enjoyed it though!

Thursday 24th July - Slow Cooker Osso Bucco

This was swapped for Satay Meatballs, as I didn't have the time for the prep in  the morning! Once more dinner was not really eaten with much gusto, except by hubby and me. A pattern beginning to form here I see!

Friday 25th July - And we're back to pizza night again.

Kids did have some of this, and seemed more 'alive' to enjoy it that night... 

Saturday 26th July - Satay Meatballs with Noodles

Swapped with the Occo Busso from Thursday - as I had already defrosted the meat for this, I popped it into the slow cooker on Friday and cooked it then. However, I think I had over-cooked it, and my darling daughter took one mouthful and told me that dinner tasted like 'pooh'! Her father didn't stand for that, but that was pretty much the beginning of the end of that dinner for both kids.

Sunday 27th July - Fish Cakes with homemade chippies 
Well Nourished They make a claim on this that even the 'fish fussy' will like these fish cakes, so it'll be interesting to see how the kiddies respond! And here is the link to the homemade hot chips I am going to try that night!

Never got as far as the homemade chippies, everyone had veggies instead. This was very disappointing - the website says that even the 'fish fussy' will like these, but not in our house! All you could taste was the uncooked onion and garlic, none of the lemon came through and even the fish itself was fairly tasteless. Dipped in Sweet Chilli Sauce was the saving grace for me. Not sure if I'll attempt this again or not, and IF I do, I'd be making a few changes in order for it to suit my family.

Now for this coming weeks menu:

Monday 28th July = Shepherds Pie

Tuesday 29th July = Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Sausages

Wednesday 30th July = Corned Beef with Mustard Sauce

Thursday 31st July = Mama's Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce

Friday 1st August = Pizza, with corned beef

Saturday 2nd August = Mini Meatloaves

Sunday 3rd August = Homemade Baked Beans with Egg

This is all subject to being shifted around over the next fortnight, as I have just gone in and planned according to the meat I have in my freezer (how I have got a whole weeks worth of spare meat in there is anyone's guess)! As I finish my menu plans for the next ten days before going shopping, there will be chicken / fish / stews all included, and they may well be interjected into this weeks menu so there is more variety!

Button finally starting to feel better, and eating again - yay!

We have done a whole heap of baking over this past week as well - keeping little fingers and little minds busy, but will share that in another post some other day!

The best part of baking with Mummy, is licking the bowl afterwards!

Hope you have a great week planned, meals or not!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Menu Planning Monday 7

Good evening,

Well it has been a week from bad-health-hell around here :-(! Poor Button has been sick for two weeks now, first a cold which was then followed by the flu. Hubby brought the flu home from work, we thought he'd just picked up the kids cold - but he has got worse and worse, and then Button started crashing with high fevers (for 3 days and 2 nights - got a bit scary there for a while). She finally started to come right late yesterday, and while she is still not well; we are finally starting to catch glimpses of our little girl again (and not the Drama Queen she turns into when sick)!

From this on Saturday

To this late Sunday

To this Monday afternoon... 
Put herself to sleep watching TV, so cute when they're asleep!

Yep, it's been a LONG weekend... now just watching 'lil M, as he wasn't himself today; but hoping it's 'just' teething!

Anyway - enough about us, lets get on with the menu!

So, a quick synopsis from last week:

Monday 14th July = Wraps with mince and cheese 
I tried a crepe-like wrap from Petite Kitchen this time, not a huge success in terms of holding together, however everyone liked it and even 'lil M ate the 'pancakes', even if he didn't touch the mince!

Tuesday 15th July = Devilled Sausages and mash
Always a hit with 3 out of 4 of us; 'lil M did his usual 'yuck'! But Button, hubby and I all loved it! Only problem is, hubby's tummy didn't like it this time - we have having more issues with his eating at the moment; so like the 'lil M issue, that will be another post for another day!

Wednesday 16th July = Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
This one didn't seem to come out like the photo, or so I thought - however, when I looked back, it actually did look similar! Again, 3 out of 4 of us enjoyed this, Button has an issue with texture, and anything that is remotely chewy in her mind gets spat out! Despite the meat being soft and yummy, she wouldn't eat it - but she did like the flavour, and devoured all the vegetables.

Thursday 17th July = Honey Sesame Chicken Stirfry
This was a HUGE hit, even 'lil M ate some of it! Everyone loved it... yay!

Friday 18th July = Vegetable and Lentil Soup
Hahaha - silly Mummy, Friday night is PIZZA night! What a thing to forget; so we did not have the soup, we had pizza - which was a big success, and despite Button beginning to get the flu, she ate like a pro that night. So I decided to swap that to Saturday night, and make the fish fingers on Monday.

Saturday 19th July = GF Fish Fingers 
Tonight was not a night to try a new recipe out on the family, everyone was under the weather and had very little sleep! So we gave the kids sausages, eggs and mashed potato - hubby cooked, as I was feeling just a bit exhausted! Both kids ate reasonably well, but come Sunday Button stopped eating pretty much...

Sunday 20th July = Lemon and Thyme Pasta
Button stopped eating today - we think it is all the medicine she has been having; she has a VERY sensitive tummy, and generally she never needs more than 1-2 doses of pamol per cold, which is fine. But the poor girl has been sucking back pamol and ibrofen, due to the high fevers; and it is starting to take it's toll. So we made her a simple dinner of sausage and tuna (her request, strange child), and while she didn't eat much of that, she finished off with some of my homemade *Orange Choc-Chop Ice Cream with Banana Base. So she had enough food in her to sleep through for the first time since Thursday, ahhhh - bliss! Hubby and I LOVED it as always, and had leftovers for lunch today!

* Separate post to come on this, and my homemade gluten-free muesli bar!

So - onto this week now:

Monday 21st July - Gluten-free Fish Fingers with homemade chippies, and fresh veggies.

Tuesday 22nd July - Roast chicken with little roasties, and fresh veggies.

Wednesday 23rd July - Chicken Fried Rice, with the leftovers. If you have't tried this recipe, you've got to - seriously, the best fried rice EVER!
Then the carcass will become homemade stock, if you want to know the easiest way to make chicken stock in the crockpot, check out the recipe found at Don't Waste The Crumbs. I highly recommend it!

Thursday 24th July - Slow Cooker Osso Bucco

Friday 25th July - And we're back to pizza night again.

Saturday 26th July - Satay Meatballs with Noodles

Sunday 27th July - Fish Cakes with homemade chippies 
Well Nourished They make a claim on this that even the 'fish fussy' will like these fish cakes, so it'll be interesting to see how the kiddies respond! And here is the link to the homemade hot chips I am going to try that night!

So that is this week in meals, I hope you all had a more relaxing week last week than we did... and I hope your cooking was a success!

I am still hoping to get on here more regularly, and post a little more than just menu's... but until the flu has finished it's rounds and we're feeling a little more sane, and a little more refreshed - things are going to be minimal again!