Monday, 20 July 2015

I'm Back With More Food (for thought)!

Although don't get me wrong - it's not deep stuff on a Monday night... in fact, it is more about the 'real' food (as in the tangible stuff we eat), than thought-provoking words. 

I have been regularly back into menu-planning again, but haven't bothered to post them here. I was rather blogged-out and was wondering if I was going to even keep this little space alive. But I am getting inspired again now, so at least at the moment things will remain as they are... although I do need to desperately spend some time on the blog and update it! Eeeek; the little baby on the top of my header is now almost 3.5 years old, and my 'big' girl is at school! WAY past time for an update. I am also in two minds about where I want to take it - might need a whole fresh start! Thoughts swirling around and around in my head at the moment... whatever decision I make, everything requires time and commitment, neither of which I have much left of now I am working full-time.

But whatever happens, decisions need to be made; as the blog is almost dead these days! However, I do know my Mum and my lovely Aunt both read it, and miss it when I don't get around to writing often; so thank you lovely ladies!

I am trying to find a system that works best for us with the menu-planning; not only does my husband do most of the cooking now (as long as I do the planning), we also have to work around numerous allergies and very tight budgets. So it makes life a little interesting; another challenging dilemma for me is now differently hubby and I work the budget and also grocery shop. My method was one big shop at the beginning of each fortnight, and then hopefully save enough to do a top up or two throughout the fortnight of fresh fruit / veggies, bread, milk and whatever else ran out. Inevitably I ALWAYS overspent the budget, no matter how hard I tried - food is a sticking point and a rather weak link for me! Hubby tends to do lots of little shops through the fortnight, however this for me makes it feel like the pantry is always empty - as there is always something that has run out; drives me insane! But he always keeps within the budget, and inevitably there are regular little treats (today I came home to be told by very excited little children that Daddy had bought ice cream (dairy-free Lite Licks I might add) and chocolate chippies) hmmmmmm; we never had that kind of treat when I was in charge, especially at $7 for a litre! The kids think it is fantastic... but I am still struggling a bit over the changes!

Anyway - I have downloaded a menu-plan from Kidspot here in New Zealand, the article I have linked up here has a number of other templates, as well as the one I have used above. And the idea is that I keep a copy of the menu-plan, and the recipes that go with it; and start to file them away in here:

A gorgeous Recipe Organiser I got for my birthday a few years ago... I love it, but have never managed to start filling it out. I am not yet sure if the lay-out will work for us, I might need to start my own binder, or rearrange this one (it is so pretty, it would be a shame to not use it). The only problem is, of course, is that it is made in America and thus the inside binder rings don't fit with our hole punches; gah!!!!! Might have to see if work has a hole-punch the same size, and punch holes for my recipes there! So frustrating, and one of the things that has put me off using it in the past; I don't want to write up all my recipes, I'd rather print them out and then just add them to a binder under the correct categories! 

Because of all our, ahhhh - challenges, when it comes to cooking, I want a folder full of inspiration that is safe. Currently no book caters for EVERYTHING; it might be gluten and dairy free, it might even be gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, BUT it will always use loads of dried fruit and honey - two things hubby can't eat a lot of due to his fructose mal-absorption, along with garlic, onion and numerous other fresh fruit and veggies. You would think fresh fruit and veggies and other whole foods would be safe and extremely good for you... not so for those with fructose mal-absorption; but more on that another day.

So with all these challenges in mind, and taking into account the tight budget and my lack of organisational skills (or should I say my lack of motivation); I am thinking on starting a blog that covers these issues within New Zealand. There are literally hundreds of blogs in America that deal with allergies, home-making, organisation, budgets etc, I know - because I follow lots of them, and keep finding new ones! I am like a kid in a lolly shop - more, more, more! But so often the content just isn't suitable for us over here in New Zealand, or for us with food allergies... and there is very little over here in New Zealand that cover all these categories in one space.

But - obstacles are, as mentioned above - my lack of skill and lack of organisation, my lack of motivation to continue tasks once I start, my lack of time and commitment, my lack of inspiration and my current lack of resources!

However, despite all of the above - this is my passion, this is a driving force in what I do, this is how I want to help people, and where I want my focus to be later on, when I no longer have to work full-time. But I can start this now, I can take steps towards these dreams... this blog is a small stepping stone, if I can commit to just doing one post a week initially and then slowly build up my resources - maybe my dream can start to take root, and grow a little. I also want to teach people budgeting skills and basic cooking; emphasis on cheap but nutritious meals (not necessarily allergy focused initially). I can do these things, I know - because I have spoken to our Pastors, and they are more than happy for me to use our church as a base to take classes on either budgeting or cooking. I can do budgeting courses through CAP New Zealand and through Family Budgeting (NZ), there is also Sorted and other places within New Zealand that can probably help me as well. There are a lot of little steps I can be taking, to see this dream blossom and grow in the future... everything starts with a single step. 

Stay tuned to see what mine will be... one day; when time and commitment collide! 

Where our menu-plan sits... 

One day, when we can afford to build our own place, and I get to design my dream kitchen - there will be a blackboard set up specifically for me to share the weekly menu plans with the whole family, and there will be a chore board, and an activity planner, and a scullery where I can hide all my appliances and bulk buying, and... and... and...

Ahhhhh yes; one day... when money and dreams collide!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

This Weeks Menu (starting: 1/6/15)

I just discovered yesterday, when I went searching for one of our family favourites, that a wonderful foodie website has vanished into thin air! I am gutted, it was one that had been set up full of good intentions - but hadn't been updated for quite a while, even when I first 'discovered' it; and I had a gut feeling I should get a copy of my favourite recipes off of it. But I didn't - grrrrrrr, always listen to that 'little inkling', that 'gut feeling' or that 'still small voice' (whatever it is that you call it)! Thankfully, the one recipe that I REALLY wanted, was found (with a link back to them) on another website after much time searching; so this time I have written it down as well! Hopefully I will have learnt my lesson... so with that in mind, here is this weeks menu!

Monday 1st June: Sausages, fried egg and fresh veggies (it was a holiday weekend here in New Zealand, and hubby and I managed to get away for our first child-free weekend since Button was born; so Monday was always going to be a catch-up day, followed by a 'quick and easy' dinner).

Tuesday 2nd June: Tomato Glazed Meatloaf, together with a side of Sauteed Red Cabbage and little roasted potatoes!

Wednesday 3rd June: Lentil and Potato Curry (although in saying that, we'll have to leave out the actual curry as hubby can't stomach it anymore - despite loving hot foods; however there appears to be enough other flavours that it should be okay. This is the only new recipe for the week, all the rest are tried and true ones)!

Friday 5th June: Mince & Egg Frittata, we don't follow this recipe religiously; we have come up with our own variation on it (which varies every time we make it *grin*), but it is a hit every time and always gets eaten! They only use Zucchini in this recipe, whereas I use as many veggies as we have available!

Saturday 6th June: Chicken and Vegetable Soup, this recipe calls for quinoa to be added; and while we have some - we don't have a lot, as hubby loves it for 'porridge'. So I will be going back to the traditional rice instead; just like Ness' Mum used to make! But one day, when our food budget is larger and we can have quinoa on hand for whatever purpose I want, I will try it her way... it does look and sound divine!

Sunday 7th June: Good old Devilled Sausages, the original recipe came from a site called 'Broke and Starving', but it has since died; so seriously sad! However, I found another almost duplicate copy of the recipe here. Now this is not the original, and that is stated - but it is the closest I can find, I think the main difference is that there were also 2 teaspoons of mustard added into the original recipe (not mustard powder, rather dijon, or we use seeded). I also don't bother adding the cornflour, and I water it down a little bit more; as it is a VERY strong sauce if followed as is (which is fine when you don't have little people to cater for, or big people with sensitive stomachs)!

While I know it is not Monday today, I spent Monday evening sorting this out... so I am blogging it today instead! Isn't it amazing what 'busyness' does, it seems to find extra hours in the day for doing the little things you 'didn't have time for' previously, like regular menu planning and blogging! Not sure how I filled in my time before, but now it is being used far more effectively :-)!

Hope this finds you all well, and healthy! Currently we're surviving in the 'healthy' department - the kids have small colds and coughs, but us adults are keeping our heads above water!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Update From Down Under!

Below is a quick update I wrote about Easter time,  & sent off to some elderly friends / family with birthday party invitations (Button turned 5 for those unaware). I thought some of you might also be interested in reading it; and after the Easter update,  I will continue on & update you with our latest news as well.


We have been down here for nearly 6 months now,  and have had our own place for over 3 months.  We started off with Mum & Dad, but managed to find a house that suits us, & is within our budget by Christmas - it was a wonderful gift :-)! Unfortunately 'own' place does mean renting still, but we're closer to buying down here than we would ever be if we stayed up in Auckland.  

Despite not having a job yet, which is frustrating when it comes to the budget, we are enjoying the lifestyle here. It was a lovely & relaxing, family focused summer; with lots of walks around the town, playing with the neighbour's & outside time.  Also time with family, it has been wonderful having so much family close by with both sets of grandparents,  my brother and his family, as well as two sets of my Aunts & Uncles.  The kids are thriving, and are loving the change of pace - Button started Kindy two weeks after we arrived,  and hasn't looked back!  She has really blossomed in that environment,  and will be starting school in under 3 weeks. 'lil M has also started Kindy this year & LOVES it, he will be going  3 days a week starting this term, and there are little tantrums on the days he is not scheduled to attend!    

We have noticed that we have also started to relax and slow down more - I always am amazed when I am driving,  in Auckland I would be racing around going at 60-70km/hour, feeling like I was always behind.  Here if I am going 50km/hour, I am checking my speedo to make sure that I am not going too fast; generally you seem to get caught behind someone going between 20-30km/hour down the main street!  I can see and feel the changes from the inside out,  and it is so good for us all.  

But other than that - it has typically been a rough ride health-wise, I can't wait for the kids to be past this age when they are constantly picking up everything that goes around!  In the past 6 weeks alone, we have gone from a cold, straight onto a tummy bug,  followed by 48 hours of high fevers, Button then broke her leg, and Hubby came down with the full-on flu, and we have all had small colds again... Winter hasn't even started yet, so not really looking forward to that.    

Hubby has been busy with his computer work,  and is hoping to have his first Mobile App available on the market by the end of this year,  if this takes off then he will hopefully start making money and get some more App's out.  He has some great idea's - it is just now getting them done, and hopefully making money out of them!   
I have been applying for jobs, cold-calling, and dropping my CV in all over town - have had four interviews,  but nothing more than that;  rather frustrating!  However I am doing four hours a week for a local business man, and friend.  I am hoping this will help, as it gives me current experience (which seems to be one of the issues), & a reference from a well known and respected local,  and a chance to use MYOB, which I am pretty excited about!  I am really enjoying it,  and finding it fun to be stretching my brain again! As well as this,  I have been keeping myself busy doing an 8 week course on nutrition, found it difficult but really interesting, and think I want to follow this up more.  Unfortunately the courses are all on campus, and currently still require a good 5-6 years to complete?! Don't think I will be doing that any time soon ;-)!  

We have settled into the local Baptist Church - again,  very family orientated! We weren't planning on attending there, both sets of grandparents go, but in the end it was the only local church that catered for both the kids and where they were both happy - and that was the most important thing. Since then my brother and his family have decided to attend as well,  feels like we are taking over the town; hehehe! There aren't a lot of other young families attending, but we are slowly making friends & feeling a part of the community... We have been blessed though, as Button's two best friends from Kindy are families we already had connections with from previously living here. So we have been able to reestablish these old friendships, and strengthen them - it has made the transition that much easier.  


After Easter we started prep for the big party (combined 5th for Button & 40th for me), and I went a little crazy in the kitchen - doing all the catering myself,  for approximately 50 people (kids & adults). We were very blessed with both of Hubby's sisters & their families traveling down from Auckland,  as well as close friends... one day I might do a blog post on it with photos of the food table,  let's just say Hubby still hassles me about over-catering! Button & I both got thoroughly spoilt, and I have now got a whole shelf full of new recipe books; so stoked! 

The allergies feel like they have increased exponentially since we have been down here - although it was just a matter of time,  not about where we live!  'lil M has now been confirmed as having a dairy allergy as well,  it was something we had been wondering about in Auckland,  but never bothered to follow up on - but it got to the point we had to do something,  poor kid!  He is much healthier and happier now,  & is finally growing like a weed - average to tall for his age, rather than down in the 3rd percentile for size like he was for his first 2 years!

Hubby has also since shown both dairy & fructose malabsorption allergies; so once more I have been left floundering, wondering how we are going to handle it.  But like always, we are getting there & starting to make headway;  & he is starting to have more good days than bad... he is booked in to see a Nutritionist mid-June,  so am hoping this will be helpful for us both.

Button has started school with a whizz & a bang - her cast came off at the end of her first week,  after 7 long weeks! She is still walking with a bit of a limp, but other than that - you'd never know she'd had such a severe break.  She is loving school, & has settled quickly & easily; jumping from level 1 to level 6 reading in the first week; & we are already getting little notes that she has written completely on her own - so cute!  Her class is a shared class with two teachers doing part time each,  but it is working well & she enjoys them both; they have worked together for years & you can tell. I was worried initially, but she is excelling under both ladies and is flourishing in ways that still leave me gasping - her reading,  writing and arithmetic especially! 

I have finally got myself a full time job - wahoo! I am almost through my second week,  & am the Payroll & Accounts Payable Clerk for a company called BPM, & am really enjoying myself.  I hate this learning curve & wish I could just jump ahead 6 months when I have it all sussed,  & know what I am doing!  But it will come quicker than imaginable,  so I guess I shouldn't really wish time away ;-)!

Now that I have secured a job we can start to think & plan ahead,  so we're hoping to be able to get into our own place by winter next year.  This place has no heating other than a electric heater that just warms the lounge up - so you can imagine how cold it gets in the mornings at the moment!  Let's just say that the high temperatures have been the same as Aucklands overnight lows. Yep, crazy cold! Next winter I want to be in our own place with a FIRE!

And as mentioned in previous blog posts - we have had visits from family oversea's, visits from friends we hadn't seen in a while (including some from oversea's as well) and other plenty of other things going on; the great thing about living down here is that we're on State Highway 1, and thus we get a lot more people popping in to see us on their way through to and from places!

Anyway - think that should keep you fairly well up to where we are at now... two blog posts in one week, that is got to be in the realms of major miracles! So before I cause your heart any further damage, I will sign off, until next time...

Monday, 25 May 2015

Organisation 101

So - the inevitable has happened, and I have gone and found myself a full-time job! So many pro's, so many good things, and so much to be thankful for. But one of the side-effects of this new job, is the ability I have (not) got of being organised! Eeeek, it all happened SUPER-quick; and has tested our reserves - but we were ready, and have (kind of) conquered this mountain, or at least we're in the process of it!

One of my saving graces has been this board - I bought it a few years ago in Auckland, from The Warehouse Stationary, and knew it would come in handy... one day! I sit down and menu-plan one night per week; generally over the weekend, and then transfer that up on here. I also then write up my schedule for the week, and add reminders for hubby to follow up with that week on the other side (such as - wash towels on Tuesday and Thursday, change and wash sheets on Wednesday etc)!

Hubby has turned into Superman, and has taken on all the housework, and the cooking - I menu plan, and I write up the grocery list for the coming week; and then he implements it! Recipes are listed with where to find them, or quick and easy instructions, in a red exercise book, and kept up in the kitchen within easy eye-sight of the oven! And then he is let loose in the kitchen, he has always claimed he could cook - but I had seen very little proof of this; until now! I need to take some photos of his skills, as he has managed to improve on some of my fundamental recipes already, and it is only the beginning of week 2! I think I might have some competition on who 'owns' the kitchen very soon; not really what I was expecting!!!!

One thing that has helped me focus and complete my menu planning, is to have a basic set up to follow - I have always found menu planning difficult, and it is because I am VERY easily distracted! I start searching, and then come across all these amazing sites with recipes that tickle my tastebuds, and BANG - there goes two hours, and I have achieved nothing!

So; this is how I am currently instituting my menu-planning, and am able to stay on track, and focus:

Monday - Meatfree-Monday
Tuesday - Chicken on Tuesday
Wednesday - Red Meat Wednesday
Thursday - *Low Fodmap Thursday
Friday - Family Favourite Friday
Saturday - Saturday Stew / Soup
Sunday - Sunday Salad

*Low Fodmap Thursday basically just means looking for specific low fodmap diet recipes either in the two recipe books I just bought by Sue Shepherd, or on-line! It is starting to look like hubby might have some more serious issues concerning food allergies; so we're trying to look at our diet again and rethink what we're eating for his sake. I am also having to adjust most other recipes I cook to make them 'fit' better for him, but currently we're not going 'hard-out' Low Fodmap; just easing our way in to see if it helps him.

So this gives me a basic guideline on where to start, I then also look at what meat we have in the freezer (for example - mince, stirfry, hock, silverside etc), and plan my meals around these first, before filling out the rest and adding the necessary cuts to the shopping list.

So for example - this week the menu looks like this:

Monday - Carrot and Lentil Patties, Sauteed Red Cabbage and Fresh Green Veggies.

Tuesday - Nadia Lim's Apricot Chicken on Rice (without the actual apricots, as we have none in the pantry, and grocery day is Wednesday)!

Wednesday - Spaghetti Bolognase

Thursday - Stirfry on Basmati Rice (with a honey, soy and ginger dressing)

Friday - **Hot chips with bacon and eggs.

Saturday - **Sausages and Baked Beans on Toast

Sunday - Tuna, Pasta and Veggie Salad

** In my defence, we are heading away for our very FIRST weekend without the kids, and my parents are looking after them (together with a couple of other family / friends), so I had to plan a meal that not only would the kids eat quickly and happily, but that my parents would also enjoy! They have the option of homemade soup and toast on Saturday night though as well, in case sausages and baked beans don't thrill them as much as it does our kids!

I am contemplating reinstating 'Menu-Planning Monday' back into my blogging, as nothing else has been happening here for a while. On my organisation board - you may have noticed that Monday night is set aside for blogging, in the hopes of re-sparking my desire to write in here; I have missed sharing SO many big occasions with you all. In these past two months alone we have had:

- Button break her leg
- 'lil M turn 3
- Button turn 5, and start school
- Button's 5th birthday party, combined with my 40th
- Me being offered a full-time position (finally) and accepting it
- My big brother and his wife come over for the weekend from Australia, for the first time in 5 years.

And this is just our little family, that list doesn't even include any milestones we have been a part of with extended family and/or friends, nor our church family! It has been a VERY busy few months here (I don't know how I would have fitted in full-time work over that time), and I regret having not blogged about it all; but no point in looking backwards! I do have piles of photos to prove these events happened though... so will share a couple of them:

My big brother and sister-in-law with 'lil M, Button and Munchkin (nephew).

Me with my two sister-in-laws!

Me in my sexy new work uniform!!!!
Just got out of having to hide in black, and here I am now having to wear charcoal on black on black every single day to work... 
I want colour people, I don't like feeling like I am going to a funeral every time I walk out of the house; never mind, it could be worse!!!!!!

And just to finish it off; 
here are my two little cuties, and my superman!

And now I need to sign off, as I have to organise my lunch for tomorrow and everything else that goes with being a 'working woman'!!!!

Monday, 27 April 2015

I Know... I Know

I am slack!

Blogging and me just haven't been buddies for a while - both writing and reading; I'm just not into it at the moment!

But I have, once again, given up Facebook - you can read about the first time I quit Facebook here, however when we moved south Hubby suggested I reactivated my account. Which I happily did... but it was once again taking over my life, and has now been re-deactivated, for good this time!

Maybe - this will leave a little more room for blogging? It has certainly freed up my day considerably, and has also meant I have naturally minimised my time on Instagram as well! Weird, but true!

I promised all my Facebook friends 'more blogging', so I thought I'd better prove myself, and show up with at least a small post this month.

So here it is, and there go I... it is after 10pm, and I need to head to bed; the kids have been waking up by 5:30am and I am over it and fairly over-tired as well!

Maybe I will see you all again shortly...

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Such A Change...

There has been so many changes for our little family since we have moved down south... most of them the kids have handled like pro's, we are exceptionally proud of them. I need to do another post on why this has been the best thing to have happened to us as a family, but for now I just want to focus on one area of change, that has for me, been the biggest thing to come to terms with.

We have had a minimise our food budget, quite considerably (by nearly $100 a fortnight in fact), and I have discovered that a lot of things are slightly more expensive down here - there is no PaknSave; so we're trying to find the cheapest possible options between Countdown and New World! My friend Rachel wrote a post recently on how she feeds her family of 6 on $120 per week, and gave me some great idea's that I can try here as well! However, we are dealing with allergies on top of it all; so things are always going to cost us a little bit more...

One of the things I have discovered that help make up for this discrepancy, is the community... yep, our local community! We have a weekly Farmers Market, which I try to pop down to every week and limit myself to $20 worth of fruit and veggies; there is also a Community Garden (which I have yet to take advantage of, but I know the prices are considerably cheaper than the Supermarkets), and there are neighbours! We are SO blessed, as one of our neighbours is a prolific gardener, and not only has he supplied us with almost all of the plants in our little veggie patch; but he also will often offer us fresh produce from his own HUGE garden! This is what we got tonight:

Fresh Beetroot, Corn on the Cob, Apple Cucumbers and normal cucumbers!

On top of that, another family within the church, and all our own families down here, have also been blessing us with fruit and veggies. This has meant I haven't had to buy more than a bag or two of carrots and one broccoli for the past month, and fruit has been keep in good supply as well.

This has also meant I have had to learn to cook veggies (and fruit) that I have never tried cooking before, quite often not even eaten much of myself in the past - things such as red cabbages, marrow, apple cucumbers etc. We don't want anything to go to waste (although unfortunately a few things have), so Google has become my best friend for inspiration and new recipes!

Another thing we have been doing to try and minimise the grocery bill, is minimise our meat-eating! In Auckland we were HUGE meat-eaters, it was an every night staple, and while we talked about how we should cut it down - the walk never followed the talk! But it has now... and let me say, my children are AMAZING! 

Mini Roast Vegetables (potato and carrot), Slow-Cooked Lemon Courgette and Buttered Balsamic Lentils (and chickpeas in this case)!

Crispy Polenta Chippies, Sautéed Red Cabbage and Buttered Balsamic Lentils (they were such a hit the first time I made them, hubby asked for them again)!

My son, just 3-4 months ago, was still the fussiest child I had ever met... seriously, his most common dinner was porridge with peaches and milk. I stopped catering for him and his minimal palate, and started cooking more adventurously, making him taste everything - but always offering porridge as the back-up when he refused it; and slowly over time (I had thought it would never happen), he has now started eating with us! I can't remember the last time I had to make him porridge for dinner, I am SO proud of him! Sometimes it takes a good dose of tomato sauce to convince him to eat it, and most times it takes a bit of bribery - but almost every single night, his plate is now empty!

Proof - the kids plates tonight, 3-4 mouthfuls left each and that was it!
Everything else was eaten...

But not only have I been adventuring into changing things up at the dinner table, but trying other things as well:

Black Bean and Date Chocolate Brownie
Cooked to celebrate a good friends birthday...

Gluten-Free ad Dairy-Free Carrot Cake; 
full of carrot, marrow, apple and raisins!
Cooked to celebrate my Mother-In-Laws birthday, 
she is very health-concious, so I knew she'd appreciate this!

Apple and Buckwheat Fritters
GREAT for breakfast, snacks and even dinner!

Homemade Soup with gorgeous green silverbeet fritters!

Quinoa Tabbouleh and Mini Meat Loaves...
(I don't know how to move the photo around, so you can see the smiley face!) 

Click the link above to go direct to the recipe.

There are a number of other things I have implemented, or want to implement, as a way of saving money on the grocery bill - menu planning, estimating grocery lists before going, using all the stuff in our cupboard and fridge, taking cash only to the supermarket, taking a 'minimal spending challenge' etc. Some of these I want to elaborate on in other posts, some are just idea's buzzing around in my head still.

I am devouring 'Frugal Living' and 'Wholefood' Blogs at the moment, trying to source tips that could help me - I still don't always manage to stay in budget (this past week was a prime example); but hopefully, we might be able to encourage each other along the way, if you're walking the same journey as me!

What are your best tips for minimising the grocery bills?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Cheap As You Chose (Homemade) Gluten-Free Cereal!

Cheap-As-You-Chose Gluten-Free Cereal!

I promised you our Cereal recipe, and I have finally set aside some time to share it with you... despite the fact it is after 10pm already (seriously, I don't know where this evening has gone), it IS going to happen!

Have you heard of, used, bought or know of Rice Flakes? These are the little life savers in this cereal... they are as cheap as anything (e.g. we just bought a whole kilogram for little more than $5), and fairly easy to source. We get ours from Bin Inn, but I have seen them in the Supermarkets in Auckland (although not down here sadly), and most Indian Spice Stores also stock them.

Lots of people already use them for a type of breakfast, but they boil them in water or milk, and turn them into a mush-like consistency (much like wet weetbix or porridge). However, we didn't want that... so have been playing around with them a bit; and here is what we have come up with; feel free to play around with this yourself, and come up with something that suits you and your family.

Dry fry your rice flakes - use as many as you want to, we started off fairly small, as we didn't know whether or not it would work, and if we'd even like it. So in a frying pan, on low heat, add your rice flakes - no oil, and keep a fairly close eye on them; they can burn quite easily if left unattended. We also throw in pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds at this stage... be creative and use your imagination! Sesame and poppy seeds, linseeds / flaxseeds; pretty much anything seed-like, or nuts, would work I imagine.

Once your rice flakes are nice and golden, take them off the heat and then go crazy to your hearts content. We add cinnamon, ground linseed, raisins, gluten-free cornflakes and keep it fairly simple. This is mainly for my husbands sake - he is gluten and dairy free, and he also can't stomach much dried fruit, raisins are about his limit. It also helps keep the cost low, which was the whole point of this exercise for us.

But there is so much potential, and so much more you can add - sliced nuts, chia seeds, quinoa flakes, millet puffs, dried fruit to your hearts content, other spices (nutmeg etc)!

Seriously - it is like a match made in heaven; the kids eat it, I enjoy it and hubby often has it for lunch as well, if we're running low on gluten-free bread! Throw your favourite milk or yoghurt in, add some fresh fruit on top - and eat away, knowing it is not only good on your wallet, but good in your tummy!

Be warned, the rice flakes still turn to mush fairly quickly - but then so do most other cereals!

Please let me know if you try this, and how you like it - might give us some inspiration for trying out new flavours with it! Would love your feedback...

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

PS - Have I told you...

* I was going to do a 'proper' blog post tonight; but my silly computer decided to freeze up (probably because it got such a fright when I started it up); and there went thirty minutes as I tried sorting it all out *sigh*!

Silly Selfies

* I am SO busy, I don't even know how I will ever fit in a full-time job... nor how I did it 'alone' 10 hours a day, 5 days a week in our previous life!

Picnic by the lake.

* I have another job interview this Thursday...

* Looks like I may have to go back to my teaching roots after all; ah well, would be good to make use of that degree at some stage!

Bush walk...

* I am doing an 8 week course on Nutrition, online... very basic, a bit scary for me; but none-the-less it is good to try and revitilise that gray matter, and do something outside my comfort zone again!

* On that note - I might be even quieter on here for the next 5-6 weeks as I complete this! I have just started week 3 tonight, so still in the early stages!

Feeding the ducks...

* While I am not actually complaining that summer has finally arrived; lets just say that I got MORE accomplished today than I have for the past fortnight. Today the temp was under 28oC, rather than over 30oC like it has been for over two weeks!

More ducks, more lake, more feeding, more cuteness!

* I have got idea's for blog posts coming out my ears, I still think in blog posts; but as usual, time just isn't in my favour! I am hoping going back to full-time work might help me to learn to be more organised, but I am not holding my breath!

* I have got at least two more recipes to share with you; but probably MORE in reality, it is just that all I can remember is two this late at night!

We had a lot of silverbeet, hubby told me I should make silverbeet fritters - I laughed!
It turns out my sis-in-law has a recipe for silverbeet fritter; so I made them & he loved them!

* 'lil M, my baby, officially starts Kindy next week... *sigh*!

* My big girl, Button, starts school in three months - eeeeek, where has the time gone!?!

More bush walking...

* We are LOVING it down here, and we love our house... I am planning on doing a blog photo-tour of our house, one day! I have taken some video, but still not taken any photos - shame on me, that is SO unusual!

Now, THIS is how you eat chocolate!

* I want to also write a blog post on why we're loving it down here so much now, and what good it has done all of us... seriously; so much good! But not necessarily in the ways you'd be expecting (nor was I expecting)!

Another selfie - if I don't take 'em, don't nobody take 'em!!!!

* I am trying SO very hard to come up with some more points... but am failing miserably; think it is time to hit the sack, and call it a blog post!

Last selfie - promise!