Saturday, 9 November 2013

Fingers In Lots of Pies

Right now it feels like I have dipped my fingers in lots of different pies... just enough to notice the fillings and get all enthusiastic, but not enough to feel the heat or taste it yet!

I am not even sure where to start; it feels like there is just SO much to do, and barely enough time to breathe, let alone start exploring even further or deeper! I just need a couple of hours EVERY.SINGLE.DAY when I am fresh, to be able to sit down and focus on one thing and delve a little deeper into it.


So once more I have bookmarked, highlighted and got tabs up on my computer and the tablet; hoping to find a bit of time each day to sit and read up a little more...

There is the cooking side of things - I am LOVING all the inspirational websites and recipes out on the Internet, the other night I tried Eggplant Moussaka for the first time:

It was divine... and hubby said the best meal I have ever cooked!

I have also been trying my hand at different snack foods - hubby has had to totally come off fructose as he reacts as badly to it as he does gluten, and he has also discovered refined sugar doesn't sit well in his stomach! So he has been refined sugar-free for three weeks now, and has never felt better! This however, has stretched me somewhat in finding snack foods he can eat and enjoy - his current favourite ones are these Quinoa and Cheddar Cheese Cups from the lovely Eleanor at Petite Kitchen, the recipe I have linked up with is shared from a different blog - the original recipe is in her latest Recipe Journal which I have a copy of! He LOVES them, thankfully...

I have also been trying to cut back the refined sugar in the kids snacks and tried my hand at adapting a traditional Fruit Ball recipe a friend shared with me, and using honey instead:

Prune (left) and Apricot (right) fruit balls...

I then adapted it further, knowing hubby can't stomach the dried fruit, and made some 'Seed and Nut Balls' for him (made with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, linseed and almonds):

Seed and Nut Balls

Will share the recipes soon, but they're still not the right consistency; so want to try a couple of different things first...

I 'discovered' The Stone Soup the other day, and have been devouring her recipes and idea's - 5 'whole food' ingredients, and dinner ready in 10-15 minutes; now that's my kind of cooking! Unfortunately the kids aren't really as ready for some of these things as we are, but they are still great inspiration and idea's! For example - I whipped up a quick, healthy and delicious lunch for me and hubby today; Chickpea and Smoked Tuna Salad (courtesy of me, but inspired by Stone Soup)! I also made a quick and easy Pasta and Sausage Salad for the kids last night, same thing - my 'recipe' but inspired by Stonesoup!

I am also making our own stock - this way I know it is gluten-free and safe for the family (have I mentioned here that Button has had to go gluten-free as well? We took her off gluten a while back just to trial it, but didn't really notice much difference - so after a lazy day and not having any g-f bread in the house, we let her eat 'normal' food - never again; two late-night-strip-the-bed scenes have left us convinced we are on the right track and she is gluten-intolerant like her father):

Veggie Stock bubbling on the stove...

But after using so many fresh veggies, it felt so wasteful to just throw them away... so I puréed them up in my Food Processor, and froze them for future use as a base for soup!

I have also discovered a quick and simple recipe for home-made chippies, which you can find here (Ange - I think any potato works, we just buy the cheapest 5kg bag at any one time, and have never had an issue, you might just have to play around with the cooking times; my sis-in-law tried it and says it took 5 minutes per side in their microwave)!


And also tried my hand at home-made Baked Beans - another Petite Kitchen recipe:


Despite the fact I added three tins of beans, instead of the one she recommended in the recipe - it is still very strong, and my kids don't actually like it; hubby and I do though *grin*! So I will be trying a couple of other different recipes I have found also, in order to find one the kids like... Baked Beans on Toast, a kiwi staple, and one every child deserves to enjoy!


So this gives you some idea's of the cooking / baking I have been trying out lately... with many more to come!

Then there is the Green Cleaning I have been wanting to try... and the simplifying and organising my life / house / family / schedule as well! 

Urghhh - so many idea's, so little time...


My philosophy with the cleaning is as one cleaner is finished, I find a green and cheaper alternative that I can make from ingredients already at my disposal. The only exclusions to this so far is the Washing Powder and Dishwashing Powder, which are the first two things I wanted to get rid of... Unfortunately, after all my research (and I have done a LOT on these two things in particular), I do actually need to go out and buy some extra ingredients! So they are currently still on hold, but once I have got the extra cash to pop down to our local BinInn, I will be buying up in bulk and saving us heaps in the future - I have chosen the recipes; but until I have tested them I don't want to share them here just in case... But I know BinInn has everything I need, as I have rung them and asked; so it'll just be a one-stop-shop! I also know they have a lot of g-f items even cheaper than the supermarket, and also grains and other things I can use for safe cooking (such a quinoa), as we have popped in a couple of times when passing and checked prices.


I have got a box of Agee Preserving Jars coming my way as well, with the idea of purchasing some plastic lids for them off Trade-Me and using them to sort and organise and store everything I need in the pantry... I really want to start stocking more nuts and seeds, as well as dried chickpeas and beans for cooking - but right now, there is just not enough space or storage containers to go down that track. If you have any spare Agee Preserving Jars - please send them my way as well; I will use them all, I am certain!


I have also discovered any way of 'upcycling' old 1kg yoghurt containers - they sit so nicely together, and we are now using them for freezing hubby's lunches (he always takes left-overs, a habit we got into before I started making g-f bread for him). I have also discovered that masking tape is my BEST FRIEND when it comes to naming everything! It goes on anything, it is easy to write on, it comes off everything cleanly... so my freezer is full of containers with masking tape now, and I can name and date things appropriately, far to excited about such a small thing - but what a difference:


I will also be using this system to name all my Agee Jars once I have them in my little hot hands... this way I can swap and change things around according to our needs as the family grows and changes!

Anyway - that is a quick update from my end, so much more going on than just this also, but my 'free' time is up, and now I must go relieve hubby of the child-sitting duties and give him a break as well.


4 comments :

Maxine D said...

Busy, busy, busy - and how rewarding it will all be when you are finally up and running with all the ingredients you need, neatly stored and labelled.
Love and blessings
M

Amy said...

I had to laugh reading about your love of masking tape - I've been using it since I worked at Subway years ago and just LOVE it...freezer labels particularly, but also clothes containers, toy containers, herb jars, currants and prunes, even our hall and linen cupboards at our old place (as it got confusing which cupboard we were talking about!). Hehe. Did you cook the eggplant mousakka exactly to the recipe? We've had eggplant parmesana a few times recently but found it a bi too strong, so wondering if this might be better. Your fruit balls look great - what a great idea! I've got a carrot slice recipe you might be interested in - no added sugar and should be tweak-able for gf (friend of mine created it). Sounds like you are getting up to heaps in the kitchen! I've bookmarked Stone Soup too, thanks!

Sammy said...

Wow you have been busy. Such nice business though, creating and making. Love it x

Little Gumnut said...

goodness, all your cooking is making me hungry! Love the look of those dried fruit balls. Well done for being so creative in your cooking with all the restrictions. Sounds delicious!