Family Friendly Chicken Soup!

Ok, so I know I’ve been a little quiet around these parts lately….but I promise I have a good excuse!

For those who haven’t heard via social media, We are expecting another little bundle of joy due in September this year, and life has been a bit of a blur since we found out! Luckily, I’ve not experienced the same level or nausea and sickness that I suffered the first time around, but it’s been a whole different ball game trying to grow a new human at the same time as keeping the toddler alive, so life hasn’t been without its challenges!

Despite all that’s been going on, Little Miss Toddler has been living the hight life lately: With a recent overseas holiday to Hawaii, followed closely by some over-indulgent Easter celebrations and school holiday fun with her cousins, it seems her poor little immune system has taken a beating and she’s ended up with a cold.

Like any Mama, I hate to see my little girl unwell so after a long sleepless night full of sniffles and vaporisers, I headed straight to the supermarket this morning to get the ingredients for our family’s favourite Chicken Soup.  It’s a winning dinner in our household and it’s also the perfect healthy remedy for those nasty colds and flu that start to rear their head at this time of year.

I’ve since had lots of people ask me for the recipe, so I thought I’d share it here in case like me, you’ve got a house full or sick people and need your health (and your sanity) restored!

Family Friendly Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Litre Chicken Stock
  • 1 Litre Vegetable Stock
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 x potato chopped into cubes
  • 1 x 400g packet of pre-cut Vege’s (or 400g freshly cut Vege’s)
  • 1 x family size cooked BBQ Chicken
  • 100g Vermicelli noodles

Method:

  1. Throw your veggie mix into the slow cooker, and add the onion, garlic and potato.  Pour the chicken and vegetable stock over the top.
  2. Using a fork, pull the flesh off the BBQ chicken in largish chunks and throw it into the slow cooker with all the of the veggies. If necessary, top the pot up with water to ensure that the liquid is covering all of the chicken and veggies.
  3. Turn your slow cooker onto ‘Low’ to cook your soup slowly for 6 hours or alternatively you can cook it on the ‘High’ setting for 3 hours if you can’t wait that long!
  4. 15 mins before your soup is ready, throw in the vermicelli noodles to soften. Your soup is ready to eat once all the veggies are cooked through, your noodles are soft and your chicken is falling apart beautifully!

It’s that easy! I recommend serving this soup with some delicious crusty bread, and for the little ones, simply drain out some of the liquid so that they can eat the soup chunks with a fork instead of a spoon (it’s a lot less messy that way)!

Variation:  If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also substitute the cooked BBQ chook with a whole (uncooked) chicken. For this method, after washing and patting dry the chicken, simply place the entire bird into the pot and then add the other ingredients. Once cooked, simply remove the entire chicken from the pot (careful as they tend to fall apart and you don’t want bones in your soup).  Shred the meat off the carcass with a fork and hen return the flesh to the pot. Add the noodles, stir until they soften, and serve!

What’s your go-to cold and flu remedy at your place?

“I LOVE your Potato Salad” – Potato Salad

So I have been meaning to make this potato salad recipe that I found on the Thermomix recipe community for a while now, but I just didn’t have the time or inclination over the Christmas/Holiday period.

Today however, I decided that I was going to make the aptly named “I Love your Potato Salad” Potato Salad and see whether or not it lived up to the hype.

I was a little sceptical at first, as I’ve NEVER made a good potato salad in the past, but since the Thermomix makes everything better/easier, I thought I’d give it a crack.

Now despite being super easy, this recipe is by no means fat free. I mean, there are six eggs involved people! SIX! It says you can use less, but I figure go hard, or go home right? Six eggs it is.

I’ve also attempted making my own mayonnaise before but it was an epic failure, so I was pleased that the success of this recipe did not depend on being Martha Stewart-esque, and you could use the bottled variety.

With all my ingredients ready to roll, I got started. I’ve gotta say, prep-wise this recipe was a cinch and it wasn’t long before my completed potato salad sat beautifully before me.

I tasted it…and my brain exploded. Holy best potato salad EVER!!!! I’m not even exaggerating. This potato salad is the stuff ‘bring a plate’ BBQ’s are made of! I had to force myself to stop ‘tasting’ it and hide it in the fridge so that I wouldn’t be tempted to finish the bowl.

Please do me a favour: If you’ve been meaning to try this recipe, or if this is the first you’ve heard of it, do yourself a favour and GO GET A KILO OF POTATOES AND SIX EGGS. STAT!

You can thank me later.

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Easy Summer Fruit Pops

Summer Fruit Pops

This is my favourite time of year…

I’ve always loved the heat of Summer but this year it’s shaping up to be a real scorcher! In an effort to keep cool, I’ve been making these yummy Summer Fruit Pops and they’re so easy and delicious I thought I’d share the recipe here so you guys can enjoy them at home too!

These icy cold treats are perfect to make with the kids, And despite having originally made them for the little ones, as soon as the freezer opens the big kids (read: adults) will come running too!

Summer Fruit Pops

Ingredients:

  • Mango (two cheeks) sliced
  • Rasberries (a handful)
  • Blueberries (a handful)
  • Strawberries topped and sliced (half a punnet)
  • A Banana (medium sized – sliced)
  • Fresh orange juice (or any other juice of choice)

You’ll also need:

  • Ice-block moulds OR
  • Plastic cups and Paddle pop sticks

Method:

Now comes the really hard part: (I’m joking, you could totally make these bad-boys with your eyes closed)

  1. Divide the fruit up evenly amongst the ice-block moulds leaving a little space at top of each one to add your liquid (this helps the fruit bind together and freeze).
  2. Pour your juice into each mould until the fruit is covered and any gaps have been filled (careful not to overfill).
  3. Add the ice block handles to the mould, or if you’re using plastic cups slide your paddle pop sticks into the centre of each cup before adding the juice.
  4. Pop your beautifully made ice-blocks into the freezer and leave to set (takes approximately two hours depending on the size of ice-block).

And just like that, you’re done! These ice-blocks are so easy to make and are so versatile: You can add any fruit that you like and the combinations are endless! I’m a big fan of the banana and mango, but pineapple would also be divine! I made 6 ice-blocks with this mixture, but you can just add more/less fruit depending on your moulds.

I got my moulds from IKEA for a whopping $2.99

Summer Fruit Pops

Tell Me: What’s your favourite thing to make/eat during Summer?

I Totally Baked! (Christmas Crackle Puddings)

Anyone who knows me knows that baking isn’t my strong point however when I heard two of my fave foodie bloggers Lauren from Create Bake Make and Lucy from Bake Play Smile had put together a recipe E-book filled with sweet delectable Christmas recipes, I knew that I HAD to buy one!  Don’t get me wrong, I love eating delicious Christmas treats, but I’m not a precise baker so my cakes/tarts/biscuits rarely turn out edible due to me ‘guesstimating’ what a cup of flower is and ‘improvising’ by using brown sugar instead of caster sugar….you get the idea!

Christmas Crackle Puddings

A cracker of a Crackle, if I do say so myself!

So Imagine my surprise when I attempted to make these gorgeous little Christmas Crackle Puddings and they actually worked, AND looked quite good too! (In my own, very modest opinion!).  Like always, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly and I took my own liberties when it came to decorating my little puddings (Ie: One M&M per pudding simply wasn’t enough, and those little silver balls that I added were just sitting in my pantry begging to be strewn across the top of one of these bad boys!) but they were so simple to make, even I couldn’t stuff it up!

In fact,these little Puds turned out so well, I was actually able to take them to a Christmas BBQ and openly admit that I’d made them myself! A few people didn’t believe that they were mine….yep, they were that good! Not only that,they were all gobbled up so quickly that I wasn’t left with that awkward moment where you have to take your sad little creations home with you. Worst walk of shame EVER! Lucky for me, for once in my life I got to strut back to my car, empty platter in hand feeling all accomplished and up-myself. And that, my friends, is what Christmas baking is all about!

If you’ve still got Christmas baking to do, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of this little Christmas Recipe E-book so you too can be all smug and up-yourself at the next Christmas family gathering! If you’d like to win one I’m currently giving a copy away over at Pineapple Traders so pop over and enter for your chance to WIN!

The E-book I keep carrying on about!

This is the recipe E-book I keep going on about!

Tell me: What’s your favourite thing to make/eat at Christmas time?

What’s for Dinner? (Disaster)

I decided I was going to make Spaghetti Bolognaise for dinner tonight. The last few days have been kinda rough so I wanted to make a family favourite that we could all sit down and enjoy with smiles on our faces and pasta in our guts.

Everybody knows that you don’t need to be a chef to make a good Spag Bol. In fact, it’s usually the staple dish that most pimply-faced teenagers perfect when they’ve been forced to move out of home. So keeping that in mind, plus the fact that I make mine in the Thermomix meaning that I don’t even have to chop or stir it, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I had this one in the bag. Turns out, despite me having made this dish a gazillion times in the past…tonight’s version went a little awry.

First, I put all the veggie ingredients in the Thermomix and blitzed them so that my adult child (aka hubby) couldn’t taste the celery and carrot. I then added the mince, seasoning and spices and cooked the whole lot for 10 mins. While this was happening I got my Multitasking-Mama on and cleaned the kitchen, tidied away some  toys and marvelled at my own superwoman skills to get shit done. I’m amazing!

After finishing up with a few wipes of the kitchen counter, I heard the familiar Thermo beep and methodically went to add the remaining ingredients to the sauce.  As I was doing so, I glanced over to see the Un-opened packet of mince still sitting on the bench top. Farrrrk! Turns out I’d forgotten to put meat, also known as the staple ingredient. into my Spag Bol sauce.

For some people, this would have been enough to make them throw in the tea-towel and just get Chinese.  Not this gal! I’d had the week from hell and I was TOTES going to turn it around!  I filled the saucepan with water and went to put it on the boil.  As I did, I underestimated the weight of the saucepan and/or the strength of my wrist and instead poured the water all over my kitchen floor. Cue more expletives. It’s cool. I got this. I mopped up the water, added more to the saucepan, popped it on stove, and waited for it to boil so I could throw the spaghetti in.

I came back about 20 mins later, thinking the pasta would be ready.  It wasn’t. It was in fact still in the packet on the bench. Are you guys seeing a pattern here? Deep Breaths innnnnnnnn and ouuuuuuuuut.

Eventually, the spaghetti was cooking, the sauce was cooking, and I was in business Yo! I looked at the Thermomix to see how long was left of the timer. OH.SHIT. I’d just realised that I’d forgotten to hit the ‘reverse’ function on the Thermomix blades…meaning that I wasn’t just stirring and cooking the sauce….I was also slicing through it with razor sharp blades. Yup. Spaghetti soup here we come!

In the end, I dished up the now-cooked spaghetti and the soupy Spag Bol sauce along with the side of garlic bread that was ‘slightly’ burnt because I’d forgotten it was in the oven amidst the chaos. Of course, my wonderful little family scoffed down every mouthful like it was going out of style and no one said a word about the state of their meal (they’re well-trained).

Afterwards, I sat back and quietly congratulated myself on another culinary disaster success! I really am a woman of MANY talents. Let me know if you’d like me to share the recipe…?

Now it’s your turn: What’s your biggest cooking disaster to date?

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Easy Like Sunday Morning: I’m Makin’ Waffles!

Easy Like Sunday Morning Waffles

Around these parts, Sunday = Family day! Family day generally involves lazing about in our PJ’s and a little breakfast cook-up by yours truly.  Lately, I’ve stepped it up a notch in the breakfast stakes, thanks to our fancy new waffle maker!

I actually bought the waffle maker for Trav’s Fathers Day this year.  For those of you that know me, you’ll know what a big deal this was as I don’t like to encourage such frivolous, impractical gifts. I DESPISE worthless appliances like fairy floss makers, egg cookers, slushy makers etc so this was a pretty big sacrifice for me to make!

In stark contrast, those of you that know Trav will also know that ridiculously pointless appliances are precisesly the sort of thing that he lives for *sigh*. So being the ever-so-selfless and generous wife that I am,  I swallowed my pride, morals and standards and bought him an embarrassing waffle maker appliance that makes stupid heart-shaped waffles (I know…you don’t need to say it! I KNOW).

Predictably upon receipt of this ridiculous gift, Trav was beyond stoked, and shockingly he was in the mood for waffles!.  Because it was Fathers day, I felt obliged to fulfil his request so off I trudged to the kitchen to make the man some friggin heart-shaped waffles. I measured out the ingredients (sorta), fired up the waffle maker, and I was good to go.

Now I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but when it did, it totally took me by surprise.  Perhaps it was the smell of the waffles wafting through our house. Perhaps it was while I drowned the plate of waffles in delectable maple syrup. I can’t be 100% sure, but what I am sure of is that I sat down, swallowed my pride and scoffed that ridiculous waffle. And it was freaking delicious. As i sat there, shovelling bite after bite into my mouth,  wondering what the hell I’d just done, I realised my worst fears had just eventuated. I’m not proud to admit this so publicly, but I feel it’s important to just come out and say it: I LOVED it. I loved that stupid, pointless ridiculous appliance! And because I’m all about facing my fears,  I’m taking the brave step to share this embarrassing fact with you all.

I wasn’t totally accepting of this fact at first. I’ll be honest, I felt a barrage of confusing emotions…Who am I? What have I done? Does this mean I’m going to now buy a hot dog maker?  I wasn’t able to answer these questions… all I do know is that within that moment, home-made waffles were the BOMB.COM and I was totally, unequivocally HOOKED on them. (Noooooooooooooo!)

Once I’d made my peace with my newfound obsession I then went about making waffles for breakfast EVERY SUNDAY. The first couple of times I made them I used the recipe provided with the machine, but I’ll be honest, it was WAY too much effort for this lazy cook! It required the separation of egg yolks, beating until soft peaks formed, yadda yadda yadda. Despite the ethereal taste, it all seemed a bit too hard (I’d be prepping for longer than it took to actually cook and eat the waffles!). So one weekend I did a quick google search to see if I could find a Thermomix recipe that was a little easier….and I found it! A dream recipe that was quick, easy AND crazy delicious! It was the Easy Peasy Thermomix Waffles recipe. And you guys need to try it!

Waffles with Banana and Blueberries

I pretty much followed the recipe with a few exceptions (you know me!).  I omitted the bi-carb soda based on some reviews noting that it’s inclusion in the batter made the mix a little gritty. Also, because I didn’t have buttermilk on hand (does anyone?), I substituted it with regular milk and just added vinegar, and this seemed to work just fine.

The batter made more than enough waffles for the 3 of us, so maybe half the mix if you are only cooking for 2 or 3 of you (or you can make a total pig of yourself and eat them all. Who am I to judge?!).

To finish off these delectable home-made waffles, I would throw some fresh blueberries and sliced banana on top (FYI fruit cancels out the sugary syrup, making them a totes healthy option, and really no different to having an apple for breakfast). I’d then drown the lot in maple syrup (Trav would also add ice-cream, but I’m not even going to go there!).

These waffles are so good that you just HAVE to try them! – and if you don’t have a waffle iron, well I totally recommend you buy one just so you can experience the home-made waffle nirvana like I now do every Sunday (Seriously).  For those of you eager beavers who are already typing ‘waffle maker’ into Google, let me save you the trouble. This is the one we have and it’s small enough to hide in the cupboard when people come over (in case they’re like I used to be, and would make judgements on your character based on this one stupid appliance alone). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention! The best part about this little waffle maker is that it also has a little dial for ‘crisp control’, meaning you can make them as crunchy (or not crunchy) as you like! Genius!

Donkey from Shrek making waffles

Donkey and I have the same idea!

I know that some of you who’re reading this will be wondering whether or not you can ever forgive me for my misfortunes, and I totally get that. All I ask is that you try them and if you can resist their waffley goodness, well I guess you’re a bigger person then I am! (PS I didn’t mean you’re literally a bigger person than me, lets face it, with the amount of waffles I’ve been consuming that’s pretty unlikely!)

Tell me: What’s your favourite Sunday breakfast? And do also hate worthless appliances?

Meatless Monday: Quinoa and Zucchini(less) Fritters

Quinoa and Zucchini(less) Fritters

Since my birthday celebrations early last week, I’ve been eating like a woman possessed and no food is safe around me.  It’s not gone unnoticed, but it’s GOT TO STOP!!!  So it was with my ever-expanding waistline in mind, that I started  searching for  healthy recipes that are quick and family-friendly too. That’s when I came across this gem: Quinoa and Zucchini Fritters by The Organised Housewife!

Unlike The Organised Housewife, I’m anything BUT organised, so despite have bought all the ingredients for this recipe prior to making the fritters, I’d used up all of my zucchini up making a different dish earlier in the week, so I was forced to substitute the zucchini with broccoli and carrot instead (and it totally worked!). What can I say: These fritters are delicious! Even the husband ate them and he’s not a fan of veggies in any way, shape or form. Win!

My attempt at the Organised Housewife's recipe!

The thing that makes these fritters different (and delicious) is the inclusion of the quinoa. Despite loving the stuff and eating a lot of it after Violet was born (it’s very good for Mama’s who are recovering after child birth due to it’s high protein/iron levels), I’d never really cooked it from scratch, so I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to prepare (just like cooking rice). The result however is much lighter and easier to digest too.

If you have no idea how to cook quinoa (like me), The Organised Houswife has kindly shared how to cook perfect quinoa over on her blog too! She really lives up to her name, doesn’t she?

We had our fritters with a little side salad and some sweet chilli sauce, but they’d also be delicious on a burger instead of a meat patty, or chopped up with some pasta or noodles perhaps!

Have you cooked with quinoa before? I’d love to hear your recipes!