26 August 2015

What the photos don’t tell you…

A picture speaks a thousand words. Or does it?

I had this thought recently, when scrolling through my albums. For while the photos therein conjure up so many memories, often it is what the photo doesn’t show that is the most memorable.

Take these recent photos, for example...

1. Photo: Two gorgeous girls, filled with sisterly love.

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What the photo doesn’t show? The meltdown from both that occurred no more than 2.5 seconds after the picture was snapped.

2. Photo: An awesome family walk up the mountain.

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What the photo doesn’t show?  C searching for trolls when we crossed a couple bridges.  Adorable!

3. Photo: A family walk in the morning sunshine.

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What the photo doesn’t show? The endless negotiation with a spirited 3.5 year old who got bored of sitting in the pram about 10 minutes in. And, the fact said child insisted on wearing slippers, and gloves, then demanded that I fed her rice crackers while I pushed the pram(because she apparently forgot how to feed herself?).

4. Photo: A smiley happy swaddled baby.

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What the photo doesn’t show? It was 4am. Enough said …

5. Photo: Fun at the supermarket.

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What the photo doesn’t show? C running around the shop playing hide and seek with another little girl who also had a trolley. And declaring that they were now ‘best friends’.

6. Photo: A gorgeous ‘fog covered’ view from Mt Ainslie.

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What the photo doesn’t show? Just how peaceful and mind-calming this walk was. With little J snoozing on my chest, and the silence.

7. Photo: Mum and baby cuddles.

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What the photo doesn’t show? The fact that little J vomited on me seconds later.

8. Photo: A morning bike ride.

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What the photo doesn’t show? Miss C losing interest in riding her bike, and me carrying it – while pushing the pram – for 2 kms.

Goes to show that you can’t always trust a photo eh?

24 August 2015

Blood Orange and Frangelico Marmalade & a recipe

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The lovely guys at Red Belly Citrus surprised me with a big box of blood oranges recently. And while most got put to good use as juice and afternoon snacks, and some were gifted to fellow orange-lovers, I couldn’t resist trying my hand at marmalade. For I am quite partial to the citrus-based spread, and I knew that it would be a welcomed addition to our pantry.

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I followed this recipe – and well it was pretty straight-forward to prepare.

Blood oranges, sliced thinly and soaked overnight in water….

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Simmered for about 45 minutes, before adding the Frangelico and jam setting sugar. Then boiled until setting point.

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So much marmalade goodness!

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This yielded a lot of marmalade. I bottled some – and used the remainder for a sticky marmalade chicken. 

Simply – chicken thighs, thrown into the slow cooker with 1 cup marmalade, 2 tbs water, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp minced garlic and 1 tsp minced ginger – and cooked on low for 6 hours.

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Served on quinoa, with a side of vegetables.

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Sticky, sweet and delicious!

What about you? Do you make your own jam or marmalade?

17 August 2015

Smoky BBQ pulled pork

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Friends, one thing I’m a little short on at the moment is time. The early mornings are becoming earlier mornings, and even that’s not making my in-tray smaller. If anything its getting bigger!

But there was something on our dinner table recently that benefited from time. Lots of time.

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9  hours be to be precise.

Smoky BBQ pulled pork.

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Pork shoulder, honey, BBQ rub, BBQ sauce and bourbon. Into a slow cooker – and cooked for 9 hours.

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Yes 9.

And, if I ever needed reminding just how wonderful slow cooking can be – I could barely get the pork out of the cooker in order to shred it when those 9 hours were up. It literally felt apart between my tongs.

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Yes. It was as good as it looks!

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Melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork – with a rich smoky BBQ sauce. Served on some toasted bread rolls – with a good amount of coleslaw and salad on the side.

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Yes sometimes it pays to find the time!

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I followed this recipe –  You’ve gotta give it a try!

12 August 2015

The ABCs of me

I’ve seen this post doing the rounds of the cyber world and, always loving to learn a little more about my blog-friends, thought it would be fun to complete.

A- Age: 34 (although I always have to stop and think when asked this question…for my brain still thinks I am younger haha)

B – Biggest fear: Birds. And this turns into a fully fledged paranoia when spring and swooping season arrives. To the extent I will not walk along new paths unless I am 100% sure there are no swooping birds.

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C – Current Time: 10.23am.

D – Drink you last had – A sugar-free redbull. Yes it was another early morning today.

E – Easiest person to talk to – Definitely the husband. Unless I am sleep deprived, then I suspect he would not say the same thing.

F – Favourite song: Well my choice of music has been commandeered by Miss C of late – as she insists we put on Ed Sheeran whenever we are in the car. Needless to say I have heard “Thinking out loud” on repeat for the last month….

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G – Grossest memory: Being puked on (by Miss C) in the middle of a restaurant, repeatedly. Resulting in a very squishy, smelly and hasty exit! Seriously, it was even in my shoes!

H – Hometown – I grew up in Melbourne, but am now very happy to call Canberra my home. I love how surrounded by the bush we are,l with so many great walks so close to home!

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I – In love with: My little family (awwwwww)

J - Jealous of: Those with endless hours to exercise.

K – Killed someone: Um…no??!!

L – Longest relationship: My current one! Almost 11 years and going strong!

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M- Middle Name: Michelle.  My Elvis-loving Mum wanted “Lisa Marie”, but my Dad drew the line…

N – Number of siblings: One brother and 3 half sisters!

O – One wish:  I truly wish that everyone can find happiness.

P – Person who you last called: I made a work call.

Q – Question you’re always asked: “How do you fit it all in?”. With the help of family and very early mornings lol

R – Reason to live: Family. Fitness. Good food. Great wine.

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S – Song you last sang:  See (f) above. Actually, I lie. It was the Wiggles theme song.

T – Time you woke up: Today it was 5am. Yesterday it was 4am. Saturday it was 3am.  See (q) above lol.

U- Underwear colour: Purple haha

V – Vacation Destination: Holidays? huh, what are those??? We do have a cruise planned for next February though (can.not.wait!)

W – Worst habit: Caffeine. Addicted.

X - X-rays you’ve had: Hmm I can’t remember any from my adult life. I think I may have had one on my foot when I was younger, but it didn’t reveal anything broken.

Y – Your favourite food: Seriously, I could not pick just one – I love most food! If I had to narrow it down I would say cheese, pizza, hearty slow cooked stews, spicy chicken salads.  And all the fun stuff.

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Z – Zodiac Sign – I’m a Gemini through and through.

So there you have it, a little further insight into me. Although you probably could have guessed what most of the answers would be.

05 August 2015

6 months

Somehow, just somehow, the littlest member of our family turned 6 months old yesterday. Time sure flies when you are having fun!

Gone are the sleepy newborn days (I miss these),  and the witching hours (I don't miss these!). And in their place we have a happy, bright and bubbly baby who endlessly brings smiles to our faces.

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Little J (or Broccoli, J-J, Jo-Jo as she gets called), sprouted 2 teeth when she turned 5 months, and has wasted no time in putting those chompers to good use. I suspect the top two are not too far away either.

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She still loves tummy time (which is a far-cry from her sister who hated it). Not quite sitting yet, but I’m sure it won’t be too long.

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We started solids when she turned five months, farex and pureed fruits and vegetables, although it is only in the last week that she has shown any real interest. Just once a day, for now.

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Breastfeeding is, gratefully, going strong – and she is quite the efficient feeder. We are nursing around 4 times per day, then as needed overnight (usually 2 or 3 times, sometimes more, sometimes less).

Little J absolutely adores her big sister – and no-one can make her laugh quite like Miss C can. And if you ever want your heart to spontaneously melt, just listen to the sound of your children giggling together…..

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Other loves? Cuddles, being around people, bath time, and the Wiggles!

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Oh and seeing her daddy walk in the room after work is sure to bring a big smile and excited squeals. And so my heart continues to melt…

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And just for comparison’s sake – C v J at 6 months… definitely showing different hair colour and skin tone (but it seems we make babies with cheeky smiles!!)

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So to my littlest daughter on your half birthday, thankyou.

Thankyou for bring such joy into our family, and being the special little girl that you are. We are truly so excited to see where the next 6 months takes us!

03 August 2015

Chicken and mushroom quinoa risotto

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Happy Monday lovely people! Let’s start the week off with a recent dinner that wasn’t created in the slow cooked.

Yes, rare I know. Recently, at least.

I can’t even remember where the inspiration for this dish came from. It probably had something to do with my ongoing love affair with quinoa, and a bunch of vegetables in the crisper that needed to be used.

Quinoa, garlic , shallots and white wine – simmered with ladles of stock until cooked.

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Finished with a mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and chicken…

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And served with a big sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

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The end result being a lovely new take on an old classic, full of protein and flavour, but without the heaviness of a regular risotto.

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Chicken and mushroom quinoa risotto (serves 2 – 3)

  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 600ml stock
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 400g cooked chicken, diced
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • Handful spinach
  • Grated parmesan to serve
  1. Place stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté shallots and garlic in a little olive oil in a large frypan, until starting to soften. Add the quinoa, stirring to coat.
  3. Add the wine, and allow to evaporate.
  4. Add the warm stock – a ladleful at a time, simmering over a medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring as needed, for 15 minutes or so, or until all the stock has been added and the quinoa is cooked.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, and allow to heat through.
  6. Divide among serving bowls and top with grated parmesan.

What about you? Do you have a favourite risotto combination?