Cook, Eat: Twice Baked Sweetcorn and Bacon Potatoes Recipe

Vegetable prices here in New Zealand are absolutely ridiculous this summer.  If mortgaging your house to keep up a steady supply of the green gold aka, avocados is not your jam, then you’ll be looking to purchase in-season produce whose price point reflects the fact that it’s IN SEASON lol.

And that brings us to corn.

I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t love fresh, kiwi grown sweetcorn.  It’s the perfect summer vege, it stays fresh in its husk in the fridge, travels well and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

After travelling in Japan for 2 weeks, we had been missing our kiwi fruit and vegetables like crazy so every meal at the moment revolves around salad and veges.  Last night I whipped up some Twice Baked Sweetcorn and Bacon Potatoes using fresh as, LeaderBrand sweetcorn and spinach.  We’ve got a winner here folks, these corn taties and variations on them will be a menu regular in our house from now on.  Sub the bacon for a hearty Meat Free Monday Meal, or switch your protein and dice up some leftover bbq sausages etc.  This is a super easy recipe to get creative with and prep early so you’re not rushing at dinner time.

I wish I could take credit for this amazing recipe but I can’t lol.  For more yummy, fresh ways to eat NZ sweetcorn, check out the recipes section over at www.leaderbrand.co.nz

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe

Twice Baked Sweetcorn and Bacon Potatoes
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4 large potatoes, washed
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 2 cobs LeaderBrand sweetcorn kernels, cut from corn
  4. 6 rashers bacon cut into small pieces
  5. 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  6. 1/2 cup cream or milk
  7. 1/2 cup sour cream
  8. 1/2 pack LeaderBrand spinach
  9. 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  10. Salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat over to 180℃.
  2. 2. Place potatoes on lined baking tray, poke holes in them, bake for 45 mins or until soft through. Remove from oven, allow to cool.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, cook bacon pieces for 2 minutes, add corn kernels and stir for a further 2 mins. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
  4. 4. Cut a large flat slice off the top of baked potatoes. Using a tsp, scoop out the insides into a large bowl being careful to leave a thin layer of potato around the skin so it doesn't tear.
  5. 5. Add corn, bacon, sour cream, milk or cream, chopped spinach and parsley to the bowl and mix with potato. Season with S&P.
  6. 6. Using a tsp, fill the potato skins with the bacon and corn mix and place back on the oven tray. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake in the oven for 20mins or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately.
http://www.thebestnest.co.nz/
New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe

Family Travel Japan: Day 3, Ueno Park

After declaring it an anime-shopping-free day, we decided to make the most of the beautiful weather in Tokyo so headed for Ueno Park.  In Cherry Blossom season, this is one of the spots to be in Tokyo, however, as we are visiting in winter I was willing to take a gamble and have a wander.  Home to many museums and Ueno Zoo, 3 temples and one shrine, Ueno Park is a beautiful place to wile away the hours.  

I was actually really stressed out on Tuesday when we visited.  Nix has been really, really hard work so far on this trip and he’s sucking the life out of me, so it was with great delight that I saw a freaking peony garden, IN FULL BLOOM no less, entry fee ¥600 ($7.40NZD).  Dave saw that and was like, go ahead babe, I’ll hang with the boys.

Hallelujah.

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One thing to remember about travelling with kids is that it can be quite tricky to steal a little quiet time.  Dave and I find that we are so tired each night, we usually go to bed right after the boys so there’s not a lot of alone time to regroup.  Ergo, a wander through some Japanese peony gardens was exactly what the doctor ordered.

We took our time exploring the park grounds, finally heading down a hill to Shinobazu Pond and the Bentendo Temple.  This was such a great spot to wile away the sunny winter afternoon.  The temple stands in the middle of the pond so there was lots for the boys to explore and look at, delicious food vendors (we enjoyed chicken katsu and crab skewers), as well as a lovely spot to sit and enjoy a cold Asahi.

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As it was our last night in Tokyo we couldn’t resist the urge to head back to Shibuya and see the crossing in all of its after work, neon glory.  I seriously LOVE this place, the energy is amazing but at the same time mellow and fun.  Such a strange juxtaposition.  We wandered and found the statue of Hachiko, the gorgeously loyal dog who would wait at the train station every day for his master Ueno to return, even after his passing, #heartmelt!  We also saw a full Mario Cart tour stopped at the lights at Shibuya Crossing.  This was something Dave and I really wanted to do but you need to hold an international drivers license so make sure you grab one of those in New Zealand before you leave home.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Shibuya

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For only the second time (gasp), I popped into a shop I wanted to look in – Zara was having a huge sale so naturally I had a quick browse and nabbed four t shirts for $28 NZD!  Everything in a size L is always on sale here, it’s the one time I’ve genuinely been stoked about my size lol.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Shibuya

One thing we are definitely missing is fruit and vegetables.  The meat, seafood and carb situation is plentiful and awesome but we love our fresh produce so we stopped to pick up some dinner from the mind-blowing Tokyu Food Show at Shibuya Station.  I don’t even know where to start here.  Think, every type of uber-fresh seafood and meat in a small format market, complete with butchers, fishmongers preparing your purchase, but, in a fancy metropolitan supermarket.  It was crazy packed, frenetic but so, so amazing.  There was a whole ‘restaurant’ section in the market where you could find anything under the sun so Ethan picked out some sushi and gyoza while Nix wanted (more) chicken katzu and some potato wedges.  Dave and I ate some crazy omelette-y meat/rice combo from a teeny restaurant around the corner from our house.  Full tummies = happy Jacks.

So, a different kind of day here, and one just as enjoyable.  The parks here are beautiful and so worth exploring.  It’s super easy when travelling to get in the trap of ‘paying’ for your experiences in a country, but you just don’t have to at all.  Let yourself wander unscheduled and you may start to finally find that ‘I’m on holiday feeling’.

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Summer like a Kiwi – What happens above 23°

January marks the second, ‘official’ month of New Zealand summer.  We Kiwi’s are comfortably settled into the annual, seasonal slow-down we look forward to every year.  The kids have chilled out after the excitement of Santa’s visit, Mum’s everywhere have celebrated ‘un-decking the halls’ and returning Christmas to the boxes in the garage and everyone sadly mourned the last slice of festive ham and wedge of Pavlova.

If you missed the mania of the Boxing Day sales, tragic New Year’s Eve jandal blow-outs were easily rectified by those crazy enough to brave the malls and give the beach a miss for at least a couple of hours, joining those shoppers equipping themselves with everything they need to smash their NY resolutions once and for all.

The Summer of 2018 is definitely shaping up as one to remember.  In true NZ style, the weather has given us highs and lows (!! lol !!).  The gaudy, golden sunshine and blistering temps of the week before New Years gave many campers revelling in #ThatTentLife a false sense of security, as evidenced by the appearance of many quintessential Kiwi behaviours, only exhibited when the mercury begins to rise;

What happens in New Zealand when the temps rise above 23°?

  • An unwritten law in NZ requires many to revisit the ‘Togs, togs, togs……undies rule’ each summer.  If you’re unsure or have forgotten the accepted rule of thumb for ‘how far is too far’ to wear a speedo from the water, then please watch the public service announcement in the link above.
  • Unlike togs, there is less regulation around jandals ie, you can wear them everywhere for the period December-March (Summer here in New Zealand), and then again from April-November.
  • Here in New Zealand, we punch above our weight 24-7 – but if you’re talking about the ozone layer……..yeah we have none.  Hot times put everyone at risk of Coconut Ice Sunburn.  This kiwi fave is only acceptable when talking fudge, NOT tan lines so slip, slop, slap constantly.
  • No-one is too old for a swim in a paddling pool.  No-one.
  • Chilly-Bin ownership is mandatory, as is taking your chilly-bin everywhere with you in Summer.
  • Similar to birds flying in formation, New Zealanders possess a synchronicity that sees us switch from ice cream to ice blocks as soon as the temperature hits 23°.  This proven phenomenon is backed up with retail stats and the age-old debate surrounding the Best Fruju Flavour of All Time.  Of course, the big talking point amongst those participating in Summer this year, is the irresistible mash-up of  Kiwi icons Fruju and L&P, firing up the Fruju-flavour-frenzy even more!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Tip Top Ice Cream Summer Fruju

How Our Frozen Summer Faves got even BETTER

Like most parents, Dave and I are becoming more and more aware of how the food we feed the boys affects their health, mood and wellbeing.  Nixies shortened GI tract following Hirschsprung’s surgery means food moves through his little system super fast and adverse effects on his mood and behaviour become apparent really quickly.  Avoiding those dreaded artificial food additives can seem daunting but is made infinitely easier when you know that one company has eliminated all the baddies from their entire range of yummy products!

Who?  Tip Top that’s who.

The commitment to only using natural flavours and colours is a big deal, especially when you do a tiny bit of research about the alternatives.  You can’t really talk ice cream without thinking about chocolate right?  Tip Top has replaced dodgy additive E155 – Brown HT (made from coal tar, a suspected carcinogen and mutagen that is banned in the US, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Belgium) and is now using simple, caramelized sugar to achieve that rich chocolate brown colour we all expect in our fave Trumpets.  There are super-cool, and surprising, alternatives in place throughout the Tip Top range that sees beetroot, spirulina, gardenia and turmeric extracts replace the synthetic dyes and coal or petroleum derived additives that other companies are still using today.

We Kiwis are the best at just about everything we do, so we want our awesome, NZ made products to reflect that.  Gone are the days of ‘numbers = colours and flavours’, we are discerning consumers with a growing consciousness towards what we put in our bodies.  As we make better choices we are expecting the producers of our favourite foods to do the same.  It’s pretty awesome to see Tip Top, a name synonymous with New Zealand, take the lead and make our summer treats #GoodtoShare for everyone.

This post was made possible by the good peeps at Tip Top!

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Cook, Eat – Homemade Burger Patty Recipe

Nothing beats homemade hamburgers and with BBQ season quickly approaching, getting a go-to burger patty recipe locked, loaded and ready to go is a kiwi summer essential.

I tried this recipe last night for the first time and it’s a winner.  These burgers made an easy, delicious Friday night dinner that ticked all the boxes for the whole family.

Burger Patty Recipe

Recipe provided courtesy of New MacKenzie Burger Buns, available in selected New World and Pak ‘n’ Save stores in White Rye and Sprouted Grain varieties.

Ingredients:

Patties (makes 6)

750g premium beef mince

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 large onion, grated

1 egg lightly whisked

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2tsp Tabasco sauce

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil

To serve:

6 MacKenzie White Rye Burger Buns

150g cheese of your choice

Mustard

Lettuce

Sliced tomatoes

Tomato relish

Method:

Mix the beef mince, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, parsley salt & pepper and Tabasco sauce in a large bowl.  Divide into equal portions.

Cook in olive oil in the pan over medium-low heat or on the BBQ.

Melt cheese on top of patties when you flip them.

Lightly toast MacKenzie White Rye Burger Buns in the oven or on the BBQ.

Build burgers to taste and serve!

MacKenzie Chef Tips;

  • Avoid patty shrinkage by pressing a shallow ‘dimple’ in the middle of the patty before you cook.
  • Do not salt beef until patties are formed to avoid them drying out.

 

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse……..Recycle!

This Mum Service Announcement (MSA) is sponsored by GLAD.

Life with kids can easily become an all-consuming cycle of coveting, collecting, consuming and then (sneakily lol) culling when the opportunity arises.  Kids are hoarders, I am not, plus, I’m on a bit of a decluttering binge at the moment, so any method of reusing what we have and reducing waste goes straight to the top of my ‘List of Awesome Things’.

Time for a confession; before I began working with GLAD on this post, I had never washed and reused a Snap Lock Bag.

I know, I know, I’m a terrible person……….but, I had simply not considered the idea that the little, do-everything bags that have been staples in my kitchen’s second-draw my entire adult life, were robust enough to live a life more fulfilling than a single trip to school and back.

Now I know better.  Every GLAD Snap Lock Resealable Bag deserved a second, third, fourth chance at life, which is the crux of today’s MSA; no GLAD bag deserves to be discarded after single use.  Heck, find those bad boys a spot in the cupboard, housing a pack of playing cards or a Lego set and let them retire, worry-free without fear of the landfill.

Check out all the ways Dave and I came up with to reuse ONE Snap Lock Bag after it returned from a successful mission to kindy, transporting snacks surplus to lunchbox capacity;

So here’s the thing right, I know what you’re all thinking.  I do.  Ya’ll are thinking, ‘that’s all well and good, rehome the happy Glad Bags, give them another lease on life, but what happens when Nixon rips the side seam right open?  Then, surely, it’s time for the landfill?”

No Lego is safe in a Snap Lock back with a ripped seam, this is a FACT.  What is also a fact is that GLAD Snap Lock bags, ClingWrap, ZipSlide bags and Matchware containers can all be recycled, – this is another thing I had NO idea about!  Terracycle and GLAD have partnered to create a program which is free to join and allows you to ship your (hopefully!) well used and reused GLAD products off for recycling – also for free!  Click here to sign-up and find out how the program works.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Reuse Recycle Glad Sandwich Bags

In our house, we love our little GLAD Snap Lock bags even more now that we are reusing and recycling them.  Available in a range of sizes, they keep food fresher for longer – perfect for the pantry plus, they are BPA free which makes them safe to reuse over and over again, even in the freezer and microwave. 

The truth is out guys, knowledge is power and it’s time to put an end to single-use GLAD abuse. Join with me today.  Find a collection in need of safe containment (hint: look for those ‘special rocks’ under your kid’s beds) and send an old sandwich bag back to work, saving a Snap Lock from the landfill.  Together we can make a change.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Reuse Recycle Glad Sandwich Bags

 

 

 

That Retail Life – New on Supermarket Shelves this Month

I’m seeing a lot of awesome new products each week so thought it was about time I curated these new releases into a regular ‘Hot List’ that’s short and snappy, giving you guys the lowdown on the latest and greatest from brands we love.

 I Love Pies Spiced Chickpea & Spinach Pie RRP $4.99

I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch today, tucking into the latest addition to the I Love Pies Family.  I’m a massive pie fan, rarely passing up the opportunity to enjoy a classic mince ‘n cheese but my appetite for meat isn’t what it once was.  Give me a hearty, tasty vegetarian option and I’m a happy little kiwi.  That’s exactly what I Love Pies have delivered here; a satisfying pie (with that trademark, to-die-for sour cream pastry!), grown-up flavours and a perfect combination of NZ spinach, chickpeas and a sauce to rave about.  Pop these in your freezer for a Meat Free Monday meal in a pinch!

Available in the chiller section of supermarkets and gourmet food stores.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Chickpea Spinach Pie

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Cadbury Spider ChocolateCadbury Marvellous Creations Spider RRP $4.69

I love a good throwback and these two new creations from Cadbury certainly nail the brief!  The Marvellous Creations range is always a little bit different and surprising but in a totally delicious way.  Chocolate lovers won’t be disappointed with the two new varieties.  Choc Raspberry and Choc Orange are now on shelves, reimagined as a mashup with the classic Spider dessert we all loved in the ’80’s.  Don’t be fooled into passing these off as more suited to a younger palette, these are full fruity flavours that definitely satisfy my very ‘adult’ sweet tooth.

In stores now.

Cadbury Favourites – Kiwi Edition RRP $18.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Cadbury Kiwi Favourites

This Christmas I’d bet money that this new Favourites assortment will be winging it’s way all across the globe as New Zealanders send a little taste of home off to their loved ones abroad.  This is actually a genius product, forget about the Turkish Delight vs Cherry Ripe argument once and for all and just give in to the favourites everyone loves.

Think Caramilk, Peppy Chew, Buzz Bar and Perky Nana – every option’s a winner, right?

Available now at supermarkets and dairies across the country.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Meadows Canned MushroomsMeadows Canned Mushrooms 220gm & 425gm RRP $2.19 & $4.69

Mushroom lovers rejoice!  Every day meals, last minute throw-togethers or special occasion triumphs just got a wee bit easier with the launch of Meadows luscious range of canned mushrooms.  More times than I care to remember, I’ve opened the fridge to find my paper mushroom bag crumpled in a corner with the last remaining soldiers a broken mess inside.  As a mushroom lover, this is obviously a travesty but it also throws a bit of a spanner in the works when you were counting on your beloved mushrooms to steal the show at dinner time.

Available in 4 varieties; Whole in Brine, Sliced in Brine, Sliced in Garlic Sauce and Sliced in Sauce, Meadows canned mushrooms have cemented their place in our home as a pantry staple.  They are unarguably delicious but also contain selenium, potassium and B7 vitamins making them a nutritious addition to any meal.

For more Mushroomy goodness from Meadows, check out this incredible mushroom pie recipe or head to www.meadowmushrooms.co.nz

Available at all major supermarkets and produce stores nationwide.

Nutella Morning Mood Jars

Every person in our house loves Nutella.  It’s obviously genetic or it could be that it’s just too yum to deny.  Thick, buttery white toast spread with Nutella’s hazelnut magic is an excellent way to put a smile on any grumpy pre-teen’s face and is a trick I use quite often as needed lol.

Limited edition jars have just arrived in New Zealand, each labelled with a different morning mood – yes grumpy is one of the options, along with cheeky, smiley, legendary and loved.

Nutella 220g RRP $4.19, Nutella 400g RRP $6.81, Nutella 750g RRP $10.49

Available in supermarkets nationwide.

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New Regal Manuka Salmon Range

Marlborough King Salmon is such a bloody gem, isn’t it?  I could eat it every day and never get sick of it.  Regal have knocked it out of the park with their brand new range of salmon, Regal Manuka, which is just as incredible as it sounds.  Think King Salmon, cured with premium sea salt, smoked over Manuka wood and then sliced – AMAZING.  

Salmon works beautifully in our household as the retail portion sizes are easy to work with and there’s never any waste because it’s insanely delicious.  You’d be hard-pressed to convince me of a more versatile protein source that’s suited to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The new range of Regal Manuka Cold Smoked Salmon is available in 2 x 50g, 2 x 100g convenient twin packs and Regal Double Manuka Wood Roasted Salmon is available in a 200g pack.

Available from supermarkets nationwide.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Regal Salmon

Speight’s Summit Ultra Low Carb Lager RRP $21.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Speight's Low Carb Beer 

Summer (and touch rugby season!) is almost here and that means it’s time for cold beer/s after a hot day and a great evening game.  Sounds like bliss as I sit huddled under a nana-blanket at my desk lol.  Each season it seems like everyone adopts a few more healthy habits than the one before.  As such Speight’s is making it easy for beer lovers to cut carbs without sacrificing the flavour of a great lager.  Summit Ultra Low Carb beer contains 75% fewer carbs than the average content of leading NZ beer.  That’s a massive reduction – looks like I may have found my summer drop!

Because no one ever said “Get that man a kale smoothie”

Available in 12 packs.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Akarua PInot GrisAkarua Pinot Gris 2016 RRP $29

From the cool climate of Central Otago comes Akaroa’s 2016 Pinot Gris.  A perfect match for lighter summer meals of fish, salads, veges and flavourful BBQ meats, this is a wine I’m really looking forward to enjoying this summer.

Described as having a bouquet of white peach, pear blossom and a hint of ginger with ripe pears, notes of nectarine and orange peel across the palette.  Serve, share and enjoy!

Available at leading restaurants, selected supermarkets, Glengarry and other fine wine retailers nationwide.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Rosé RRP $29.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Rockburn Stolen Kiss

Speaking of Summer…….Hello Rosé and hello Rockburn’s limited edition Stolen Kiss Rosé!  Released this week as we switched over to daylight saving, the story of grapes stolen from Rockburn’s highly awarded Pint Noir makes a delicious back-story to a wine that’s fast building a cult-like following here in New Zealand.  Winemaker Malcolm Rees-Francis’ tasting notes describe “candy-floss and crème-brûlée aromas, leading into a flirtatious toffee-apple and simmering strawberry palate smeared with cherry lipgloss”.  If that doesn’t wet your whistle for hot days and cold wine then I’m sorry, you’re dead to me!

Available in selected fine wine stores including Glengarry and online via www.rockburn.co.nz

 

Five Cook Once, Eat twice Family Meal Ideas

No-one’s got time for endless hours of food prep – at least no one I know.  Or maybe just me.  Either way………saving time in the kitchen allows much more time for other enjoyable pursuits, such as leaving said kitchen and venturing out to eat food other, more talented artisans than yourself have prepared.

The days are finally getting longer and my family is itching to spend more time outdoors in the evenings.  As such, I’m getting my ducks in a row and starting to think of ways Dave and I can create ‘Cook Once, Eat Twice’ meals and incorporate them into our weekly meal planning a bit more often.

Obviously, time-saving is a big reason why anyone would meal plan or want to smash out two meals in one prep session, but it also makes economic sense.  Bulk buying or meal planning so you can make use of larger cuts of meat can save you heaps at the grocery store and encourage seasonal eating which is always less expensive and exactly what our bodies crave at any given time of year.

Saving on energy costs is yet another way to benefit from your brilliant meal-planning and forward-thinking – pat yourselves on the back!  Heating an oven to cook one meal and utilising ONE oven rack makes no sense.  Turn that sucker on and load it up to maximise your power usage.  Even better, level-up your Kitchen Super Hero status by cooking during your off-peak, FREE Hour of Power from Electric Kiwi.  If you haven’t switched yet do it!  The 9-5pm off-peak slot is perfect for us SAHMs, or get up at 6am and get dinner ready before the kids wake.

Let’s get into it, here are 5 family-friendly meal ideas that will help you cook once but eat twice!

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5 Ways to Cook Once, Eat Twice!

  1. Meatballs – instead of purchasing a 500g pack of beef, chicken or pork mince, lookout for specials and pick up a kilogram pack.  Whip up an extra-large batch of meatballs, freeze half or go meatball crazy two nights in a row.  Think spaghetti, stir fry, meatball subs, on top of fried rice, with a banging salad, or try my own delicious Thai Chicken Meatball Recipe here.
  2. The Kiwi Roast – Pop a roast on the weekly menu, bulk the meal out with heaps of seasonal veggies and a salad and you’ll be good to go for two nights!  De-bone the meat and get creative with some hearty pizzas or pies on night two.
  3. Tacos/fajitas/stir-fry – Using schnitzel cuts of meat is a great way to lighten up your family’s servings of animal protein – a little goes a long way.  Lightly pan fry or bake your schnitzel (beef, chicken or pork), divide in two and season half for tacos or fajitas while the other half is ready for inclusion into your fave stir-fry or stroganoff recipe.  Try my Shrimp Fajita Recipe here.
  4. Chili – Try a vegetarian version and have a meat-free meal once a week!  Chili is amazing just served in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese, but try it in a quesadilla on night 2, or on a pizza, in a toastie or – my fave – pick up some large roasting potatoes, twice roast them and top with your chili!  Soooo good!
  5. BBQ Chicken Salad / Pasta Bake – I always buy in bulk when I see chicken breast on sale for $9.99kg.  Dave has started slicing the breasts in half through the thickness as this saves on cooking time and helps decrease our portion sizes.  Marinate your chicken and cook on the bbq for a quick, easy, light meal.  Serve with a fresh, green salad and you’re ticking all the nutrition boxes.  For night two, cut up your leftover chicken and combine with some seasonal veges (try grating courgette and carrot if your kids are picky eaters), pasta and your favourite sauce for a hearty pasta bake.

If you’ve got any amazing Cook Once, Eat Twice meal ideas please add them in the comments below, as I absolutely LOVE expanding our easy-dinner menu xx

To take advantage of Electric Kiwi’s free daily Hour of Power, make the switch here, it’s fast, easy and they do all the work for you – isn’t that a change lol!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Cook Once Eat twice

Image credit: Nicole Abalde.

Thanks so much to Electric Kiwi for partnering with us this winter, love your work guys!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Electric Kiwi

The LunchBox Refresh – 5 Days, Zero Sandwiches

Week one, Term 3.

Uniforms, PE gear, homework, bus money, making lunches…………..it’s THAT time again!

Because we’re all about keeping it real, it’s totally ok to admit that you’re already tired of packing the lunch-boxes after just one week back at school.  My bet is the kids are probably getting sick of eating them too!  School lunches are tricky; what my boys will devour one day is returned untouched the next in a seemingly random, arbitrary lottery of lunch-time success or failure.

But, the answer is right there ^ VARIETY.  Some of us are creatures of habit and prefer the same lunch, eaten at the same time each day – many children are like this too, in which case, find what they love and stick with it.  Nixon prefers the predictable but Ethan would be happy to never see another ham and cheese sandwich in his lunch box ever again.  I feel ya son!

So, I challenged myself to come up with some different school lunch options, NONE of which included a sandwich.  Not as difficult as it sounds, plus, I know Ethan loves leftovers so that’s always another option.  I figure that by alternating a normal lunch with a ‘sandwich free’ lunch, we’ll stave off lunch-box fatigue – at least for a little while this term.  These also tick the box for Nix as there is a familiar fave, a ‘constant’ in there each day, in this instance, a Dole Fruit Bowl which he loves.

 

Pikelets & Peanut Butter

Who doesn’t LOVE pikelets???  Next time you’re standing over the frying pan, whip up a double batch and freeze half for lunches.  If you freeze them on the baking tray they won’t stick together when you transfer them to a sandwich bag or container for storage : )

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On the menu: pikelets, peanut butter, apple, dried cranberries, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice.

Frittata & Friends

I was a bit stumped for my next idea so came up with the idea of packing lunch based upon a colour scheme!  This would be fab for picky eaters whom you are trying to gently encourage to experiment a little more.  Everything looks better when it’s colour-coordinated after all!  I based this lunch around yellow and orange food, but there are so many options.  Totally easy and do-able once a week.

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On the menu:  Ham & cheese mini-frittata, banana yoghurt, banana, carrot sticks, Dole Fruit Bowl – Mango & Custard, popcorn.

A Sausage Roll for Lunch!

This was def Ethan’s favourite, and the kiwi classic sausage roll tastes almost as good cold as it does hot (at least according to a bottomless pit, 12 year old boy!).

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On the menu: Sausage roll, pear, watermelon slices, bliss balls, Dole Fruit Bowl – Blueberries & Custard.

Cheese & Bacon Twist

This is an easy-to-bake idea that glams up plain old bread.  Try this calzone recipe and tweak the filling to suit your kids tatses.  Yum!

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On the menu: Cheese and bacon calzone, kiwi fruit, mandarin, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice, marmite and cheese bagel crisps.

Roast Chicken Sliders

We usually have a roast chicken on the menu each week and there’s always leftovers so I’ve repurposed them into a kid-friendly lunch option on a tasty, soft slider bun.  Nix struggles with full-size bread rolls so sliders work really well for him. I was expecting to find these in the bread aisle but I picked these up from our local supermarket, baked in-house!

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On the menu: Roast chicken sliders, kiwi fruit, pear, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice, bliss balls.

Hopefully, these ideas will give you some lunch-box inspo, and may even eliminate at least one of the #schoolrunsighs I know we can all relate to on a daily basis!  Finding your kid’s go-to snack like the Dole Fruit Bowls, that’s easy to slip into lunch-boxes and after school activity bags can be a life-saver when you’re in a hurry and running out the door.


This post was sponsored by Dole, thanks for helping to keep me writing!

Mushroom Pie Recipe

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Mushroom Pie RecipeMushrooms are up there on my faves list, alongside avocados and cheese.  All three can usually be added to anything to instantly improve it.

Aside from cake.

Anyway, this recipe is amazing, I wish I could take credit for it (not that clever!) but I plan on making these ALL the time, the addition of lemon zest is genius I tell you!  I used my pie maker and the recipe made four large pies.  These delish Mushroom Pies are perfect winter warmers, they’re super-quick to whip up, inexpensive, filling and make an easy addition to your family meal plan.

Mushroom Pies Recipe

Recipe reproduced courtesy of meadowmushrooms.co.nz

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

2 onions, sliced 

2 cloves garlic, sliced

250g White Button ‘Pie’ Mushrooms

1 Tbsp fresh thyme

1/4 cup cream (I used 1/2 cup)

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt & pepper

1 packet flaky puff pastry sheets

1 egg

Method

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Mushroom Pie Recipe

  1. Heat oil and butter, sauté onions, garlic, mushrooms and thyme.
  2. Add cream and lemon zest and season to taste
  3. Grease muffin trays, pie tin or pie maker.
  4. Cut out pastry rounds to line bases, prick all over with fork.
  5. Fill with mushroom mixture
  6. Cover with pastry lid, brush edges with water and seal pies.
  7. Brush with whisked egg and bake for 30 minutes in over or until golden, or follow directions on pie maker.
  8. Enjoy with pesto and winter salad.

 

Midwinter Mexican – Sizzling Shrimp Fajitas Recipe

Faa-heaters.

Fajitas.

Yay!

Now that you can pronounce fajitas, let’s figure out exactly what we’re talking about before we dive in and get cooking.

My first fajita experience was in a popular Tex-Mex chain restaurant in the US.  Piles of sizzling sliced meats, sliced, sauteed capsicums and onions served to the table in a HOT cast iron skillet with warm flour taco tortillas (tor-tea-aas), salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese and sour cream served on the side.  It’s a sight to see and the fun of assembling your fajitas makes eating a really tactile experience.  Fajitas are also great for a family meal as the platter presentation works perfectly for sharing and keeping picky eaters happy.

The difference between tacos and fajitas?  Assembly and toppings.

The term fajitas actually refers to the filling and means ‘little strip’, referencing how the meat and vegetables are cut and cooked.  Tacos are served pre-filled, whereas fajitas are a DIY experience at the table, tacos generally have fresh, raw toppings whereas fajitas are served with sizzling veggies in the pan.

I love them both, like, I LOVE THEM BOTH, but let’s cook some Farrah’s fajitas!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Shrimp Fajitas Recipe

 

Sizzling Shrimp Fajitas Recipe

Sound a bit tricky??  Fajitas are super easy, check out the 1 min video below if you need some convincing : )

Ingredients

500gm raw shrimp cutlets

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp crushed garlic

Salt and pepper to season

2 capsicums, different colours, cut into strips

1 red onion cut into strips

1 x Farrah’s Fajita Spice Mix (available in the Mexican aisle at your supermarket)

1 x pack of Farrah’s Taco Tortillas (available in the Mexican aisle at your supermarket)

To Serve

Prep shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese on a platter

Lime wedges to serve

Cilantro, sour cream, salsa and hot sauce to serve.

Method

Heat oil in cast iron skillet or pan.

Add garlic and shrimp.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir through half the pack of Farrah’s Fajita Spice Mix.

Cook until shrimp exterior is pink with red tails and the flesh is slightly opaque and a little “white” in color.

Remove shrimp from skillet and de-tail if you haven’t already.

Add capsicum and onion to skillet with the remainder of the Farrah’s Fajita Spice Mix.  Cook, stirring until veggies are just softening.

Return shrimp to pan, bring back up to temp.

Serve straight to the table, taking care with the hot pan.

Enjoy fajitas with warm Farrah’s Taco Tortillas, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, lime wedges, cilantro, sour cream, salsa and hot sauce to serve.

I guarantee your family will love this meal and it’s SO quick and easy to whip up, get the kids in the kitchen to prep the cold toppings while you take care of those delicious shrimp!

I actually could eat this meal every day.  The fajita mix from Farrah’s is an amazing, smoky blend of spices that pairs perfectly with many different proteins.  Don’t forget the squeeze of fresh lime on these, you’ll be thanking me!

Enjoy!


Mexican dishes are on the menu in our house every week and I’m so keen to get you guys excited about trying some new dinner ideas that I have 5 amazing prize packs to give away thanks to Farrah’s!

  • 2 x Main prize winners: Farrah’s Mexican Range; including Farrah’s taco tortillas + spice mixes across the range. Enough to share!
  • 3 x Runners up: Fajita Mexican Pack; including new Fajita Spice Mix + Farrah;s Taco Tortillas.

To enter, leave me a comment below sharing your favourite way to enjoy the Farrah’s Mexican range.

Comp closes 27th July 2017, NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Shrimp Fajitas Recipe