Cook Eat | Try something new – Black Rice

Back Rice

Ok, first things first; black rice is SO hard to photograph, black rice would get in all kinds of trouble as a food model – hard work yo!

Secondly; Dave and I ate black rice as a side dish at an event a couple of weeks ago and it has kinda been stuck in my brain since.  I was grocery shopping by myself yesterday {the luxury of that little excursion was NOT overlooked}, and despite having left the list at home, I had enough concentration to remember that I was wanting to get some coloured rice to try at home.  Fancy rice isn’t cheap, I perused the shelves and walked away, balking at $6-$10 for a 500gm pack.  I did end up returning to the aisle ‘O rice and grabbing a box of funky black rice for $5.99 before I left the store, it was one of those things I just needed to get out of my head!

I’m SO glad I did.  It takes longer to cook than regular white or brown but holy smokes, it actually has taste!  And apparently more nutritional value {according to my very quick perusal of the interwebs}.  Black rice has one of the highest levels of anthocyanin antioxidents found in food.  Let’s be honest, I’m not too sure what that means but I haven’t heard Nigel Latta tell me not to eat it so it must be ok!

Best of all, the family loved it.  Even the nine year old.

I’m calling it a win people!  Stoked to be able to simultaneously increase the yum+health factor of something as simple as rice.

Now, get back in the kitchen!

 

Cook, Eat | Best EVER Waffle Recipe

Dave received a waffle maker for his birthday at the beginning of the month, so we have been faffing about, trying out different waffle recipes for the past three weeks and not been entirely impressed with any of them.  

Until today.

Behold, The Jack Family 2/3rds American Approved Best EVER Waffle Recipe!  These have a very liquid, thin batter which is what we had been looking for.  Dense batters = dense waffles and we prefer the light and fluffy variety.  It’s never good to feel like you’ve swallowed a couple of bricks after brekkie right?

Best Ever Waffle Recipe
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons butter
  2. 1 1/2 cup flour
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. 2 tablespoons sugar
  6. 1 1/2 cup milk
  7. 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat waffle iron and read manufacturer's instructions. Melt butter in microwave. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In another bowl, beat together milk and eggs. Whisk liquid mixture into dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in melted butter. Brush hot waffle iron with butter. Spoon about 1/2 cup of batter onto iron and close to cook. This first waffle will be the tester. Cook waffle until golden brown. Remove to plate and keep warm.
http://www.thebestnest.co.nz/

Kiwi Mummy Blog Review – Vitarium Sugar Free Drinking mixes

I’m not a huge milk fan, to be honest I really, really don’t enjoy milk.  This makes remembering to offer it to my kids a wee bit of a problem.

Problem now solved as I don’t have to remember – Ethan simply asks for milk {every day!} mixed with Vitarium Sugar Free Kids drink mixes.

These 100% natural mixes blitz the competition right across the board including being 99% fat free and low calorie as they are sweetened with Natvia (from the stevia plant);

  • No-added sugar
  • Aspartame free
  • Wheat free
  • Egg free
  • Yeast free
  • Gluten free
  • Nut, soy & dairy free

I have used the mixes in baking for a natural flavour boost – hello strawberry cupcakes! plus they are even Dad approved.  Dave knocks back a huge amount of milk and loves the really natural banana-y flavour of the Super Dupa Banana variety.

Honestly, I’m pretty stoked with this range from Vitarium, a commercially available alternative to Milo and Nesquik has been long overdue and even I can tolerate milk with these yummy flavour additions which is great for the state of my bones and my previously meagre calcium intake!

 

Vitarium product provided for my consideration but the opinions expressed are my own. 

Eat | Pitango Solos

I was so happy to spend Wednesday morning as a guest of Pitango and learn about their new Solos range; fast, tasty, home-cooked style meals for one.

Monday nights in our house are particularly crazy, Ethan has rugby practice then has to be flanneled off at the field and bustled into his scouts uniform only to arrive home pretty exhausted at 8pm.  I like to keep an ‘easy meal’ in the freezer for these nights, something simple and unfussy that he can gobble back quickly and head to bed.  The Pitango Solos are perfect for nights like these plus they are organic, free range and affordable (RRP $3.99).  Fast food has never tasted so good or been so guilt free.  I’m in love with this range for real, the Free Range Chicken and Mushroom Risotto is amazing, you would never, ever be able to tell that it wasn’t cooked in your own kitchen, it’s seasoned perfectly and is thick, creamy and authentic – real comfort food for sure.

The Pitango Solos range will be available June 3rd in selected stores.

Pitango_solos_chelsea_winter

That hot babe in the middle is of course the lovely Vanessa from The Bubbalino Kitchen, and no, the photo on the right is not skewed, that is just how slim and tall Chelsea Winter really is!

Solo Thai Pumpkin Soup

 

 

Cook Eat | Tortilla Recipe

Making my own tortillas has been on my to-do list since I moved to San Diego in 2003 and became forever addicted to Mexican food.
The gauntlet was laid on Friday night as Dave caught a shit-tonne of snapper and fish tacos were calling. There was nary a tortilla in the house.
It was time.
I did some googling, read some recipes and many reviews. The only way you can get a good feel for a recipe online is to read the reviews and take suggestions on board.
I found a good recipe and tweaked it as per reviews and my own experience with breads.
The result was authentic and amazing. These are like San Diego tortillas, not like Old El Paso. They are floury and flexible and taste like everything you want your carbs to be. We are hooked! I doubled this recipe and it worked like a charm.

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
3 tablespoons olive oil (I used canola)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in hot water and oil. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10-12 times, adding a little flour or water if needed to achieve a smooth dough. Dough should be silky. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide dough into eight portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7-in. circle. Shake off excess flour before putting in the pan.
In a large non-stick pan coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned. Keep warm. Yield: 8 tortillas.

Tortilla_Recipe

Tortilla_Recipe

Yummy! | Popsicle Milkshake Swirls Giveaway {closed}

Popsicle_Giveaway

Our family LOVES sampling and reviewing products so last week we were so excited to receive a delightful {and beautiful!} package of Popsicle Milkshake Swirls to try.  We are mad ice cream fans, who sneak up to our local 4 Square far too often.  I justify my our ice cream addiction in the name of calcium.  I don’t like yoghurt, despise milk as a drink, don’t drink any hot drinks which I can add milk to, don’t eat cereal for breakfast and eat mainly protein.  If I didn’t eat ice cream my calcium intake is almost solely dependant upon cheese.  This is a serious issue; ice cream is my lifeline people – my bones depend on it.  And that is how I sleep at night mmmkay.

Back to the good stuff.  I wouldn’t endorse a product we didn’t genuinely love.  And by god we LOVE these things.  I took the 18 pack of Milkshake Minis (RRP $7.99) to share with Ethan’s touch rugby team after practice tonight and the kids were stoked!  And their parents were stoked too – There were plenty to go around.  All three flavours – Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla, received hearty approval just as they did at our house.

80% milk!!!!  Did you hear that bones?  Heart tick – check, creamy milky goodness – check.

Would you like some?  I have five vouchers to give away you lucky ducks!  Each voucher  can be used at any supermarket or food chain and can be redeemed for one Popsicle Milkshake Multipack, this can be the Milkshake 8 pack or the Mini Milkshake Multi Pack (contains 18 minis, this is what the kids are eating – perfect treat size!).

Popsicle_Milkshake_Swirls

To enter simply like our Facebook page by visiting here and leave a comment below (pssstt, make sure you enter your email address so I can contact you if you win).  Easy-peasy!  Winners drawn 19/10/12, NZ residents only.

random.org *randomly sequenced the comments and the first five numbers generated will receive a voucher in the post!  Number 1 was the first comment on the post etc.  Congrats to Lara, Andrea, Teresa, Kim and Carly!  I will email you confirmation shortly.  Thanks for participating everyone, enjoy your long weekend!

random.org

 

 

Popsicle_Chocolate_Milkshake_Swirl

*  I was given the sample Popsicles free but was not paid for the content of this post, my own opinions are expressed here.

Cook | Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe

I found this recipe on another NZ blog Monkey Makes Three  and it was perfect for a 9pm chocolate craving.  Lonely nights with Dave away just make me want to eat arggghhh.  And cook.  I think about cooking all the time.
Any way, back to the recipe.  I realise I may be a bit late to the party with mug cakes but how cool is a mug cake party any way?  Mum reckons it comes out like a steamed pudding, can’t say I’ve eaten too many of those but it’s a good quick fix for those lacking in chocolate supplies!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
4 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
3-4 tbsp dark chocolate chips
dash of vanilla

– Mix the dry ingredients together.

– Mix in the egg, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips.

– Evenly distribute mixture between 2 cups.

– Cook in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Tip into a bowl and eat.

Chocolate Mug Cake

Pineapple Coconut Goo Cake Recipe

This is a no-good very BAD cake that you shouldn’t make if you are at all concerned with sugar, butter and all of those yummy things.

For the rest of you that like to live and eat cake, I give you this recipe that I discovered in my cousin-in-law’s lovely kitchen in Florida.

I made this as per the instructions however, it is so dang sweet that next time I will halve the sugar in the cake recipe, and divide the whole icing recipe and use a third.  But see what you think,

Pineapple_coconut_cake_recipe

CAKE INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 lg eggs

1 430gm can crushed pineapple

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup of chopped pecan {you don’t need this much}

1 cup desiccated coconut

ICING INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter

1 can condensed milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

 1 tsp vanilla

MAKE THE CAKE

  • Preheat the oven to 175°c and flour a 13 x 9 x 2″ baking pan {I used a bundt tin}
  • In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Add eggs, pineapple and vanilla
  • Beat at med speed with electric mixer until combined
  • Bake for 30 min or until fork inserted into centre comes out dry
  • Using a wooden spoon, poke 1/2″ holes in top of cake at 1″ intervals
  • Pour icing over hot cake
  • Sprinkle with chopped pecans and coconut
  • Serve

MAKE THE ICING

  • In a med saucepan combine butter condensed milk and sugar
  • Bring to boil over med heat, stirring constantly {it will burn if you don’t, trust me}
  • Boil 2 min stirring constantly
  • Remove from heat, add vanilla

Friday love

Lawn mowed, weed eating done time to weekend!  Mum and I busted ass this afternoon and got our outside chores out of the way before the inevitable rain returns.

September, like every other month this year is just flying by.  I get to the end of the week to write these posts and look in my camera roll, for the first time ever I am struggling to remember to take pictures even!

I have snapped a few though, and have found a couple from Dave’s iPad that have ended up on our photo stream – he is now in Milan, MUCH happier than he was in Rome.

The Block is over but our own reno has kicked into gear again this week.  The laundry’s makeover has finally begun – floor to ceiling cupboards are being built to fill in the big waste of space that is our laundry/thoroughfare through the house.  Can’t wait for all of that extra storage!  I also {finally} made a decision on the ventilation system, so a Mitsubishi Lossnay system is going in next Friday, and we have signed off on the water/sewer/drainlaying quote so we are soon about to be very broke.

Home_rennovation

Also loving surprise packages thanks to being a mummy blogger!  More on that later….

Super_hero_mask

This Chinese Elm side cabinet is perfect, but I want it for a TV cabinet.  What do we think?  I’m loving it, the price is better than the ‘new’ option I’m also considering, but I think I’m put off by the sheer mass of it.  It is a serious piece of furniture.

Chinese_elm_side_table

Though Lou has been a particularly Bad Dog this week, I adore this picture of Ethan and his pup.  This is the ‘before’ shot.  Lou was outside the groomer and looks like a yeti no longer.  Spring cleaning includes the dogs in this house!

20120907-204918.jpg

Loving catching little glimpses of Dave’s European Adventure through my photo stream.  How rico suave is this little hotel snack?

Daves Italian Hotel Dinner

This pic also appeared in the photo stream, sneaky Dave taking screen shots of us chatting.  We miss you SO much!  22 days to go x

Facetime!

Things I’m Loving is hosted by Meghan at MNM’s

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

Living off the land. Or trying.

I am soooooo excited about my vege garden this summer, I haven’t felt this excited since the summer of 2006 which is when we moved to opposite land and I couldn’t stop planting shit because we had a GARDEN AND WE DIDN”T LIVE IN AN APARTMENT!!!!

Anyway, here is what I have planted so far;

This thing is going off, see those lil baby zuchs!
This thing is going off, see those lil baby zuchs!

1st bedThis is the sunny bed out of the two, L to R I have, tomato, rosemary, zuch, tom, lettuce, zuch, eggplant, tom, zuch, lettuce, thyme, lettuce, capsicum x2, parsley in the herb patch and swan plant for Ethan to grow monarchs on.

2nd bedThis is the shadier bed which I have left pretty empty for the 2nd batch of seedlings coming soon.  In here I have cucumber, 4 tomato plants, zuch and scarlet runner beans.  At the back under the bird cloth are my 6 strawberry plants.

Seedling nurseryThis is my little seedling operation down at the pool shanty.  The spa is enclosed with big glass doors so it is super warm and sheltered for the babies.  In the big pot on the left is a habenero pepper which is kicking ass, more scarlet runners are in the hanging basket, the bushy pots are heaps more toms (god kows where I will put them all), then there are tonnes more capsicums, eggplants, zuchs and basil.

It has rained for almost 5 hours straight today so I can’t wait to go out tomorrow and see how much everything has grown, LOVING this time of year and loving that we have charged our planting and are looking pretty good for a fruitful harvest, if not a little late, but hey.

Tomato seedlings