Good citizens

I was jamming it last week with writing my 2nd essay for Indigenous Education and Perspectives with this essay focussing onThe Stolen Generations and bringing light to its relevance in education. I researched The Stolen Generations and its relationship to the Sorry speech by Kevin Rudd the PM in 2008, what a speech that was and so long overdue! It was an intense essay looking at racism and discrimination and I had a so much to draw upon with the connection to the Dumpo era here in the U S of A.

So with all that writing, I needed to focus and needed to eat well and drink matcha tea and made this delicious coconut milk matcha tea in the Vitamix after leaving it on for a while – beautiful, frothy and warm! And with my lack of time dinner has been super easy with taco Tuesday and tonight’s cool soba noodle salad topped with a fresh bantam egg.

Over the weekend we went to Open House for Missys week-long science camp coming up soon and we checked out the nature lab to touch this Trans-Pecos Rat Snake – it was so friendly. As as the kids have toyed with the idea of owning a reptile I found this info sign to share with them, it will remain here on the blog for reference if they have serious thoughts of snake keeping in the future. It is quite an expensive outlay and lucky for them there is an aquarium near our place in Melbourne and they can go an visit the reptiles there or maybe volunteer to give food to the snakes.

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I found this in a binder from my daughter’s 1st-grade class – if only this was the mantra of all humans! This is why I love being with kids they know where it is at and how to behave.

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As I have been cleaning out so much stuff and getting rid of boxes of everything from fabric to books to clothes and kids stuff, I found this lovely little scrapbook that Ash made when he was in Kindergarten – it is super cute. Our friends are in the pics but I have blurred their faces as they may not want to appear here 😀 respect! The kids are so cute and so young and he has captured some good times from the redwoods to the snow even with our green car!

 

Little bit of this and that!

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There has been some good food around of late and the day I really love during the week is Taco Tuesday with the easy meal of opening a box of frozen fish putting it in the oven, getting some tortillas on the grill and making a quick slaw with the food processor grating attachment. They really save me on a Tuesday when I have come home from work and have exercised and I am starving. So my diet is now officially over after 90 days to tone my body and I feel fit and healthy, my recovery after exercise is way better plus I know how to eat to feel full and that is to eat every 3 hours. For a healthy snack, I eat whole foods such as Greek yoghurt and fruit and for lunch a protein, grain and salad – I discovered that whole grains are not the enemy they keep me sustained for a period of time. My pants are looser and I am sleeping very well, especially with the addition of golden milk (which I found in Australia a couple of years ago!) to help with sleep. It has been great to get into a routine each day of work, exercise, cook dinner and study/catch up on chores and bed. Sometimes exercise can be so hard, but it is so worth it as it makes me feel so much better and able to handle whatever weirdness is going on around me.

 

At work, the kids in the Kindergarten class have been studying bees and they had a visit from the legendary beekeeper Deb from Girlzwurk it was wonderful to meet her and give her a hug for all the amazing work she is doing with rescuing bees! She said she has around 3 million bees at her property up in the Saratoga hills – amazing! It has been an incredible experience for the kids to learn about bees and this week they will be presenting their information in a play for the school to enjoy!

 

This is artwork from the 1st-grade class that was created with our art teacher Jess – the children were inspired by what they made for the village project. Each piece has turned out beautifully!

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Finally, over the weekend we got to enjoy some summer heat and be out in the garden and I found some of these flowers growing on the fence with a huge stash of little passionfruits growing on the vine and it looks like a bumper crop this year! They are such amazing flowers, it is the perfect attractant for bees.

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While I have been writing my reflection for my 3rd and final assignment for this teaching period, my daughter and my hubby were making Pusheen doughnuts in the kitchen and this is how they turned out! They had a fun time making them but I somehow feel that you need that thin synthetic chocolate to coat these things, the melted chocolate became weird as my hubby learnt a lesson about putting water into melted chocolate as it thickens it up! Still, I think this is a good effort for the first time of making fancy doughnuts 😀

Comfort food week

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Taco Tuesday

As I have to make the most of my time these days with working full time I am either doing a bunch of cooking at one time or prepping for the dishes ahead of the week. A couple of weeks ago our Community Support Agriculture (CSA) box was taken from our front doorstep and found in the next block of apartments near the carpark with most of the fruit taken out of it and left with some vegetables and the dozen free range eggs I ordered. This was confusing as I thought OK this person is vegan as they do not eat eggs and enjoy fruit?!? Due to this shenanigans, I have had to have my delivery changed to my hubby’s workplace on a Thursday which means the fresh food and veggies come at the end of the week when I am totally knackered and it is hard to find the energy to cook. So this weekend, as I had a little bit of time I did a batch cooking experiment and whipped up a quiche with a couscous base, a pumpkin soup, apple crumble and baked eggplant. I have many kitchen hacks that are super helpful for worknight dinners, and now that I am working, I need a meal either heated up or ready in 30 minutes or less.

Our fave since I started work in August has been Taco Tuesday where a box of frozen battered fish, corn tortillas, a slaw – easily made at home calling upon the food processor to chop and guacamole is a hit with the kids for a super simple weeknight dinner. My guac is a couple of avocados, lime juice, cubed tomato, salt and pepper and is delicious!

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Eggplant Parma

With the colder weather now that fall is finally happening I have wanted to turn on the oven and cook up a storm. So with the baked eggplant, I made a tasty eggplant parmigiana that I used to have at the local pub with a nice cold one at the end of a workday! This one was super easy with sliced baked eggplant and layered with cheese, a mozzarella or tasty cheese works well with a rich veggie-laden tomato sauce. For extra protein, I have added refried beans to this sauce, and it cooked up into a loved gooey eggplant dish that only my hubby and I will eat as the kids will say, “Ewww eggplant!” Still, this will work for a lovely lunch as well and its better than eating all the babaganoush that I usually make when eggplant is in the house.

 

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Collard green enchiladas

I had a bunch of collard greens sitting in the fridge from last Thursdays delivery, and I usually make wraps with lots of raw ingredients wrapped in a bright green collard green leaf and its refreshing on a warm day, but with this colder weather I experimented and make Collard green enchiladas. The idea is to take some leftover rice or quinoa and refried beans with a tasty tomato sauce and top it all off with grated cheese.

Collard Green Enchiladas

Bunch of Collard Greens (stems removed with a sharp knife)
Bottle of Pasta Sauce or any Red sauce
Can of refried beans
Cooked rice or quinoa
Grated tasty cheese or mozzarella

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blanch Collard green leaves in boiling water, leave on a plate to cool.
  3. Prepare your red sauce with added vegetables like grated carrot and cabbage.
  4. Add your refried beans and keep them intact – the consistency has to be somewhat thick.
  5. In a square Pyrex dish, coat the bottom with some red sauce and start preparing the collard green enchiladas (have a plate handy, so the sauce is not all on the stovetop!)
  6. Use the whole leaf of a collard green folded in half and add the rice or quinoa on the leaf top with refried beans, red sauce mix and arrange in the Pyrex dish.
  7. Top with grated tasty cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until brown on top.
  8. Enjoy!

 

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Salmon and Vegetable Pie

I am quite a fan of savoury pies as I have had to make my own here as there are not many places that serve a savoury pie here in the USA. In Australia, I can go to a cafe and get a lovely veggie quiche and salad for lunch but here the things I miss I have had to make, so I have become quite competent in making quiche at home and usually is my go-to dish for a dinner party. The favourite book for my pastry is A Year of Pies and has many pastry recipes at the beginning of the book. I usually make the pastry with a shortening and butter mix, and it is delicious with the Spinach Impossible pie recipe I use as the pie filling either with spinach and feta or a salmon and vegetable. This pie was a bit of a hack as I did not make the time to whip up the pastry in my food processor, instead I cooked up some couscous and used that as a base for this pie. I felt it worked for a quick Sunday dinner and my family was ravenous after a day at the ranch laying concrete in the chicken coop! Oh and for dessert I made an Apple Crumble with a topping of coconut, brown sugar, oats, flour, butter, walnuts and spices. Another recipe fave of mine from a book I found at the local bookstore called Wholefood – 300 Recipes to Restore, Nourish and Delight.

A friend asked me to add some recipes to the blog, so I thought this week was an excellent opportunity after the excitement of Halloween. I really am having to really rely on kitchen hacks and prep in advance with this full-time work thing, and it works really well as I can never predict how a week will unfold, there could be many meetings after work, or I could be home early, who knows? This is where easy to prep recipes save the day! The other excuse I have is I use the kitchen as a place to create as I feel now with cooking and making meal plans since my son was born (12 years ago) I have quite a repertoire of recipes to draw upon. The kitchen is an excellent place to experiment, and most of all make wholesome meals for the family. Enjoy your week and eat well 😀