Thursday, October 31, 2013
This. Being so close to the ocean. Spending time with my children. My friends and their children. Popping down for a quick play, or a dip. Breathing in the fresh sea air. Squelching sand between our toes. Watching the glorious sun rise.
What do you never want to take for granted?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
MAKES 12 MUFFIN SIZED CUPCAKES | PREP 5 MINS | COOKING 15-35 MINS | DAIRY FREE, EGG FREE, VEGAN, LUNCHBOX FRIENDLY
You know what I find hard? Baking for my son's class when there's a class party. Or making a cake for my husband's birthday. The list of allergies and deathlike reactions by so many people these days makes it hard to just bake whatever your whim. Besides, the last thing I want is to be responsible for is anyone needing their epi-pen (my worst nightmare!).
So, stepping in to save the day is this amazing crazy cake recipe. It's dairy free, egg free, nut free, and delicious! It tastes like real cake. Oh wait, it IS real cake! In fact, since discovering this recipe, I've converted it to ginger cinnamon spice (Gingamon - according to my friend Dannii), and my favourite flavour in the whole world, chai vanilla spice (I plan to share these recipes also). But the best bits about these cupcakes is that they are really delicious, you have all the ingredients in the cupboard, and it take zilch time to prepare. You can even make this recipe into a big cake and mix it in the cake tin - no bowl required!
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa
1 cup sugar (I use Stevia)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water
Creamy Vanilla Icing
Mix together 7 tbsp icing sugar, 1 tbsp non-dairy margarine, 2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1 tbsp hot water until creamy.
1 Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius / 350 degrees farenheit.
2 Mix the first 5 dry ingredients in a mixing bowl with a whisk. Make three depressions in dry ingredients - two small, one large (like a happy face!).
3 Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third larger depression. Pour water over all. Mix with a whisk or wooden spoon until smooth.
4 Divide mixture into a greased 12 muffin tray or place inside muffin cases (like these cute Halloween ones). Bake muffins on middle rack for 15 minutes (or 35 minutes if you're making a cake). Cool. Ice and add cute toppers. Now you're ready for two more sleeps. Enjoy!
The original recipe was found here.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.
Madison: Everywhere he goes, his man bag goes too. Filled with everything an adventurous boy needs.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Oh, Food Club (and my fellow foodies), how I've missed you! The downside to taking long service leave to renovate a beach cottage, is that you can't have the best of both worlds.
I've missed the last three Food Club evenings. But now that I'm back in Melbourne, I was sure not to miss the next one! This month's theme was recipes by Bill Granger. We all agreed that because he was a cook, not a chef, that the food was so easy to prepare, delicious and practical. Everything was bursting with flavour and was so fresh and tasty! So many beautiful salads, featuring lots of coriander, which always works for me!
Flatbreads with caramelised onion, feta + hommus
Fish cakes with mustard mayonnaise
Chickpea + pumpkin stew with coriander + yoghurt
Vietnamese chicken salad
Tomato salad with basil
Asparagus + poached egg salad
White chocolate mousse with passionfruit pulp
Gooey chocolate cake with raspberries
Apricot upside down cake
Bill's famous ginger vodka cocktails
Are you a fan of Bill Granger? Have you made any of his recipes?
Monday, October 21, 2013
Do you ever feel like you wish you could hit the pause button on life? I do!
It's time for me to come clean. I'm a wife and full-time mother, I have a registered business, am a part-time employee, manage three investment properties, am owner/builder to another, and organise a home. Church and school have some of my time (I would like to give more) between even more commitments. Add it all up, and there just isn't enough time for me.
I can spend whole days grumbling under my breath, longing to embrace peace and find fulfillment in my work and the washing. There's too much to do and not enough time to do it in. The feeling of being overwhelmed is too much sometimes. I have a great life, but still deep inside, I want it bursting with happiness, appreciation and simple pleasures.
While I was on long service leave, I had the most amazing opportunity to stop and pause. After just six coaching circle sessions*, my life has made significant changes. Not my actual life; things are still as crazy as ever. But in my head so much has changed.
Two weeks ago I had my last coaching circle session. At the end of that hour, we discussed the concept of paying it forward. I feel so absolutely passionate about how these coaching sessions have changed me, that I want at least two readers to have the same opportunity. I've never done a giveaway here before, until today.
If you think you would like to take a step forward in your life, Pause, a coaching circle for women may just be the step you want to take. Comment below why you would like life coaching (or email me if it's too personal for public viewing). The two winners will receive their first two circle coaching sessions for free.
Apart from getting more sleep, this is one of the best investments I've ever made in myself.
*Pause Coaching Circle for Women is run by Sycamore Lane. You can contact Kylie Ward on 0426 579 213 or visit Sycamore Lane on Facebook (link here) or her blog (link here). This giveaway is available for anyone living in Australia. Sessions are made using Skype.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.
Noah: Wolfing down second breakfast. He'd give a hobbit a run for his money.
Friday, October 18, 2013
As part of my solitary road trip last weekend, I managed to stop at some pretty amazing places along the far south coast of New South Wales. Can I tell you that it might just be one of Australia's best kept secrets? Have you seen the coastline? It's not called the Sapphire Coast for nothing. The colour of the water is simply breathtaking.
Once I knew I was doing this trip solo, I asked friends who grew up in this beautiful part of the world, what was worth stopping at. It was unanimous that I spend some time at Tathra at the historic wharf.
It was my first stop after six hours of non-stop driving from Melbourne. And it was well worth the wait. At the wharf is a huge weatherboard building which houses a coffee bar + gallery full of local contemporary paitings, sculptures, ceramics, metal, jewellery, prints and textiles. I discovered (after Googling it, of course) that a locavore is a person interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market. So it would makes sense that everything here is made right in Tathra.
The service was excellent, and after chatting with the owner for a bit, I was excited to see that everything was vegetarian. I could take my pick straight off the menu which is such a rarity! The food was amazing including the side salad complete with tangelos and strawberries, and orange infused dressing, plus one of the best vanilla slices I've ever had the pleasure of eating.
My favourite part? Sitting on a hessian bag on the floor at an open window in the cafe with the sea breeze on my face, watching visitors come and go, and keen fisherman throwing their lines into the rich blue-green water. I didn't want to leave.
I VISITED The Wharf Locavore | Wharf Road, Tathra NSW 2550 | 0427 941 747
Do you do eat out alone sometimes?
Thanks so much for stopping by for a virtual cuppa on the Sapphire Coast! For the whole Lad Date series, visit here.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
How would you spend a whole weekend all by yourself?
Each and every year, my wise friend Bron goes on an annual solitary road trip. That means without her husband and her children. Even without a friend.
When I first read about her solo trips, I was moved. Being a lover of my own company for as long as I can remember, I'd not had a road trip like this for around 16 years. And It was time for me to get in my car and drive; hear the Sound of Silence, get lost in my very own thoughts (uninterrupted!), listen to an audio book, sing whatever music I feel like (at the top of my lungs); and stop wherever I pleased.
While the purpose of this weekend was to go to a friend's wedding, I was still the leader of my own destiny for three whole days. As I drove out of my driveway, I waved goodbye to my favourite men. I knew I would miss them dearly. But it wasn't until I was out on the open road, that the stress and worries of domestic life seemed far, far away.
As I left the state of Victoria, I couldn't wait for my visits to Tathra (on the sapphire coast of south New South Wales), Narooma (hello, Blues Festival!), Bodalla (for my friend's wedding), Tilba (because CUTE!), and Merimbula (for the ocean of emerald).
Last weekend filled my emotional well to overflowing. A weekend filled with space, silence, good food, cheese (we were in dairy country after all), and 18 hours in a car all by myself, I came home refreshed, happy and ready to be a better mother and wife than I had been for a long time.
Have you ever attempted a solitary road trip?