Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WCW Pinterest Recipes July

Time for another round of up of recipes I tried this month from Pinterest! This month I focused on freezer and make ahead mixes, as well as lunchbox ideas.

Up for review this month I have:
Homemade Fruit Snacks
Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
Teriyaki Chicken
French Chicken
DIY Pancake Mix

I am always looking for ideas for school lunches, so I made the Fruit Snacks with blueberries. Unfortunately, the boys did not like them and even I found them overly tart.
Verdict: Delete.

My next try at creating a lunchbox item was a lot more successful. I made a batch of these Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies and they were amazing!
Hands down these were the best cookies I have ever made, and the coconut flavour was a great contrast to the chocolate. These did not last long in my house and I will be making them again and again.
Verdict: Keep.

I have had a busy schedule this month, and so I was looking for some freezer meals that my husband or I could put in the slow cooker and forget about until dinner time. I made the Teriyaki Chicken and the French Chicken from the same blog post of six easy Crockpot Chicken Freezer meals, and my family ate chicken without a fuss!
If you have read my previous posts, my eldest son can be very fussy with chicken, but he loved the French Chicken and we enjoyed the Teriyaki Chicken over rice and wrapped in rice paper rolls.
Verdict: Keep both!

Finally,we have a family tradition of pancakes on Sunday mornings, but I felt like I should be making my own pancake mix as it seems so easy and that way I am not having to buy the bottle mixes. This DIY Pancake Mix was a lot more simple than I expected, as usually when I make pancakes from scratch I use a fancy recipe, but this one was quick and easy to mix together.

We served our pancakes topped with fruit and maple syrup.
Verdict: Keep.

A successful month for July, and now I am looking forward to testing some Paleo and Whole 30 type meals for August!

As always, these recipes have only been tested and reviewed with the personal preferences of my family members, and so I have provided links to all of the recipes for you to try them yourself.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fueling your Workout

As a busy mum, nutrition is important to me, especially before, during and after workouts. If I eat the wrong things or do not stay hydrated, I can end up with stomach cramps, lack of energy and even the dreaded runners' belly. Most of my exercising happens early in the morning. I find it hard to workout on an empty stomach, but I do need to eat an hour in advance or I do not feel my best with my stomach sloshing around while I am moving. 

If I am going for a run, I start with protein. My two favourite go-to breakfasts before a workout are a Power Shake or a Banana Omelette. 

Power Shake:
200mL coconut milk
1 scoop protein powder (like one of these)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 small banana
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend together and drink. 

Banana Omelette
1 banana
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Saute the banana in the coconut oil until well cooked, then pour over the egg and cook until set. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

During my runs, I tend to listen to the same playlist as my Housework Songs as these are upbeat tempos. When I do at home HIIT workouts, I have set music that times me for my reps and gives me rest periods, and I find this extremely helpful in keeping me motivated, and it also means I can get some movement in without leaving my house. I mix the HIIT workouts with my running to mix things up a bit, and also walk for an hour 5 days a week.

After a workout, I find it helpful to have a fluid replacement and supplement in one- these travel packs are convenient and easy to mix up anywhere I run. A handful of nuts is also great if you don't have any fluid on hand, although it is important that you do rehydrate after exercise.

If you are looking for a clean, high quality pre-workout supplement, I suggest checking out ETBFit. I love the philosophy behind their name, which stands for "Eat The Bear". As they say, “Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you.” I love that these products contain no banned substances and disclose all of the ingredients on the label, and ETBFit also provide free nutritional and training guidance.

I believe that eating nutritious, healthy food and supplementing when needed will set me up to get the most from my workout, and I feel better in myself when I am putting the right fuel into my body. I hope you will try some of my recipes pre-workout and let me know what you think!

Linking up with Fitness Friday.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Peppa and George 3rd Birthday Party

My son recently celebrated his third birthday, and after suggesting a few themes we finally came to an agreement that he would have a Peppa and George themed party.

We sent out the invitations- this year I did use pre-printed ones as they were just so cute!

As most of our guests were young children, we put out some Peppa Pig masks and colouring sheets to keep them entertained.

We also had some goodie bags with lollipops, Peppa Pig bubbles and a party blower for every child to take home with them after the party.

A 40 piece party pack provided me with the goodie bags, as well as the cups, napkins and plates with a Peppa Pig theme. For the adults I added in pink cutlery, pink plates and pink cups. I placed these all on a navy blue tablecloth for contrast.

We also had a party banner hanging over the food table.

One of my favourite items on the food table were the cupcakes- coconut flavoured and dairy free, with dyed coconut on top to look like grass. You can find the recipe on the 4 Ingredients Facebook Page. The wrappers are toppers were part of a Cupcake Kit, which made the display easy!

Adam gave the cupcakes his seal of approval!

I was a bit sneaky with the biscuits- I used a chocolate cookie dough and then used some Peppa Pig playdoh moulds that Adam received in a magazine to create Peppa and George biscuits.

We also had red and blue Daddy Pig Wobbly Belly Jelly, and fairy bread as Peppa loves fairy bread!

One of the fun food items was muddy puddle pudding- I followed this recipe and they came out wonderfully.

We also had Ham and Cheese pies, and popcorn that was put in some striped icecream cups.

The birthday was ready to eat before the guests arrived- but he managed to wait until everyone had turned up.

I was lucky enough to do a Peppa Pig Cake Topper class at The Make Company, and so had this cute muddy puddle topper and a tree to put on top of the cake. the cake was Rebecca Rabbit's Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing.

Adam was thrilled with his cake, and it tasted delicious.

Adam was very happy with his birthday party, and I was too!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Gift

We are currently in the midst of school holidays, and my 5 year old has really enjoyed his two terms at school. He has had a truly wonderful teacher to start him off on the right foot with his education. However, he is a bright wee button and is being moved up to the next class when school starts back (proud mummy moment!) and so we had to say goodbye to Mrs Lee as he will be in a different studio.

We started off by making this card, which gave us the idea to create a tea themed gift basket.

We also got a tea carry mug for those cold winter mornings, as I always like to start my day with a warm drink and I am sure teachers do too!

I got some chocolate spoons from Theobroma, and made my own tea inspired cookies using these cookie cutters. This was my first time making royal and flood icing, and while I wasn't 100% satisfied with the end result, they still came out presentable!

Lucas also wanted to help with this gift basket, and so after seeing this idea on Pinterest we created our own crayon canvas for his teacher.

It all went in a gift basket, ready for the last day of school.

We hope that Lucas will have more amazing teachers like Mrs Lee as he continues his education. Teachers really can make a difference- Lucas has taken leaps and bounds in his learning since he started school and I definitely have Mrs Lee and the other wonderful teachers in his learning studio to thank!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday Adam

Today we celebrate three years with our little dynamo Adam- a cheeky, fun-loving boy who loves singing, funny faces and playing dress-ups. I want to remember all the things I love about my sweet second child, and so here is a letter I have written to him to celebrate his third birthday.

I had a slightly difficult pregnancy with you Adam, and was feeling very large as you ended your time in my belly! We were all so excited to meet you.

Due to complications with my first pregnancy, we did not want a repeat delivery experience and so you entered the world via c-section. You came out with your eyes wide open- so alert and looking around in wonder at everything that was going on.

You started off as a placid, sensitive baby and it took a while to get into a rhythm. You had severe reflux and a few tears were shed by everyone after many sleepless nights, but eventually things settled down. I always remember the multiple night time feeds, having to sit up with you for 20 minutes after you had fallen asleep to make sure you wouldn't bring anything back up. During the day, you were happiest playing with big brother Lucas, who adores having a playmate.

Adam, you are such a happy boy, and right from the start your big smiles were enough to make it all worthwhile.

But you certainly have an attitude, and you are very strong-willed!

Your messy blond hair, big blue eyes and huge grin make you an absolute cutie, and can't get over how adorable you are.

You have such a wonderful sense of adventure, and love exploring outside. You are a real risk taker and willing to give anything a try, especially if it involves going fast!

Your imagination is wonderful, and you spend a lot of time pretending to be a doctor, superhero or a singer. You can hold a tune marvelously well, and your capacity to remember song lyrics is amazing. You also love being social, and one of your favourite times is at playgroup, where you always insist on getting your face painted as a dog.

Adam, we can't imagine life without you. You bring laughter, smiles and joy into our household and have turned from a blond baby into a tough three year old right before my eyes. You still insist on mummy cuddles every day, and I hope you are never to old enough to need a kiss goodnight.

I can't wait to see how you take being a three year old in your stride- I know there will be some changes ahead now that you are becoming more independent, but you are still my little boy.

All my love,

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My Top 5 Favourite Winter pieces

I like to update my winter wardrobe with a few key pieces each season, and these take me from the school run, to running errands, to my evening plans.

Favourite Winter Pieces

Please excuse my less than amazing photos- I usually have to snap these shots when I am running out the door and it is still dark. 

First up is this Ava Metallic Pleated Skirt, so fun ans sparkly in real life and easily paired with a variety of layers on top. Teamed with tights and boots, I can still keep warm but add a bit of sparkle to my day!

These Leopard Skinny Jeans are ridiculously comfortable, and work perfectly as a neutral piece. Here I have teamed it with more grey and black items for a monochrome look, but you could just as easily wear a bright jersey. Add a black top and heels for night time and you are good to go!

I have a lot of scarves in my wardrobe for this time of year, and this Lightweight Coloured Scarf goes perfectly with most of my neutral tops. I can also wear this as a belt in summer.

I wear the Sandy Zip Boot a lot in winter, as I walk everywhere and these are a perfect flat boot. Here I am wearing them with my denim skirt and a Loose Striped Jumper (sold out in berry but still available in black/cream) as everyone needs a cozy winter knit.

Which piece is your favourite? Is there anything you would add to your winter wardrobe?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Superhero Family Fun Dinner

My boys are currently obsessed with superheroes- Marvel Avengers, Batman, comic books, anything will do! We decided to have a family fun night based on superheroes, thanks to the help of The Official Super Hero Cookbook. If you have boys in your house, you need this book! As well as everyday items, it has great ideas for birthday themes and jazzing up lunchboxes, and it even comes with stencils.

We looked through the cookbook and chose what we would like to eat, then I helped the boys write out the menu and a list of ingredients and supplies we would need.

Our main course was Holy Guacamole with Krypto Dogs, Wonder Woman Crudites and Superman Sauce. We also had Joker Juice as our drink.

Dessert was Plastic Man Pudding- this was absolutely delicious! I did change it to Batman Pudding and used a Bat cookie cutter to place some blue fondant on top, and we only needed small amounts of this sweet treat.

The boys both really enjoyed planning, cooking and eating our special superhero themed family fun dinner.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lovely Linen from Parachute

There is nothing I like better on a cold winter evening than to snuggle up in bed on nice clean sheets. Walking into my bedroom and knowing that I have crisp, clean sheets waiting for me makes me want to go to bed early!

Linen is a great way to express creativity as well as tie in your bedroom look- whether it be modern, vintage, colourful or a plethora of patterns. I love interchanging my linen colours to give my bedroom a new look, and I love mixing and matching textures and colours.

One of my favourite looks is a white duvet cover paired with simple white sheets. It always feels so inviting, and white works well in both winter and summer. It is such a classic combination that will never go out of style.

Parachute Linen has been inspired by their Venice Beach surroundings to create a linen range of classic white items, with a grey Fog colour to complement the range.Their linen is available here in New Zealand but also worldwide, so it is perfect for a gift if you need something for a friend or family member overseas.

The thing I love, and why I am sharing this information with you today, is that Parachute has partnered with Nothing But Nets, an organization that provides safe sleep to those in need. For every Venice set sold (which will be available in White Linen), Parachute has committed to sending one life-saving bed net. This is a perfect excuse to get some new bedding and help someone at the same time! So far, parachute Linen have donated over 3,900 nets to help prevent malaria. For more information about Nothing But Nets, please click here.

Buying bedding you love shouldn't be a hassle or out of reach. When you shop online with Parachute Linen, you simply select your preferred fabric, colour and style, and receive it delivered to your door. You will also be helping those less fortunate by updating your bedroom linen!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WCW Pinterest Recipes June

Time for an overview this week of some of my Pinterest recipe pins that I got around to trying this month. In order to keep my pins under control, I choose five recipes every month to try, and if they aren't winners then I delete therm from my board. If my family gives the dish a thumbs up, it will get moved to my Plan To Eat account for future reference. This has helped me keep my pins manageable and also let me find some new family favourites!

The recipes we cooked are:

French Toast Blueberry Casserole
Salmon and Rice Loaf
Oriental Express Chicken
Crockpot Garlic Alfredo Chicken
Taco Pasta

First up is the French Toast Blueberry Casserole. I got up an hour earlier than everyone else to have a delicious breakfast ready on a Saturday morning. My boys love blueberries, but this casserole fell flat. I think they didn't like the texture of the cooked bread, so my husband and I had a lot of leftovers!
VERDICT: Delete.

The Salmon and Rice Loaf was also a dish with plenty of leftovers- although this was alright to eat, it wasn't "wow" enough for us.

Onto the Oriental Express Chicken. I have tried a few recipes from this website and have never been disappointed. I made this dinner thinking that it would get a thumbs down from my 5 year old who doesn't like chicken, but he ate the chicken straight away and asked me to make this more often! My husband agreed with the 5 year old, and I had clean plates all around.

Since I had a busy weekend of crafting, I was looking forward to the Crockpot Garlic Alfredo Chicken. However, this was another dish that fell flat for us, possibly due to the fact that the sauce was average. Since this recipe relies on the sauce to carry the dish, I will be trying this with a different jarred sauce.
VERDICT: Keep with modifications.

Lastly, we tried Taco Pasta. As a family of Mexican food afficionados, we were looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint. In my opinion, the cream cheese makes this dish special and it was so easy to cook.I snuck in some vegetables by adding corn and topped this with salsa before serving.

Please note that these are only based on my personal preferences and the verdicts of my slightly picky children, so you may want to try these recipes out if anything takes your fancy!
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