Countdown are rolling out the carpet so to speak. You will be pleased to know that Countdown are making the switch so their Pork is 100% free farmed.
What exactly does this mean to us as consumers?
Patoa farms have been independently assessed by the SPCA to certify them to be free farmed.
It means no crates, no stalls and the piggies are bred outdoors in the North Canterbury air. Local farms and NZ pigs. Countdown is committed to supporting and sustaining local produce here in Aotearoa.
100% free farmed pork is now available to all kiwis at no extra cost.
Higher welfare is ALWAYS the best option and Countdown is the only supermarket retailer in NZ that is 100% free farmed pork.
Now pork for me has always been one of those meats that gives me the heebee jeebees. Not because I don’t like it it’s because I am always terrified I am going to undercook or overcook it.
Countdown has given me the challenge to create a delicious and easy family friendly meal cooking with their 100% free farmed pork loin.
Moroccan pork loin with spring vegetable couscous salad.
600 gm Pork loin
2 tbsp Moroccan paste ( I used me ol’ fav Pepper & Me )
Salt and Pepper
Coat pork loin in moroccan paste.
Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
Score the pork fat.
Massage in a little oil and salt and pepper.
Reduce oven temp to 180 degrees or 160 degrees if using fan bake.
Cook for 50-60 mins.
Pork should be tender and slightly pink in the middle.
At 60 minutes remove the fat and crank the over up to max.
Cover the pork loin with tinfoil and rest for 15 mins.
On the tray lay out the cracking and cook for 10 mins or until it’s crispy and golden.
Slice the pork and the crackling.
Reserve the pork juices.
1 x Bunch of asparagus
1 x Eggplant
2 x Courgettes
1 cup Couscous
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and Pepper
Slice and grill the courgette and eggplant.
Half and grill the asparagus.
Roast the tomatoes in a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper for 10-15 mins.
“Cook” couscous as per packet instructions.
Combine the veges and couscous.
In a separate bowl add pork juices, vinegar, mustard and sugar.
Season with salt and pepper if required.
Dress salad with the dressing.
Serve the pork loin slices with the salad.
A wise person once said “humanity runs on coffee”.
They were not wrong.
Sunbeam sent our family the new Sunbeam Barista Max Espresso Machine with Integrated Grinder to try.
Oh and did we try!!
This bad boy is the newest kid on the coffee block for Sunbeam.
This coffee machine retails for $699.00.
This machine is really a one stop coffee shop. It’s got a built in grinder which can be tailored to your very own grinding needs. Pop the cafe head into the tap and go cradle, push down and your grinds fall directly into the head. Tamp down and select from single or double shot. It really doesn’t much easier than that. Head to the right and get your foam on. The powerful steam wand heats milk in a jiffy.
Now all this is easy once you get the hang of it.
Luke took it upon himself to watch a few YouTube videos on the techniques of the barista. So we all know now that he is an expert!!
I will put it out there …… he makes coffee 100% better than me now!!
We had a few teething problems – but only because we were too scared we would burn the milk. So after a few lukewarm lattes we nailed the milk shenanigans and now we have a perfect cuppa joe.
This is a good looking machine that deserves a place on the kitchen counter. It’s not big and bulky so it doesn’t dominate the bench. Easy to wipe down and clean.
This really is a great machine. Easy to use and easy to clean. Oh and most importantly is makes a bloody good coffee.
Because we don’t get enough of a coffee hit with a morning mocha I tried to make a delicious breakfast alternative to boring ol’ french toast.
I give you my friends …….
Tiramisu French Toast
½ cup milk
1/3 cup espresso
1.5 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Large sourdough loaf – cut into thick slices
1 tsp Pepper & Me Baker’s Grind
Add milk, eggs, espresso, vanilla, cocoa powder, Baker’s Grind and half the mascarpone in a food processor until well combined.
Add the sliced bread in a large dish. Pour over milk mixture. Set aside, turning halfway, for 20 minutes to soak.
In a fry pan add a knob of butter and a dash of oil melt over medium heat. Cook bread, in 3 batches, turning, for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden. Repeat with the remaining butter and bread, wiping the pan clean with paper towel between batches.
Serve layered bread on a plate with the leftover mascarpone between the slices. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with berries if wanted.
If your looking for a coffee machine that is easy to use, easy to clean and looks great in your kitchen checkout the Sunbeam Barista Max Espresso Machine with Integrated Grinder.
You shan’t be disappointed.
Now team you all know we have been making small changes as a family in our plastic bag use.
It’s not been hard but it definitely makes you reassess your plastic.
For us by getting our online groceries packed in boxes our plastic bag use has decreased to almost zero!
BUT we were still getting some of our fruit and veges packed in plastic fruit and vege bags.
So it got me thinking …. What can we do to stop this?
Here is where Munch Reusable Produce Bags come in.
Munch have packs of produce bags which firstly are very deceptive. These stretchy, colourful and New Zealand made bags can hold up to 2kg of produce (perfect for the potatoes). The airflow can circulate around your fruit and veges because of the perforated fabric. Perfect for stopping the potatoes and onions sweating and getting stinky!!
Each bag comes with a bungee like drawstring which once pulled keeps your bits in and not rolling around the bottom of your trolley or fridge.
In the Munch pack you get a set of 3 bags (2 small and 1 large).
The large is perfect for the large veges like potatoes, kumara or onions.
The smaller bags were perfect for literally EVERYTHING else!!
This set retails for $19.99.
They are easy to use at the self service checkouts too and don’t cause the virtual shop assistant to have a moment with your oranges!!
Munch Reusable Produce Bags will be well used in this whare and I am so happy that I can keep reducing our plastic use as a whanau.
By having 2 sets of these we can drop our produce bags and shopping bags off at our local supermarket and when the online shopping is done we can have our shopping packed almost plastic free!!
Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker
Let’s face it we are all time poor.
If we want to maximise our time away from the kitchen I am all for that. We just need to think smart. But let’s not be martyrs we need a little help.
We are all about maximum family time.
A time for being together.
For our whanau sitting down at the end of each day and having dinner is probably the only time during our hectic schedule where we all stop and see how everyone is doing.
By having less time in the kitchen and more time together as a family we are winning right?
Here is where Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker comes to the party.
The new Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker is a one stop shop.
Don’t have 8 hours to cook that stew?
Use the pressure cooker function.
Done in 1 hour.
At work for the day but need dinner done when you get home?
Use the slow cooker function.
Need to brown off your meat before slow cooking?
Use the brown/saute function.
What’s even better is you do it all in the one pan.
We all hate extra pots and pans to wash.
There is literally nothing this bad boy can’t do.
We… I say we it’s actually Miss Teddie who is into naming all household equipment and furniture has christened our Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker ….. Carl.
Carl can do many things other standard crock pots can’t do.
He can steam (perfect for steamed puds), he can keep things warm (for when kids are home at different times), he is a rice cooker AND he is a yoghurt maker!!
Crockpot gave me the challenge to come up with a great winter warmer recipe using their new Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi Cooker or as we call him Carl.
Mexican Beef with Creamy Polenta.
Serves 4 (or 3 adults and 2 small people)
1kg beef (chuck or stewing steak)
4 tablespoons Pepper & Me Mexellent paste (or any other mexican recipe base paste)
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 can water
Salt and Pepper to taste.
1 cup of polenta (quick cook)
3 cups cold water
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup parmesan grated.
Cut beef into 2 cm cubes and season with salt and pepper. Using the BROWN/SAUTE feature brown the meat in batches. Once all the meat is browned add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the Mexellent (or what you are using) paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and water.
If you are wanting to add other vegetables you can add them here.
Switch to the SLOW COOK function and slow cook for 6-8 hours OR
Switch to the PRESSURE COOK function and cook for 1.5 hours.
Bring the water to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Use a wire balloon whisk to stir the water. Gradually add the polenta in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly until all the polenta is incorporated into the water (whisking ensures the polenta is dispersed through the liquid as quickly as possible). Don’t add the polenta too quickly or it will turn lumpy.
Reduce heat to low. BE CAREFUL IT CAN SPIT AT YOU AND BURN!! Simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the polenta is soft.
Add cream, butter and parmesan mix with a wooden spoon until melted and season to taste.
Over the past few years, it has definitely become more apparent that the amount of sugar we consume is greater than what we put into our teas and coffees. Sauces, bread, baking and many other things have secret sugar hidden within the ingredients.
Being aware and reducing the amount of sugar in our diets can keep us and our whanau healthy.
WHOLE EARTH Sweetener Co. uses stevia a natural leaf found in South America used for hundreds of years to sweeten herbal tea.
Their Baking Blend uses a mix of stevia and raw cane sugar to allow the look and baking ability of sugar but with 50% fewer calories than regular sugar.
WHOLE EARTH Sweetener Co. gave me the challenge of finding a recipe and using their products.
These Apple Crumble Cookies are easy to make and perfect lunchbox additions for little people and in our case, not so little people.
I double the recipe for our baking loving family of 5, otherwise they would last 2 days if I’m lucky!
You could also substitute the dried apple with any dried fruit e.g. apricot, figs or dates.
Apple Crumble Cookies
100g dried apple
200g plain flour
1.5tsp baking powder
100g butter (cold)
100g WHOLE EARTH Sweetener Co. Baking Blend
1 large free-range egg
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius
Line 2 trays with baking paper.
In a food processor put apple and blitz until finely chopped.
Add flour, butter, Whole Earth Baking Blend and a pinch of salt.
Blitz till fine breadcrumbs.
Remove 3-4 tbsp of mix and set aside.
Add egg and combine.
Divide into large teaspoon sized balls, roll and flatten lightly.
Sprinkle over reserved mix.
Bake for 8-10 mins until lightly golden.
Cool on tray for 10 mins then transfer to a wire rack.
I’ve got a few more of my Lady Lifesavers for May.
The may not specifically be for the ladies but they may make your life 100% better!
Wicked Sensation Children’s Magnesium Cream
This little pot of magic soothes muscles, frightens monsters away and makes children SLEEP! I have been using this on the kids feet to protect them against “monsters” BUT really I have been helping them sleep! Granted I have pretty great sleepers but it takes them along time to get to sleep. The lavender and magnesium helps to soothe them into a blissful sleep. For us it’s been that winding down post dinner ritual. Bath, teeth and a foot massage for the small ones. They love it! I have also been using it on tight shoulders and for my tension headaches. MAGIC!! Made in NZ and full of natural goodies.
So Simple Retinol + Lycopene Face Serum
So Simple Skincare work on the waterless skincare approach. Basically this means by no water in the product there is more active product. Also by having more active ingredients you need less product!!
By using this under my night cream EVERY night I have seen a reduction in the large pores around my nose which in turn means less blockage and congestion e.g. blackheads.
This serum is quickly absorbed and the active ingredients of the retinol and lycopene help kick the butts of fine lines (very important in your 30s) and evens out skin tone.
Frankie Apothecary Breathe Roll On + Kawakawa Body Oil
I cannot rave enough about Michelle and Frankie Apothecary. We only used the Frankie Sunscreen SPF50 this summer and the whole family loved it. Frankie Apothecary have launched two new products this winter. Breathe Roll On takes Kanuka for decongestion, Kawakawa and Eucalyptus oils as well as Marjoram and Lemon oil for headache relief. This has been a godsend with winter approaching and the snots and sniffles that have been bouncing around. With the snozzles snot free we can focus on keeping the moisture in our skin this winter. I don’t know about you but I get such dry skin during the winter. Cue the Kawakawa Body oil. Soaks in quickly so it’s not an oil slick in your pj’s, I love the fact it’s fragrance free as I get a bit funny with overly botanical fragrance in products. It can also been used as a massage oil for mum and baby or as a bath oil.
This year is flying by. Before we know it will be dare I say it Christmas!
Now people I could wax lyrical about the joys of hoovering (vacuuming or luxing depending on where you come from) and housework but let’s face it ……. I bloody hate it.
I am very good at finding essential and must do jobs to get out of it. However the problem is with 3 kids and at this stage no dog (to lick up the crumbs) it doesn’t take long until my house looks like a barnyard.
In the new pad we have carpet in the bedrooms and rimu flooring everywhere else. For us it’s a novelty to have carpet and it’s wonderful not having 5+ rooms all with their own dust bunnies!
If you summed up my cleaning style it would be frantic. A quick whip round before visitors arrive. When Godfreys asked me to try the iVac x10 it seemed to fit perfectly into my cleaning style. Unplug the battery, whip round the house, empty the dust canister and plug it back it. DONE.
I love the fact there is no changing from hard floors to carpet. It flips between both perfectly. It sucks up everything BUT if you’re like me and have small people you tend to hoover up all sorts. When you “accidentally” suck up that Lego the iVac x10 stops and lets you get it out before the get into the workings, bejiggering the mechanisms.
It has some cool little accessories that can get into those couch nooks and crannies as well as nailing the cobwebs that hang out on the ceiling.
Our iVac x10 has a new home in the laundry and at first I thought “ughhhh battery powered, I will have to charge it” but I now have got in the habit of when I have finished using it I just plug it in and it’s good to go for next time.
I never realised how much hoover cords annoyed my until I didn’t have one. It’s so freeing. No finding a plug, un-doing cords and only going so far because the cord won’t reach. I can flick around the WHOLE house in 10 mins now. Now don’t get me wrong I am still not a fan of hoovering but the iVac x10 sure makes it easier!!
The crew at Godfreys have been filled with Christmas cheers and have given me a iVac x10 valued at $299 to giveaway to one of you lovely people.
Hit the link below to enter.
Heading into December it’s Christmas party central. Also we want to look good for Santa when he comes sliding down the ol’ chimney!
The awesome team at Shine On have let me trawl their virtual shelves to find some looks to fit every festive fashion need.
This jumpsuit is AMAZING! Jumpsuits quite intimidating if you’re not 5’10 and the size of a twig. But the slits add flow so you’re less likely to get ol’ camel toe (a notorious jumpsuit issue)!!
Every gal need a pretty dress. This is it. Feminine and just down right pretty.
COLOUR! Want a dress that is a talking point? This is it!
Holy Moses! These are come hither I am one sexy beast shoes!!
I love this dress. Anything with tassels in my book is fun!
You can’t beat a good summer sandal. Dress up or dress down. Skirt, dress or shorts. Anything goes.
3 words. I need this!! The colour is stunning.
Kimonos are the new knickers.Every girl needs them! Wear them over a dress, jeans or shorts. They will be your best friend this summer!!
I have this dress in black and stripes and I get so many comments! Easy to wear, perfect for travelling very forgiving in the pooch department (my problem area!)
Denim shorts. I staple every wardrobe must have. Perfect with that kimono!
I live in these Ancapari slides. So comfortable even being so flat. Perfect for when jandals are a bit too casual.
So ladies and gents get your glad rags on and have fun this holiday season!!
We all need to wear pants, unless your name is Kimmy Kardashian BUT even Kim like a pant at times.
Now don’t get me wrong I still love a good jean but this winter I have been wearing the shit out of a good drop crotch pant.
You either love or hate the drop. I bloody love them. My mother bloody hates them and continues to comment on the fact. Bearing in mind I have just had my 31st birthday it’s pretty obvious your mother always has an opinion on EVERYTHING!!
Easy to wear. Dress up or dress down. Day to Night. They really are easy to wear AND frigging comfortable.
Stripes, denim and monochrome all feature in this mamas wardrobe.
Here are my favs.
Madame Midi Stripe $109 from Madame Goblin. These are up there with my favourite ever purchases. I love them almost as much as my children. Sometimes more. They also do small sizes for matchy matching.
ELM Lennox $89.95 from Shineon. More a relaxed fix these are perfect for a relaxing Sunday.
Luxe Fleur Drop Crotch Jeans AU$99.99 from Decjuba. An extreme drop in the crotch area. Not for the faint hearted. Definitely size down.
mumMe Duffle Pant $69.95 from Bam + Boo. No seams and no fading from these bad boys. Bam + Boo are also bringing out also new style with pockets!!
FATE Halston Pant $139.90 from Shineon. Slightly shorter in the leg these pants also the most beautiful fabric. Lil bit shiny and silky. Perfect for the evening with heels.
Luxe Drop Crotch Pant AU$59.95 from Decjuba. You can’t go past a staple. I think I need the grey!!
In life and adulthood there are winners and losers. Now I’m not talking about winning a race or a game of monopoly. Life is full of outcomes good and bad.
That job you really want. Sometimes you are successful and sometimes you are not. The hot guy that you have been seeing turns out to be a bit of a douchebag, you learn and move on. As Grandma would say plenty more fish in the sea!
A paper you have slaved over for weeks sometimes you pass and sometimes you have read the brief completely wrong and your lecturer wants you to re-write. Sitting your driving test and speeding and you get back to the depot only to be told “I am sorry I cannot pass you”. Life it FULL of ups and downs.
Why am I writing this?
Tonight I saw Maria from Happy Mum Happy Child shared a moment from her life on Facebook and it got me thinking …. We as parents try not to let our children fail or be disappointed but are we doing them a disservice in doing so?
Our choices and actions teach us boundaries. Even when they are small, children push those boundaries to learn how far they can go. It’s nature. Failure and disappointment is a natural part of life and in allowing our children not to experience this natural yet shitty part of life are we not teaching them a valuable life lesson.
Imagine getting to 18 and never experiencing disappointment or failure? You would not have the coping mechanisms and strategies on board to realise THIS IS NORMAL. You would not know what was happening and you would feel like your world was ending.
Now I am no expert but looking from the outside in I am seeing a generation of kids who have never experienced disappointment or failure. Never lost a game, race or been told no. There are always “winners” and “losers” in this world. Maybe the words are not the nicest but they are reality.
Are we setting our kids up to “fail” by not teaching them the crucial life lesson?
It saddens me when I hear of schools not allowing “winners” in a race, because the other children will feel disappointment. Does this also not allow the winning child to feel a sense of pride and achievement? It also allows us to be apart of society that cuts achievers down with extreme hatred ….. Tall Poppy Syndrome anyone?
Here in NZ our teen suicide rate is high, too high.
As a mother with a child heading into this turbulent time I hope that I have given him the foundations of life lessons to get him through. I hope I have instilled in him that there is more to life than what can seem like the end of the world.
I would love to hear others thoughts.
Like I said this is only my opinion. I am not a parenting expert or child psychologist. Just a mum speaking as I find.