Tray Bake Pasta

This recipe has evolved from a stand at the stove gig to a throw it all in a pan gig.

I am all for making good food as easy as possible. I know the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is spend hours at the stove. Bonus ….. even a husband could make this one!!


TRAY BAKE PASTA

4-6 good quality sausages of your choice (head to your butcher for the best ones!)

1.5kg tomatoes OR 1 jar of pasata sauce if you need to sell a kidney for said tomatoes

1 onion (sliced)

2 springs rosemary

1 handful of thyme

1 pinch of dried chilli flakes (omit or pump it up depending on taste)

salt & pepper

2-3 glugs of good olive oil (I use garlic infused for extra flavour)

Pasta any shape/type but remember shapes are a great carrier for sauces (depending on how many you are feeding. I used 1x 500gm packet to feed my family of 5 with left overs).

Parmesan

Fresh basil leaves

METHOD

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Add tomatoes, onions, herbs, chilli, salt & pepper to a large baking dish.

Take each sausage and pull the insides into small meatballs. Each sausage makes 5-6 meatballs.

Give it a big glug of olive oil cover with foil and bake for 20-25 mins.

Uncover and smoosh the tomatoes with a fork (if you have used pasata sauce skip this step).

Bake for another 10-15 until brown.

While this is happening cook your pasta in boiling salted water until done. Drain and keep 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the baking tray, add the cooking water and with a wooden spoon chuff up the baked on goodness to make the sauce.

Serve with fresh basil and grated parmesan.

Enjoy!!

J xx

Advertisements

Winners and Losers

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.

A pain in the GINA

Now we are going to get into the nitty gritty.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

If you don’t want to hear a woman talk about periods keep on scrolling.

As women we know what happens once a month.  When you are younger you want your little friend to visit you that 1st time because you want to feel grown up. It is a novelty. Your transition into womanhood.  Then reality hits and you realise that it doesn’t make you feel grown up, it feels like your vagine is going to fall out and someone is scraping your insides out with a blunt spoon. Well that is how I felt.

For 15-16 years I have dreaded each month. Those days where I want to crawl back to bed because I feel so awful.  The days where I debated shoving a nappy between my legs to stem the flow.  The days where I have debated inventing a vagina shelf that holds it up in a sling . The days where I’d be pain killered up to the eyeballs and still crying because it hurt so much. The months where I would go through a box of supers in a day.  The mornings I would ROLL out of bed with a towel between my legs and my husband yelling in the background “it’s OK, I will change the sheets”.

I think my lowest point was standing in a room FULL of men at work with it gushing down my legs and I didn’t know what to do but thank the baby Jesus for my work friend who rescued me and saved me from a VERY awkward situation/conversation.

I accepted this as “normal”. I was just unlucky.

I was the unfortunate one who just had terrible periods and I looked at those bitches using slim minis, who would say “oh I barely even realise I have it” with pure jealousy.

Heading into my 31st year, I had a life changing epiphany. Now in all honesty I wouldn’t have gone and bought organic tampons. So when BON sent me some to try I really didn’t have any expectations because a tampon, is a tampon right?

WRONG!

Oh my god how I was so wrong.

For the 1st time in 15 years I had a painfree period.

Coincidence says I, because how can a tampon make a difference?

Because it bloody does!!

4 months on I’m still pain free and it’s gone from the texas chainsaw massacre to really a period that really doesn’t affect my day to day life AND I used a mini ……… without having to run to the ladies 5 mins later!!

So I guess why I am oversharing is the fact that what I experienced for 15 years wasn’t normal. I mean yes this could be all coincidental and it might not even be related to the change in tammys BUT it’s the only thing I have changed and the impact on my life has been so drastic.  So life changing that I wanted to share my story and if I can help one person to have a pain free, non monthly gush fest I will.

So what’s my theory on this whole organic tampon shenanigians?

It could be the fact that the bleaches, dyes and chemicals used in regular tampons could trigger an immune/pain response and that is what I was experiencing.


Who knows, I am in no way a tampon/body/period expert!!

Something as simple as switching up your regular tampons to organic can possibly make a difference. It did for me.

If it makes a difference then why the hell not!

P.S – this is not a sponsored post. It’s just me talking about something that has actually changed my life.

Sweetcorn and Kale Fritters

For a twist on the traditional sweetcorn fritter.

3/4 cup of plain flour

1 egg (free range if possible)

440g can creamed sweetcorn

 can whole corn kernels

2 tablespoons chia seeds

4 -6 kale leaves (chopped)

1 pinch chilli flakes (more if you like it hot)

salt and pepper to taste

oil 

METHOD

  • Place flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Add the egg.
  • Add both tins of corn and chilli.
  • Mix till WELL combined.
  • Add chia seeds.
  • Add kale.
  • Oil large flat plan and cooking over a medium heat til golden.
  • Serve with salad and sauce of your choice.

    I served my fritters with Lisa’s Carrot and Cumin dip and dry toasted sunflower seeds.

    NEW YEAR. NEW ………

    To me the new year does not mean a new me or a new diet or even a new life path.  To me the new year is all about how I can make this year 2017, even better than the last.

    15723410_1274442402617687_3926562001289754067_o

    I love to eat but I also love to cook. Food for our family brings us together. Be it a family dinner or watching an episode of Australian Masterchef. I am not quite sure where my love of food came from. Mum is a baker but not a cook. At family dinners I make the dinner, she makes the pud.  I remember recording (on VHS I may add – showing me age!) the very 1st cooking show Jamie Oliver ever did “The Naked Chef”. I would watch it over and over again. Maybe it all started there? Who knows. Still love Jamie though!

    img_20170108_113813_055

    2017 is about trying new things, cuisines and techniques.

    Each week I will be trying a new recipe from my ever growing cookbook collection. Because lets face it. We all have those cookbooks we brought but have never actually used.

    WEEK ONE:

    I embarked on week one with my new friend Donna. Donna Hay that is.  Her latest cookbook “Basic to Brilliance” is probably the best cookbook I have read in a VERY long time. Core recipes like roast chicken, pork belly or beef shoulder are then transformed into 2 or 3  additional recipes.

    img_20170110_191810_115

    We started with her basic recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi then I pimped it up with my chorizo and cherry tomato sauce.

    Chorizo and Cherry Tomato Sauce

    4 small chorizo

    1 punnet cherry tomatoes

    spinach (as much as you like)

    Splosh of red wine vinegar

    Salt & Pepper

    Chop your chorizo and place in a pan with a dash of oil. Fry until the oil has a beautiful orange/golden hue. Add your tomatoes, spinach, salt and pepper. Add a splosh of the red wine vinegar to taste. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed.  Toss your gnocchi when the spinach has wilted. You can either crisp up the gnocchi or keep them soft and pillowy. Top with extra parmesan.

    16143823_1295589920502935_1411683262843304451_o

    My tip for ricotta gnocchi – FLOUR, FLOUR and FLOUR some more. This gnocchi is sticky and sticks to everything. Dust your board, plate, knife and anything that it will touch otherwise it will be a sticky disaster!

    img_20170123_192702_466
    Thanks IG husband for this shot!!

    So keep following our food adventures on Instagram and Facebook and enjoy our food journey for 2017.

     

    CHOC CHIP COOKIES

    Believe me when I say I am no baker. When I cook I tend to wing it so restricting myself to exact quantities and measurements just doesn’t fit my nature.

    When I bake it has to be easy with minimal fannying around.

    These chocolate chip cookies are easy, quick and you can double the recipe with out fuss for those school trips and shared lunches.

    15137433_1230652363663358_1600758937508227647_o

    INGREDIENTS:

    125 grams of butter

    1/2 cup brown sugar

    1/2 cup white sugar

    1 egg – free range if you can get it (let’s be kind to those chickens)

    1 and 3/4 cups of flour

    1 teaspoon vanilla essence (we use the Equagold vanilla paste)

    1 and a half cups of chocolate buttons (milk, dark, white or a mix)

    METHOD:

    Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

    Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

    Mix in the egg and vanilla.

    Mix in the flour.

    Mix in the chocolate buttons.

    Roll into teaspoon size balls.

    Bake at 180 degrees until lightly browned (15 mins). Cook for a shorter time if you like a chewy cookies or longer if you like a crisp cookie.

    BLISS BALLS

    I have an announcement.

    I am no longer a maker of bliss ball virgin. My cherry has been popped.

    Now I have eaten my fair share of them but to be honest I just couldn’t be bothered making them. I barely have time to pee in peace let alone get amongst a bliss ball recipe.

    So I sucked it up got Mr almost 4 involved and it was actually surprisingly easy and he LOVED it!

    When LUXE Fitness approached me to try their new protein powder I was a little dubious. I don’t do shakes and I definitely don’t do smoothies. Don’t get me wrong I like the idea but it’s a textural thing for me and I instantly feel like gagging …. moving on, even the thought is making me gag!

    Instead of using it in a shake or smoothie I decided to check out their website of recipes and there in all it’s orby lucious goodness (channeling my inner Nigella here!) were the peanut protein balls.

    In true me fashion I didn’t have half of the things in my cupboard so I took their recipe and threw my spin on it.

    Crunchy Peanut Bliss Balls

    1.5 cups oats
    1 cup of pitted dates
    1/2 cup LUXE protein powder
    4 TBSP GO superfood Cacao powder
    1/2 – 3/4 cup of crunchy peanut butter (we used Pic’s PB)
    1/2 tsp vanilla essence (we used Equagold vanilla paste)
    water to bind

    Method

    It’s pretty darn simple. Chuck everything into your food processor. Blitz til everything in combined. Add water until it comes together.

    Use a teaspoon and roll into balls. Dust with the Cacao powder and you are done.

    Very Berry Bliss Balls

    1.5 cups oats
    1 cup pitted dates
    1/2 cup LUXE protein powder
    2 TBSP GO superfood Cacao powder
    1 tsp GO superfood Camu Camu powder (if you don’t have this just add more raspberries)
    1/2 – 3/4 cup FRESH AS freeze dried raspberries
    1/2 tsp vanilla essence (we used Equagold vanilla paste)
    water to bind
    1/4 cup desiccated coconut (to rolls balls)

    Method

    It’s pretty darn simple. Chuck everything into your food processor. Blitz til everything in combined. Add water until it comes together.

    Use a teaspoon and roll into balls. Crush the freeze dried raspberries into a powder and mix with the coconut. Roll the balls in the coconut and raspberry mix and your are done.

    The only downside to this whole exercise is that I had to borrow my mother’s food processor because we don’t have one. Then I remembered why …….. they are a complete B***H to clean!

    J x