Tuesday 31 March 2015

Hallowed Grounds Espresso - Bean Scene #1

While I was cleaning out the photos I had on my phone, I realised that there were quite a few of coffees and edibles from various places I frequent. Instead of deleting them all, I thought I'd write posts about some of my favourite places to share. Some of the pictures were taken just because so they may not be the best quality but I'm sure the deliciousness will show through!

As a mother, there are few things I appreciate better than a really great coffee. Well... maybe a really great coffee home delivered to my hand while steaming, perhaps with a side of warm scone with jam... I digress. If I can't have my coffee delivered, the next best thing is having a great cafe close by. Enter Hallowed Grounds Espresso. Located at Shop 2, 1417 Logan Rd, Mount Gravatt, there is plenty of street parking around.

Seating is either on the footpath or in the cosy interior on an eclectic mix of tables, benches and chairs.

You order at the counter inside, which is beside a display cabinet full of cakes and sandwiches. If you're eating in, you get a painted spoon to take back to your table. Coffee is freshly roasted Elixir coffee, which has not yet failed to disappoint. If the cakes and sandwiches on display in the cabinet aren't to your taste, there is an all day breakfast and lunch menu options as well. Many of the items are vegetarian and can also be easily adapted to be vegan friendly as well.

Smashed avocado on sourdough, with feta $11.50
It is through Hallowed Grounds Espresso that I discovered these locally made awesome vegan cupcakes. The one pictured below is peanut butter and jam and it tasted amazing! Obligatory shot, with a fork (see what I did there?!)

Vegan cupcake, peanut butter and jam, $5.50
Staff are friendly and chatty, and happy to make suggestions if you need help. They have managed to crate a little community driven cafe - regulars are recognised and greeted with glee. Dogs are welcomed outside, and treated with fresh water and doggy treats. The cafe is chock full of interesting posters, collectables and even things for the kids to play with (thank you!!). It's the little things (like thank you notes with your coffee) that make a cafe worth going back to again and again. Hallowed Grounds Espresso have that.

Do you have a favourite local cafe?

Click to add a blog post for Hallowed Grounds Espresso on Zomato 

Thursday 26 March 2015

Three things Thursday

1. Turns out that Jimmy's recent grumpiness may have been related to a developmental leap for my little man can now roll with gusto. Yesterday I put him down to sleep on his back and when I went in to check on him he was on his belly. This happened several times. I am such a proud mama, but at the same time, oh my baby is growing up!

2. Seems it was a bit of a hit when I shared a toddler conversation, so here's another I had with Ellie this week:
E: What's for dinner?
M: We are having pasta bake. There is a tomato and chickpea one, or a tuna bake option
E: I don't like pasta
M: You liked pasta last week...
E: I want chicken
M: How about sea chicken? That's what tuna is
E: Ooh sea chicken, I love it, I love it!
Am I a terrible mother? She loves chicken, so I often re-purpose the label as above but I do worry I'll turn her into Jessica Simpson....

3. Finally, here are two of my favourite shots from Jimmy's christening. They capture beautifully Ellie's sass and cheekiness and Jimmy's calm zen like demeanour. 

How has your week been?

Wednesday 25 March 2015

5 Random Acts of Mummy Kindness

It's been a rough couple of weeks lately, as Jimmy came down with some kind of virus. The kind where he was coughing and hacking, had a runny nose and horrible nappies and was just generally miserable. Because it's a virus, there is nothing to be done except ride it out and offer him comfort. It's been exhausting. He can't sleep well lying down so constantly wants to be held. It's one thing to wear him during the day, but quite another for him to be wanting it at night too.

His illness also coincided with a really busy weekend where we couldn't cancel any plans. Consequently, I'm more than a little tired, and there is only so much that coffee can do, especially when I'm restricted to one (rather large) cup a day in order to keep the breastmilk supply up.

I have always known that people can be really nice, thoughtful and helpful in a crisis. People rallied and helped us out where they could see a need. I am surrounded by friends and family who have their hearts and intentions in the right place, as do most people really. It's when there is no crisis, during the every day grind of life where sometimes those little acts of kindness can also make a huge difference to someone.

You know the times I'm talking about - standing in the checkout line, driving to do the daycare drop off, juggling shopping and baby while loading up the car, frantically running around the shopping centre to stock up on necessities. I think even on a good day, mums (and dads!) could use a helping hand - whether it's an understanding smile at just the right frazzled moment, or a surprise offer to drop over some baked sugary goodness.

With that in mind, here are five random every day nice things you can do next time you see a mum out and about:

  1. Listen intently. Often we are caught up in our own little worlds, and we forget to slow down and listen. If you ask a mama how they're doing, really slow down and listen to their response. If they want advice, don't be afraid to offer it, but if not, don't be afraid to just sit there and let them say what they need to. A sympathetic and willing ear is really a wonderful gift sometimes.
  2. When out without kids, or even if your kids are older and better behaved, skip that premium right-at-the-door parking spot with the hope that a mum who really needs it will get it. While I know it's not guaranteed and there is a possibility some young unappreciative thug will snag it, I hope karma will point someone who really needs it to the spot.
  3. Visit a mummy friend today and distract her kids. Whether that means you play endless tea party games, take them to the park or run around in the garden. Remember how nice it is to have an hour or so just for your very own? Offer that to a friend. Bonus points if you bring along something sugary and delicious.
  4. That friend with a newborn or a sick toddler at home? Call her from the supermarket while you're there and see if she needs anything. There is not much worse than running out of an essential at home and then having to bundle the kids into the car as an extra punishment for running out to pick up said essential. With very little effort on your part you can save a frazzled mama friend that effort on hers.
  5. Speaking of shopping, next time you're out and there is a tired, harassed looking mama with a screaming, wailing child... look at her and smile. Not a creepy grimace smile, but a really understanding smile. Perhaps help her out loading her groceries onto the conveyor belt. Hold her trolley while she extracts the fit-throwing monster kid. Give her a kind word. We've all been there. Maybe next time you're the 'mean' mama who won't buy the lollies, people will be understanding and realise that you aren't usually so grumpy and your babe isn't so loud/bratty/wailing.

Have you received or given a random act of kindness lately?

Thursday 19 March 2015

Three things Thursday

1. Jimmy has been a bit unwell for the past week with some kind of respiratory virus. It's made him sleep terribly and be a bit snotty and generally a grumpy little thing. However, we had a big weekend just past and none of the things that we had on could be rescheduled so we just had to push through. He was doing quite well at keeping it together all things considered, until we got to his baptism. Just before it was due to start, a terrible smell emanated from him. I briefly considered ignoring it, but a quick check ensured that was not going to be a good outcome. I had to ask the priest to please delay the start, while Mr Fork sprinted to the car with Jimmy to clean him up. Apparently it was heinous. It was also equally uncomfortable dealing with an entire church full of people looking at me and knowing what had happened. Motherhood. Keeping it real.

2. On the topic of keeping it real, I got the following pearler from Ellie the other day. We were having a conversation, and clearly I must have said something that offended her sensibilities, because all of a sudden she burst out with:
E: "Stop talking mama, it's off-putting"M: "Excuse me? Do you even know what that means?"E: (with little hand raised) "Just stop talking mama"
I have never said that. Daycare has a lot to answer for!

3. I'm loving the cooler weather! Now that it is cooling down, I'm revelling in comfort food like hot chocolates and pasta bakes and this gorgeous apple crumble slice (recipe courtesy of Liz, which I followed faithfully except I subbed something in for the eggs). What are your favourite foods to eat in the cooler months?

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday 18 March 2015

How do you know when to pick sweet potato?

I shared this picture over on my Facebook page, but I thought I'd broaden the reach and appeal to a wider audience through my blog as well!

I've shared a gardening post about planting my sweet potato vines in a place beside the house where nothing else seemed to grow well. I've even had a rogue one unearthed by the puppies, but I haven't actually done a proper harvest yet.

Sweet potato and galangal - BEFORE
They've been in the ground about a year, and the change from my tidy planting of the carefully cultivated slips, to the mess of leaves I have now is huge!

Sweet potato - AFTER
I experiment with growing a lot of things, but often I do it spur of the moment without thought of when and how to harvest. I figure I'll work that out when the time comes. I do like growing my own food as I love knowing how it was grown, and what was put on it (usually nothing as I really am quite lazy and if a plant needs lots of love, attention and products it probably has no place in my garden). I also like keeping my food miles as low as possible, and contributing to the lowering of our grocery bill. Wins all around really!

The vines are obviously doing really well. In fact, they've taken over the galangal, and they're making their way across lots of the other plants beside the house, including climbing over my raphis palm too! They're gorgeous, lush and green on top, and as is evident from the munching, also loved by my rampant grasshoppers.

My question is, how do I know when they're ready to harvest? How do I make sure the bounty is stored correctly once unearthed? Sure, I can ask google, but first I wanted to appeal to real people with real experience. Can you help? I'll update with a consolidated list of information I receive!


  • Apparently you harvest sweet potato when the top of the vine turns yellow, or before the leaves are frost damaged, as this can promote rot.
  • You can also eat the leaves in things like salad and stir fries. Pick these anytime.
  • Flowers can be picked and added to salads. They have a nice mild sweet taste.

How's your garden growing lately?

Thursday 12 March 2015

Three things Thursday

Thursday again, which means I'm sharing three snippets of things that happened or that I found interesting during the week!

1. Ellie had her first proper dentist visit. By that I mean she sat on the chair (on daddy's lap) and with some gentle encouragement, allowed the dentist to count her teeth and have a poke around her mouth. I was so proud, and if I'm honest, rather thankful that the verdict was her teeth are fine. Previously she's screamed blue murder on even looking at the dentist chair as we take her with us whenever Mr Fork or I have a check up. At least I know that my unwanted advances chasing her around the house with a tooth brush are paying off!

2. Jimmy is developing a decided preference for lying on one side, despite me sneaking in to move him while he sleeps and positioning his room so that he looks toward his less favoured side. As a result, he is developing a slight flat spot. I know that some cultures think a flat head at the back is attractive, but he just looks wonky. My physiotherapist recommended lots of tummy time, but also getting a fit ball and rolling him around on it. Quite frankly, every parent should have a fit ball. I don't know how I survived without one for so long, but all I have to do is wrap him and bounce and instant calm. Hooray!

3. I have got snow peas ready to harvest. Well, to be strictly honest, I had snow peas ready to harvest, and then I showed Ellie, and she picked and ate them all. I can't be mad because really, she's eating greens and I know they're good ones because I grew them so I know exactly what was involved in producing them (nothing! Clean, organic yumminess!). Here is photographic evidence before they got eaten

What's been happening during your week?

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Review: Morlife

Sometimes, it's close to dinner time and I just cannot be bothered. Despite meal planning, despite having a hungry family to feed (why must they eat all the time!?), I just can't drag myself into the kitchen to make a well thought out and nutritious meal. Mr Fork sometimes manages to talk me into getting a takeaway, but I'll sit there eating it resentfully (yet also gratefully), thinking about how I could cook something just as good for a fraction of the cost.

When I was introduced to the nutrition brand Morlife, it seemed like an ideal solution. The products that they offer are fairly nutritious, free from lots of fillers and weird number ingredients, and have a list of ingredients that I can understand.

I have a variety of products to work my way through, but the one that tickled my tastebud fancy right away was the Mediterranean Tomato and Herb Quinoa Risotto.

It was easy to prepare, with an option of stovetop or microwave cooking. Being super lazy, I opted for the microwave route, and 15 minutes later (20 on a stove top), it was done. It would have been delicious by itself, but I opted to serve it alongside some roasted eggplant from the garden and some steamed sweet potato. There was enough for two generous serves and I ate the second serving for lunch the next day (Ellie had declared she didn't like it, and it was so tasty I wasn't going to force her to eat it - bahaha).

I think this brand is going to reoccur on my lazy dinner nights now that I've tested it out.

Note that after I'd made it and started eating, I did discover that there is milk powder in the quinoa, so although it is vegetarian, it is not vegan. I didn't get a belly ache after, so I don't think the lactose is overly strong.

What is your lazy dinner go-to meal?

Sunday 8 March 2015

What's in my kitchen, March 2015

Hello Autumn! While I'm sure that there will be plenty of lovely warm soups and casserole meals appearing in my kitchen soon, I'm still enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and the amazing fruits and vegetables available now. I can't even begin to comprehend that it's a new season already when it's still so unbelievably hot. So without further ado, here's what's in my kitchen lately:

In my kitchen is...

Vegan cupcakes from a local Brisbane business. We are not hugely into romance for the sake of a day, but, very strong hinting on my part resulted in Mr Fork getting me a box of vegan cupcakes for Valentine's Day. Because... well, CAKE! That I didn't have to make for myself! Who needs flowers when you have a husband bring you coffee in the morning, and then disappear with the toddler, only to reappear with cupcakes in hand? I know, right!

Ellie handed them to me with a "Mama these are for you," and then staked a claim with, "share please, mama!"

Flavours were Red Velvet (made red with beetroot), Pink Guava, and my personal favourite of the three, Black Forest. The Black Forest is cherry liqueur infused double chocolate, drizzled with more cherry liqueur and then filled with black cherry jam, topped with vanilla buttercream, cupcake cutout, ganache and a cherry. YUM!

In my kitchen is...

Bento accessories! Ellie has been fighting mealtimes lately, so in an attempt to make food more interesting, I've purchased a few bento accessories for her. I'm starting small in case she doesn't like them, but pictured below is a bear shaped sandwich cutter/press, and two egg/rice moulds in the shape of a bear and a bunny.

It's been a bit of a hit actually. Sandwiches are now requested to be "bear sandwich please mama", and I oblige happily. It's a bit of a win/win, as I get to eat all the crusts that are leftover (I think bread crusts are delicious).

I don't eat eggs myself, but Mr Fork buys them from a lady he works with so I know these eggs are organic and from happy hens. I had a go at shaping an egg for Ellie, but there was a bit of a mishap when I got to the peeling stage, so on opening the mould, my cute bunny looked more than a little rabid with it's missing part. No matter, Ellie still enjoyed eating him. Egg moulding is quite an arduous yet interesting process, so I think I'll blog more about it in a separate post. I also have yet to try rice moulding too, although I expect that to be much simpler.

In my kitchen is...

Veggie straws. These were purchased on a whim from Aldi. I thought they were dehydrated vegetable snacks based on the packaging, but I probably should have investigated further instead of just a cursory ingredient check. These funny, square, hollow strips are far removed from vegetables and instead are a puffy mix of potato flour, oil and starch, with tomato puree, spinach powder, salt, sugar and 'flavours' added. I was not very impressed with the taste - I found them bland and would much rather have munched on a real veggie stick with some hommus instead. Ellie however, loved them, so she gets to have them as a special treat. When they are gone, I shan't be getting any more though.

In my kitchen is...

Coconut and raspberry loaf. This is a variation on my standard four ingredient coconut loaf. So easy, Ellie can make it herself (and does, although I help with ingredient measuring and the oven work). I love that she is showing an interest in cooking, and also, in the creating and eating of her masterpieces! As an aside, I'm also loving that she enjoys the clean up part too...

In my kitchen is...

Eggplants a-plenty! I'm harvesting upwards of ten or so eggplants a week at the moment so they've featured pretty heavily on the menu lately. I've had lasagne, moussaka, stuffed and just plain roasted to turn into babaganoush. I have also roasted some and frozen the flesh for use later. And still they keep coming! I really need to find a local garden share near me.

In my kitchen is...

Space! After last month's post where I vented about the uselessness of those jelly maker gadgets, I went on a decluttering spree! I figured that kitchen space is much too valuable to waste on things that I don't use and with that in mind, I was ruthless. I culled corn cob holders and a whole plethora of plastic cutlery that Ellie seemed to have snuck in. Old appliances and devices that I was holding onto out of sentimentality, and a bunch of other things were also either freecycled, donated or binned as appropriate. Now my cupboards are more organised and it's much easier to find what I'm looking for.

I am linking this post in with Fig Jam and Lime Cordial's monthly In My Kitchen event. Go have a peek through other kitchens around the globe!

What's in your kitchen this month?

Thursday 5 March 2015

Three things Thursday

I read something once about parenting that said the days are long, but the years are short. I think the same can be said about weeks, as every time I sit down to write my Thursday posts, I think, Thursday already?!

1. Jimmy is having his christening in a few weeks. I've been looking around for a suitable outfit for him for what feels like forever. Until I had a baby boy, I didn't realise how hard it is to shop for clothes for them. Girls are totally spoilt for choice with lots of cute small outfits, boys, not so much. If all else fails, I have managed to find a cute set of (what appears to be pyjamas) clothes with a collar, buttons and all other things which check the appropriate boxes. Let's hope it doesn't come to that (although frankly at this stage I'm ok if it does!).

2. This week has been hard has both children seem to be going through a bit of a sleep regression. While Jimmy in no way at all sleeps through the night, I can at least usually rely on him now to have a decent long stretch of about four hours. Not so lately as he is back to waking almost hourly. Ellie also seems to migrate to our bed on most nights. Cue zombie like mama. If coffee didn't have such a dehydrating affect on breastfeeding, I would be having it way more often than my necessary scant cup a day right now!

3. On that note above, sometimes the day just calls for a sweet treat, am I right? I chose a macadamia tart as although it's pretty much the same thing, it just sounds way more healthy than a 'caramel tart'... yes?

Happy Thursday to you!

Sunday 1 March 2015

What do you do with a glut of eggplants?

Well, not much else is growing so well, but my eggplants continue to produce prolifically.

A combination of the alternatively heavy recent rains and the lovely sunny days has resulted in an absolute eggplant-palooza in one of my garden beds.

Yesterday, I harvested the ones here, and there are still at least as many still on the plants, and a plethora of flowers too.

At least we will be kept in eggplant supply for awhile. Aren't they just lovely, shiny and plump?

A pity I don't have a local gardener friend I can swap produce with. So... what to do with the bounty? I already have some roasted and frozen, and I'm over lasagne for awhile.

How do you eat your eggplants? How does your garden grow lately?


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