Tuesday, June 30, 2015
I was therefore super excited to be offered tickets to see the Fame Theatre Company's production of Little Red Riding Hood, showcasing the talents of the children who train there in performing arts and musical theatre.
Perfectly timed to run during the June/July school holidays, Little Red Riding Hood is showing at the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre, 102 Main St, Kangaroo Point from 30th June to 4 July. Performances are at 10am and 1pm daily, and tickets are $18.
Disclaimer: I attended the show as a guest of Fame Theatre. All opinions expressed are my own.
Monday, June 29, 2015
It reminds me of being in Thailand, where I ate so much of this salad - but every time I ordered it, I had to specify: extra chilli, no fish sauce, no shrimp, no meat, more peanuts please! With my version, at least I know there is nothing in it I wouldn't eat!
I started off wanting to make a green papaya salad, however, when I cut open my green-on-the-outside papaya, it was not so green anymore, but I decided to go with it anyway! It's a very flexible salad, I've given you the quantities I used, but feel free to change it up to your own tastes and add or remove things as you want (as I mentioned, the traditional version would include shrimp and fish sauce too).
Spicy Papaya Salad
- 1 green papaya, grated (yield, about 2 cups)
- handful green beans, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 large carrot, grates (about 1/4 cup)
- punnet of cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small red chilli, minced
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp raw sugar
- salt to taste
- Optional: roasted peanuts, finely sliced lettuce
- In a mortar and pestle, mix together the chilli and garlic before adding the lime juice, sugar and salt.
- In a large bowl, add the papaya, carrot, beans and cherry tomatoes.
- Pour the garlic/chilli mixture over the top, and mix everything together. Cover tightly (so the smell of garlic doesn't permeate the fridge) and let it sit in the fridge while the flavours marinate.
- To serve, dish up and sprinkle with the peanuts.
- I had intended to mix lettuce into my salad but I completely forgot to add it. I don't think it lacked anything, but it would totally work in there too for a bit of extra crunch.
- You could also substitute the lettuce for cabbage instead.
- The dressing is quite spicy, but I like a little heat. You could easily leave the chilli out, or serve them at the end sprinkled on top as well.
I served it alongside burgers, to add some vegetables into a carb filled meal. It was a perfect accompaniment!
I have submitted this salad to the July 2015 No Croutons Required
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Mr Fork is a bit of an impulsive person. So despite me, his country raised wife, saying that perhaps it was better to do some more research, get point-of-lay chickens, or perhaps do some more investigation into breeds and preferences, he insisted that everything would work out.
As soon as he saw them he was set on silkie bantams because they were just so cute and so much smaller than full sized hens. Of course, being the thrifty sort, he also said that he would like to get day old chicks as they were much cheaper than the older point of layers. Now I've never personally raised chickens myself, but I grew up in rural farm country, so I do know that day old chicks take a fair amount of work, especially cute fluffy little purebreeds and who in their right mind gets day old chicks in winter?! Being on maternity leave still, I also knew who would be doing the care and raising of these baby chicks should we get them...
As we have the setup, and Ellie has been so enthusiastic about having chickens, Mr Fork was not deterred, and promptly hastened out for replacements. Now, instead of delicate bantams, we have two Rhode Island Red/White cross, and two of what I suspect are Wyandotte or Australorp cross. These are not bantams, but full sized chickens, and probably about 5 or 6 weeks old now.
They will be living indoors with a heat lamp for some time more until they are bigger and hardy enough to relocate to their outdoor accommodation on a permanent basis (they do get supervised outdoor time at the moment too).
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
I've talked a bit about my breastfeeding journey with Jimmy here. He is now eight months old and we are still going strong. I recall him being five weeks old and not knowing how I could keep going. When we went to have his tongue and lip ties corrected, I remember the dentist asking me how long I intended to breastfeed him for, and without needing any thought, I answered with "as long as he wants to". It's been a hard journey though, and I still constantly wonder if I'm doing a good job, if he's latching correctly, if I have enough milk, if he's getting too much/not enough... and so on. And yet... look at him!
Anyway, this morning tea was a lovely supportive experience. It really showed me that there are organisations out there who are passionate and informative and so enthusiastic about helping mothers to be educated and supported to feed their babies.
- In Australia 96% of mothers choose to breastfeed their baby from birth. While this is a fantastic statistic, we see that rate drop dramatically in the first few months; in the second month full breastfeeding (this is where no other food or drink is fed to baby) rates have dropped to 57% and by 5 months under 30% are still fully breastfeeding.
- The most common reason given for mother’s ceasing breastfeeding is the belief they do not have enough milk, often because their baby feeds frequently/more than other babies.
- Jackie Kent and The Hartmann Lactation Research group in the University of WA looked at many mothers and infants from the ages of 1-6 months and found that there were great variations of normal! For example once a baby is growing well a breastfed baby may feed anywhere from 4-13 times in 24 hours, boys do eat more than girls, and yes it is very normal for babies to feed at night, with 2/3rds of all babies drinking 20% of their milk between 10pm and 4am!
One thing about the morning that I particularly enjoyed was hearing about how Medela is charitably contributing towards supporting Bangladeshi mothers to breastfeed for longer. There is a high morbidity and mortality rate in the country due mainly to early cessation of breastmilk feeding and the introduction of infant formula combined with poor sanitation. Medela Australia have donated pumps and have a volunteer on the ground working to educate families and employers about breastfeeding, expressing, cup feeding and providing so much more ongoing support. Due to limited maternity leave, mothers in Bangladesh often return to work once their babies are two months old, and with up to 14 hours a day, 6 days a week.
I feel privileged that I have had eight uninterrupted months at home with Jimmy, and so much help and assistance to breastfeed him. I am proud that I have provided for my baby and nourished him so well. Of course, any way a mother chooses to feed her child is fabulous, but for me and this baby, this is what works for us.
Thanks to Medela, I have a $50 Medela voucher to giveaway to one lucky With A Fork reader. To enter, leave a comment below telling me the most valuable advice you would give to a new mother.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
I was particularly interested in the samples of Ditching' the Itching' Scalp Loving Shampoo and Say No to Silicon Scalp Loving Conditioner. With some natural shampoos and conditioners I find that the shampoo isn't foamy and I need miles of conditioner to make my hair soft. Not with these babies! My hair was left lovely and clean, with no itchy, flaky bits. Again, I'm really impressed that I can use these products on everyone in the house so there is no need to clutter up the shower with specialty products for each person.
Happy in my Nappy rash balm. I don't always use cream on him, but because he's been sick recently he's needed a bit of extra protection in the nappy area. His irritated red skin has disappeared and he's back to being smooth as a babies proverbial there! I do have a few tiny little annoyance with the cream though. Maybe because it's been so cold, and the cream is just packed full of natural oils, but I found it quite hard and needed to really dig it out of the container to use. It probably wouldn't be a problem in warmer months, but this did make spreading it a bit painful. Also, it contains zinc, which means I can't use it with my cloth nappies. Otherwise, I really loved it for use with disposable nappies
Disclaimer: Thanks to A bit Hippy for providing these gorgeous natural products for editorial consideration!
Monday, June 15, 2015
Spot probably didn't have as much fun as Ellie did -
Me: Ellie, did you do this?I love that my toddler still believes I can fix everything for her, but I am getting tired of trying to remove drawings from lots of things in my house. I was therefore over the moon when Crayola offered to send me some of their Color Wonder products. Whoever came up with the concept obviously was a parent with a toddler I'm thinking! The markers have a special non-toxic ink in them that only appears when used on the Color Wonder paper. Hurrah! That's right, it doesn't show up because it's clear on skin, furniture, carpets and regular paper.
Ellie: Yes, I did
M: Why did you do it?
E: I was drawing and I was naughty. Mama, can you please clean it off now?
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
I talk a lot about food on this blog. Mr Fork and I may live on a tiny suburban block, but I'm a country girl at heart. I love to be sustainable and eco friendly (read a bit more about it all here). I especially love to grow my own food - it's healthy, it's cheap and I like knowing what I put on my plate. I feel that eating and sourcing local ingredients where possible is so important, both for the environment and for the local economy. I like knowing that I'm a bit self sufficient, growing vegetables and making my own bread, but I'm also ok buying kitchen staples from the grocery store too. It's about taking small steps to do what you can isn't it?
I'm not into labels, not really. I'm a vegetarian who eats vegan at home. I'm married to the biggest carnivore I know. Why label it?
Living an eco friendly and sustainable lifestyle is more than food just though. It's caring about the ingredients in other things too. Like skincare. Did you know that our skin is our largest organ and absorbs up to 60% of what we put on it? Yeah. So you'd want to be using stuff without any nasties if you can right?
Coming into winter, my skin can get dehydrated and just plain freak out (I'm looking at you, big chin pimple!), so sometimes a bit more love is needed to help maintain that summer glow.
A bit Hippy, asked if they could send me some winter warrior saviours, I jumped at the chance. A bit Hippy is a natural skincare company in Burleigh Heads. So, they're local AND they are 100% pure and natural, plant based, vegan friendly and totally affordable. Shut the front door!!
Let's talk about Rosehip oil shall we? I love the stuff. It's like a miracle oil that helps with pigmentation, dry skin, scarring, stretch marks... the list goes on. I'm also picky about the sort I use, because it can oxidise and lose effectiveness if it's exposed to air. I was super chuffed to see that A bit Hippy's Rosehip with Benefits is packed into an airless and lightless pump to keep it fresh. There's also some Vitamin C (that's the 'benefit') in the mix to help new cell turnover. It's a lovely strong yellow colour and has a fresh smell so I know it's been treated and stored correctly. I've been using it morning and night after cleansing (and before moisturiser in the morning) and I have to say I'm feeling moisturised and maybe even a little bit less pigmented (pregnancy is awful to your skin I have to say!). While I had some problems getting the pump to work at first, once it got going, I had no other issues.
Soothing and Improving moisturiser. Usually I have a couple of moisturisers on the go at any one time, but since giving this one a try, I haven't been reaching for anything else. There is plenty of liquorice root extract, aloe vera and almond oil so it's super soothing and a great texture for keeping that dry and scaly winter skin at bay without feeling greasy or taking forever to soak in. My skin just drank it up. I also tried a little on Jimmy as his skin was a bit dry after the pox/HFM incidents and it worked really well on him too. I'm big on products that are multiple use and for multiple people!
Friday, June 5, 2015
Plenty of parsley there for the picking. I've always had problems with parsley but this one won't quit. I can't complain, fresh parsley makes most meals delicious. I think this garden bed was well seeded with horse manure and dynamic lifter and it's paying off now.
- Research keeping chickens. I'd love to get a small chicken coop going but I'm unsure if I could make it work logistically on our small block, and with the dogs. Additionally, Mr Fork is rather fond of his grass and can't decide whether he wants lush greenery or friendly little cluckers more. I'm leaning toward a small moveable coop, suitable for housing 2-3 small bantam style chickens, and allowing them free range of the yard... but I need to research more and look into different coop styles
- Plant the rosemary sprigs that I've had sitting on my windowsill for quite some time now. I often have bad luck with rosemary, so I'm loathe to plant it, but it can't keep living in a jar and give me the amounts I want it to... so into the garden it must go!
- Attack weeds with gusto while they've slowed down, and then mulch, mulch, mulch!
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
- Frozen raspberries, shredded coconut and maple syrup
- Shredded coconut and passionfruit jam
- Almonds and blueberries
- Mayvers chocolate superfood spread
- Stewed fruits and cinnamon (the leftover apples from my flower tarts were perfect!)
- Coconut or almond milk for a little bit of extra decadence
Mayvers spreads. I can't believe I've not mentioned these before, but since I brought it up with the porridge, I better elaborate. I think all of these spreads by Mayvers are awesome-sauce. I love the super spreads (I have two because they've been on sale when I grocery shopped recently). I've also tried a few of the tahini varieties and the peanut butters. I'm especially chuffed that they are a bit different - instead of plain peanut butter (which they also do), there is a peanut and coconut version as well as a peanut and cacao variety too. I'm munching my way through them all, knowing that they are all-natural pure foods, and I'm supporting an Australian business at the same time. Winner, winner!
A lonely lime. I know that I've been showing off a lot of citrus recently, but this one is special as it is the only lime that I have managed to coax from my own lime tree. This one is a survivor, managing to thrive despite leaf miner infestations and several attacks on the tree by the hoards of rampant grasshoppers in my garden. Go you good lime! I think it will be my only citrus this year.
Chocolate, choc chip banana cake. Have I ever shared on here that I loathe bananas? Well I do. The smell and taste of them is just not my cup of tea. Despite that, my children both love them, so I suck it up and buy them. At this stage I even help Jimmy to eat them as left to his own devices he just squishes them into everything and gets frustrated that not much makes it into his mouth. I had two bananas that were beyond eating but perfect for baking, and so, when I came across a recipe that did everything in a bowl with a mixer, it was a winner (since I didn't want to use my hands).
I omitted Katie's suggestion to ice it and just left it plain. This is not a vegan recipe, but since I wasn't eating it, I didn't modify it and used real butter and eggs in it. Mr Fork tried a small piece and informs me it is delicious and fudgey. It made a pretty big cake, especially for someone who doesn't eat bananas. I gave half of it to a friend as a swap for some vegetable seedlings and magazines she dropped over while I was quarantined. Of the remaining half, I froze half of it for future-Ellie's morning tea requirements, and cut the remaining quarter into small pieces for when Ellie demands a snack. Since it is very low in sugar and nasty things, Jimmy has also been allowed to gum on a small piece, to his delight.
In my kitchen is...