Monday, March 19, 2012

Meatless Monday: chickpea and vegetable soup

Soup, pre-mulching
As of the last fortnight we've started menu planning in an attempt to reduce our grocery bill, which has increased by about 50 percent in the last two years. Part of this involves attempting to use stuff from the fridge, freezer and pantry rather than buying lots of new ingredients each week. Obviously the effectiveness of that will reduce as our stockpile does, but it's working quite well so far. So it was that during last week's planning session I decided we needed to eat something involving lots of chickpeas, and concocted said soup. I used:

2 tins of chickpeas, including the liquid from one tin
Two and a bit large carrots, sliced thinly
A few bits of floppy celery from the fridge, sliced thinly
1 large white potato, chopped
Half a red onion, diced
Half a teaspoon of minced garlic
A sprig of rosemary
500ml vegetable stock
A slosh of milk

1. Saute the onion, celery, carrots and garlic in a bit of oil in a big saucepan.
2. Add the potato, stock, chickpeas plus juice and rosemary, crank up the heat and cook until the vegetables are soft (20-30 minutes?). I took the rosemary out after about 10 minutes thinking the flavour might be overpowering but next time I probably wouldn't bother. Next time I do it I might use cumin and ginger instead of rosemary.
3. Add the milk and mulch with a hand blender.
4. We had it served with a bit of plain yoghurt, plus toast.

Not souper glamorous, haha, but nutritious and tasty and fed two people with leftovers for probably less than $5.

This post is part of the Veggie Mama's Meatless Monday series.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Of Little E and crocodiles

Little E is besotted with Spot (the dog) and all of his friends are popular too. By far her favourite is Spot's crocodilian companion, Tom. Recently we were on holiday in Balingup and happened to be in a shop where they had a basket of assorted small plastic animals for $1.95 each. Upon being presented with a kangaroo, wombat, koala and crocodile, E had no hesitation in choosing the crocodile, who she instantly named Tom. For some time now all crocodiles have been referred to as Tom, but I think this has really cemented it.
 Tom watches E while she sits in her highchair and eats.
He has slides.
He jumps on the trampoline.
He goes swimming in the sink and in the bath.
And being less than two inches long, he regularly gets lost. About ten times a day Little E is to be found, wandering through the house, demanding "where Tom? Where Tom?" To which I invariably say "where did you see him last?" - to which she usually has no answer.

We've lost Tom for short periods before (which according to E is because "Tom run away! Tom run away!") but on Friday he disappeared and only made himself known again this afternoon. In the meantime we had purchased a replacement Tom for $2 from the Zoo shop (figuring he could be put away in case of later emergencies if original Tom turned up). It turned out that original Tom was having an adventure on the lawn by the lime tree, and I discovered him upon going to water the tomatoes that are next to it. E had seemed unconcerned when presented with replacement Tom, but upon realising original Tom was back she immediately started referring to original Tom as "better Tom." She couldn't tell us why he was better, but replacement Tom has been returned to his rightful place in the cupboard as emergency stock.

I wasn't altogether grateful for original Tom's Lazarus-like behaviuor, when less than an hour later E was loudly demanding "where Tom? Where Tom?" I certainly wasn't expecting the reply "in microwave!" (followed by delighted giggles) "Tom being silly!"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Deep and meaningful observations at the hairdresser

Upon being seated in a special high chair with a cushion and draped with a Disney themed cape, E proudly announced "E's getting all pretty!"

She was pretty good, albeit wiggly and excited, throughout the 20 minutes or so the haircut lasted. She mostly amused herself with her reflection in the mirror. After sticking out her tongue and examining it at great length she told the entire salon "E's got a tongue!" A short pause followed, during which she conducted a further examination and then told everyone "E's got teeth!" Keen to pursue any line of discussion that would keep her still I asked "do you have a nose too?" She looked at me and replied "everyone got a nose, Mummy!"

2012 reading challenge: The Puzzle Ring by Kate Forsyth

Not sure what category this fits into, it could be Young Adult, could be Fantasy, it wasn't one I'd planned to read for either, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The first little bit of the story is set in modern day Australia, then the next quarter or so in modern day Scotland. The protagonist is a 12 year old girl who discovers, upon travelling to Scotland to meet her father's family for the first time, that her family is cursed. She then manages to travel back to the Scotland of Mary Queen of Scots in order to remove the curse by solving various mysteries. It all sounds a bit ridiculous when set out like that, but it is typical Kate Forsyth: meticulously researched, but written in such a way that the research is not intrusive. The only little criticism I'd make of it is that the plot did seem a bit rushed towards the end; it perhaps would have benefited by being released as two books rather than one.

My favourite Kate Forsyth books are still by far her Witches of Eileanan series but I suspect I would very much have liked this, and her other books aimed at children/young adults, when I was in primary school. Speaking of which, I'm about to go and scour the library for the second and third volumes of her Chronicles of Estelliana series which I didn't realise had been published.

This post is part of my 2012 reading challenge.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goodnight, goodnight ...

... we wish. Bedtime is turning into a marathon. E either doesn't have a sleep during the day, in which case she is grouchy all afternoon but crashes at 6:30. If she has a sleep she still goes happily to bed at 6:30, but then takes hours (literally, see the conversation I had with her at 8:30 the other night) to drop off. 

She's not unhappy when she's in bed and awake, just lies there chatting away to herself, but 9:00 or later is definitely too late for a not quite two year old. Last night it would have been close to 9:30 and she then slept really late this morning - I eventually woke her at 8:00am. Today she had a day nap that started at 2:00, and I woke her at 3:15, thinking that maybe a short-ish nap would be ok. We also extended her bed time a bit tonight, starting stories at 7:00. 

The result? She's still in there, talking away.

I really really really don't want to give up the day nap. Two seems too young to be up all day, and I'm too selfish to manage without a bit of a break. At the very least she has to have some quiet time in her cot, in which case I can't stop her falling asleep if she wants to. But I also want some evening time to ourselves, and the prospect of occasionally going out and leaving her (asleep) with a babysitter.

The trials and tribulations of toddlerhood...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A late night conversation with my chatterbox

E and I had the following conversation at about 8:30 last night, after she had been chatting away to herself in bed for nearly two hours:

Me: Darling, you have to go to sleep, it's very late. You need to sleep so you'll have lots of energy to play tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow we'll go to the beach or the pool.
E: Go beach? Go beach?
Me: Not now, tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow we'll go to the beach if you'd like to. Now it's time for little girls to sleep.
E: Little girls like owl.

I put her owl blanket on her (despite the fact it was still about 30C at 8:30 last night) and finally, thank goodness, she went to sleep.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meatless Monday: lentils, feta and other stuff salad

This was a really good salad improvised after a bit of a rubbish day. It was supposed to involve lentils, pomegrante, feta, mint, parsley and vinaigrette, but when I cut the pomegranates open they were patently unripe (just topping off the day really).

So it wound up involving lentils, fried onion/garlic, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, parsley, mint, feta and vinaigrette. I'm not sure what the originally planned one would have tasted like, but this version was amazing.

We had it with Tasmanian salmon, which was not very vegetarian of us. And it was a Wednesday not a Monday. And I was too hungry to bother taking a photo of it. So you'll have to take my word for it that it was good.
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