Recipe – Pumpkin and corn muffins

So when we had roast on the weekend my husband had pumpkin (I don’t like it), so I had half a pumpkin sitting in my fridge which I needed to use up.  I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I decided to give some muffins a try.  I couldn’t find a recipe that I had ingredients for sitting in my house so I decided I would just make my own!  The result was a hit with hubby and the kids.

Ingredients –

* 1/2 kent pumpkin (ours weight approx. 500g before peeling and seeding)

* 1 can corn

* 2 cups self raising flour

* 3 eggs

* 1/2 cup milk

* 1 cup shredded cheese

Directions –

* Preheat oven to 160 degrees

* Peel, deseed and grate the pumpkin

* Put flour into bowl, adding pumpkin and corn, tossing them to coat

* In a separate bowl whisk eggs and milk

* Add eggs and milk to flour mixture, stirring well

* Add cheese and stir again

* Spoon into muffin trays

* Cook for 15-20 mins in the oven

Notes –

* This made 48 mini muffins, but would make roughly 24 regular muffins

* As an alternative swap the pumpkin for sweet potato

* Add salt and pepper before baking

Recipe – Easy Apple Crumble

After our roast the other night I was really craving a nice dessert, which we don’t have in the house.  Usually I would make up a couple of individual apple or apricot pies (in my handy pie maker) but I wanted something different.  So I decided to make apple crumble, which I haven’t done since before the boys were born but is super easy!

Ingredients –

* Apples (I used tinned ones that I get in bulk but you can use fresh and cook them up) – the quantity will vary based on the size of your dish

* 1 cup plain flour

* 1 cup brown sugar

* 100g butter

 

Directions –

* Place apples into a baking dish

* Put flour, sugar and butter into a bowl

* Using your hands rub the butter into the flour and sugar until you have something that resembles crumble

* Spread over the top of your apples

* Bake in a 180 degree oven for 20 mins

* Serve with ice cream

 

Notes –

* Substitute apples with apricots – yummy!

* Sprinkle some cinnamon into your butter mix, or just sprinkle on top of the dish before baking

* Add some berries in with the apples during summer for a delicious alternative – try blueberries or raspberries.

* Add 100g of oats in with the butter mix to give an extra crunch.

Seminars

So I mentioned the other day that I was attending a seminar this week, actually I have been attending a few seminars lately and trying to learn lots.  I think I’m pretty lucky that most of them have been free.  I keep an eye on my local councils’ events page, as well as subscribe to my council run community centres newsletter and these have been an invaluable resource lately of what’s on in my local area.

I have also been keeping up to date with what else is happening around me.  I love where we live because I have the option of going in so many directions to some lovely areas, or just staying nearby where there is lots on offer.  Although no one seemed very happy when we moved here I still believe that it is the best move we ever made for my sanity and my lovely family.

I highly recommend checking out what is available in your local area as you’d be surprised at what is available.  Personally I have attend seminars recently on keeping chickens, growing and managing fruit trees, resilience in children; and I have signed up to attend two other seminars on children, and signed up for a course ‘Tuning into kids” at a small fee.  There is quite a wide range available, but these are what interest me in this stage of life.  There’s also lots for children, from babies all the way up, which I have attended in the past but haven’t had time for lately.

I have taken lots of notes which I hope to type up and file so I can refer to them in the future and find them easily (and understand them), but there currently aren’t enough hours in the day!!!  Some I hope to share on this blog as there have been some fantastic tips but we will see how far I get – I tend to come up with lots of ideas and get distracted by them and it takes me a while to get back to my original plans.

Anyway lots to do so I can head to my seminar tonight – fingers crossed I learn lots (and remember it all!).

Recipe – Spinach, Broccoli and Pear Puree

So when my boys are teething they tend to go off their food and will only eat purees.  Now these can be really expensive but they need to eat so in the past I have purchased them.  Lately though I just cant justify the cost.  So when I was at the supermarket last week and my boys were being a bit cranky I decided that I would make my own.  When the boys first started eating I made all their purees myself – it was super easy and it gave me something cooking wise to do and since I hadn’t cooked in such a long time it was a nice way to ease myself back in.

Ingredients –

* 1 kg pears (try not to use ones too firm)

* 120g spinach

* 500g broccoli (frozen or fresh)

Directions –

* Boil (or steam) your broccoli for the standard cooking time, strain but save some of the water.

* Optional – Steam or just pour boiling water over the spinach (I choose not to but I would recommend doing this for babies under 1)

* Peel, and take the core out of the pears, chopping into quarters.

* Place all ingredients in food processor (I had to do mine in two batches as it wouldn’t all fit)

* Blend, adding a few tablespoons of water at a time, until it becomes a smooth consistency

* Serve warm, or place in a bowl to cook down and serve at room temperature

I’m sure this recipe would be great for babies as well as toddlers.  For my toddlers I put this into my reusable food pouches, but if you were making it for babies I recommend freezing it into icecube trays or the small avent food containers so you can defrost in small portions.

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There are also so many alternatives to this simple recipe – swap the ingredients around and use what you have or better yet what’s on special peas, beans, apples would be easy to swap in, or go for something completely different – sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot.  I like to add fruit (pear or apple) as it makes it sweeter but still healthy and it means my boys will definitely eat it.

If your on a budget I highly recommend making your own baby food – I worked out that this bulk recipe cost me $9 and would have made me 10 pouches that are each filled with just under 150ml.  The average pouch is 120g and retails for between $1.80 and $2.20.  Definitely a cost saver!!!

Meal planning for the week

So can I just say I am tired, mentally, physically and emotionally.  It’s been a full on month and I’m in need of a little TLC, so I’m basing my meals this week around looking after myself.  I think if I don’t look after myself I will get sick (again!), and one of my boys is already unwell and passed it onto his twin brother which breaks my heart as there’s nothing I can do but cuddle them lots.

So what will we eat this week, meals that I love, that make me feel good and are just plain yummy (if you want a recipe just let me know and I’ll endeavour to post it for you!)…..

Monday – Tomato and chicken risotto

Tuesday – Beef curry (the McCormicks one I did a few weeks ago – beef was marked down, I stocked up!)

Wednesday – Take out, probably KFC as I have a seminar that means I won’t get home until very late and I was craving KFC yesterday.

Thursday – Chicken soup with wontons (or maybe chicken balls – depending on what I have time and energy for)

Friday – Chicken souvlaki (homemade)

Saturday – Beef ragout on fettucini

Sunday – To be honest, no idea!  Does anyone have any suggestions for me???

By the way the Pork Roast with apple sauce last night was delicious!  If you want to take a look I’ve posted a pic on the facebook page for this blog.  Baking last week resulted in mini quiches and savoury scrolls, both for the boys lunches.  I never quite got around to making them pikelets or cupcakes, which are definitely on my plan for this week (unless I get sick – that is an automatic out for just about everything!!).  Have a great week everyone.

Tips on having a successful market stall – part 2

Yesterday I shared with you all the things you need to do before having a stall at a local market, you can view that post here.  Today I can share with you how our market day went and some tips on how to make your market day a success.

We actually did walk away with some cash but didn’t sell as many things as I would have liked.  I still have a mountain load of items to sell, and will need to decide whether we do a second market or sell via another means.  So my tips for you, from my experience are…

* Get there as close to the designated start of set up time as you can – it can take a while to unpack your car and then set up your stall.  Remember there are lots of other people you will need to navigate around so you need to allow as much time as possible.  You will generally have over an hour to set up and you will need it!

* Try to have two people for set up and pack up – it would be very difficult to do it on your own if you have a large number of items, as you will be in and out and will also need to move your car from the unloading bay to somewhere preferably far away.

* Put your sheet down over the table and set up your clothing rack first.  Do this before you start looking through and unpacking your boxes.

* Don’t overcrowd your table as your are setting up – you can always bring out more items as you go.   If your table is too full people will just walk straight past you, onto the next stall.

* The same goes for your clothing rack – people need to be able to easily flip through what’s on the rack and take items off to inspect them.

* Use the space under your table, as well as the space on top of your table.  The space under your table is perfect for large toys, as well as tubs of smaller toys or extra items (eg. bibs, socks).

* Take your large items to their designated area, making sure you have all the pieces together.

* Price everything clearly, it’s easier for you as the seller and much easier for the buyers if they can see prices – you can either price items individually or put all items in boxes and put up a big sign saying something along the lines of “All items in this box $2.”

* All the items that don’t fit on your table or clothes rack keep close at hand, buyers may ask you for other items and if you can quickly look through and find something you may make an extra sale.

* Try to make friends with the people around you, if you are on your own and need to run to the toilets they can watch your stall.

* Be willing to negotiate – remember a dollar in your pocket is better than going home with the item again and letting it continue to sit in a box.

* If you have a problem with adding or working out change use the calculator on your phone.  Less stress for you and quicker for the customer!

* Keep changing over your items – when things sell you can pull out the extra items you have with you.

* Stay happy – people are more likely to approach your table if you seem happy, rather than grumpy!

* Remember to take into account that you need to cover your costs – so the cost to be at the market, and the cost of any clothing rack, etc.  Anything above that is profit!

Below is a picture of our market stall at the start of the day, we changed it several times during the event.  I hope these posts have helped you if you are planning to do a market in the future.  Feel free to ask me any questions you may have and I’ll see if I can help.

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Tips on having a successful market stall – part 1

So today is our market day.  Selling off a large number of used (and new) baby items, including clothes and toys.  It has been a long process to get organised and we are really hoping it pays off – only time will tell.  I thought I would do this in two parts – the first part being the organisation and all the things we did to get ready for this day.  Part 2, which you can find here, will focus on how the day went and what worked and didn’t work.

So here is my tips to preparing for a market, whether it be a baby and kids one, a trash and treasure or something else.

* Start organisations early!  I mean really early, we started months in advance when the idea first popped into my head.  And with the boys its taken me this long to get myself organised.

* Check out your local markets as a shopper and decide on the ones you would like to have a stall at (look at the number of visitors, how the stalls are set up, how much space there is, etc.)

* Check out the markets terms and conditions – there will be lists of what you can and cant use (sticky tape, pins, etc), set up times, finishing times, refund information in case you need to cancel last minute, the number of helpers you can have, what you will be liable for (eg. scratches on the floor).

* Get all your items together and decide what size stall you will need (many markets now only have one stall size option so you can look at the option of having two stalls side by side)

* Pick your market based on what suits your needs and book early.  Markets book out a month or more in advance for selling preloved items.  And the earlier you book, the sooner you get to pick your stall.

* Look at the markets stall holder information – check out the list of what you need to bring, read the information on selling large items and check out any hints or tips they have.

* Purchase a clothing rack if you would like to use one and your market does not provide them.  They are available quite cheaply from stores such as the Reject Shop, Bunnings and Ikea.

* Sort your items into lots – eg. clothing, toys, etc.

* Go through all the clothing and sort into sizes (this will save you time on the day), checking items for any stains or tears (these are not suitable for anything and realistically should be used as rags or thrown away)

* Go through each size of clothes and start pricing (I used coloured dots) – try to choose fair prices, people want to get a bargain but you also want to walk away with some money so try to take both into consideration.

* As you price put items onto hangers (if you are using them – completely personal choice), and then put them into boxes.  I sorted them again into t-shirts, pants, onsies, etc. before boxing them.

* Label the boxes so you know what’s in them!!

* Price all your toys as well – if your not including batteries, write on the item if it works and any problems with it.

* Help promote the market you are attending – talk about it with your friends and family, post about it on your facebook or tweet about it.  The more people you can tell, the more people they will then tell, which means more potential buyers for your items!

* Either start saving your change or head to the bank to get some.  The more you have the better, you will need a mixture of coins and notes (because some people will come with a $50 for a $2 item) – we priced everything in full dollars so we didn’t have the need for any silver.

* Save all your plastic bags from shopping – you will need these to put peoples’ purchases’ in.

* Make up some signs, either by hand or on your computer, advertising exactly what items you have (eg. boys clothing sized 000 – 2) as well as any other important information (eg. more items available, discounts – buy 4 get 1 free, $1 off all items, etc.)

* Organise a baby sitter for the day – you need to leave the house early for set up and it will be a long day by the time you’ve packed up and gotten home so try and prepare your childrens’ meals for the day the night before to save you some stress.

* Pack everything your selling into your car the night before.

* Make a bag of all the odds and ends you might need – markers and labels (to reprice items if needed), sticky tape to attach signs, your signs, your change and your plastic bags.  You will need to pack a sheet to cover the table and a clothes rack if you are using one.  Also take a bottle of water for yourself and some snacks – you will need to keep your energy up.

* Try and get a good nights sleep