Sunday, October 25, 2015

Talking about onions, quesadillas and the new IMK range

{This Product Talk is brought to you by Nuffnang and Spotlight IMK}

Do you have a cooking pet peeve?

I do.

Onions.

Don’t get me wrong. I love onions.

Eating onions that is. I don’t mind loading up recipes with extra onions. And on hot dogs, I always like to pile on heaps of grilled onions. The more the merrier.

But the thing I dread the most in the kitchen is…

Chopping onions.

I cry like a baby every time.

It’s a love-hate relationship.

I’ve tried almost every trick in the book.

Image Source

But let me share my fool-proof tear-free method for chopping onions…

A mini food chopper.

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Just strip the skin off the onion, slice the onion in half, toss it into one of these little babies and voila!

Finely chopped onion in 30 seconds.

Here’s one of my favourite quick-fix healthy lunch recipes I cooked with the onions I just chopped in the mini food chopper…

 

Butter Bean and Onion Quesadilla

Ingredients
(Serves 2-3 adults or 4-5 children)
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil
400g can of butter beans*, drained
1/2 to 3/4 cup tasty cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 pieces of Lebanese flat bread*

(*You can substitute the butter beans for kidney beans or chickpeas. If you can’t get hold of Lebanese flatbread, you can use pita pockets or even just regular sandwich bread)

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Method
Remove skin from onion and pulse in mini food chopper until finely chopped (or you can just chop it up the regular way with a knife and chopping board and a box tissues).

Heat olive oil in pan. Toss in chopped onions and cook until softened and golden. Add in butter beans and stir until heated through.

With a stick blender, pulse the onion and bean mixture until lightly mashed up (or you can use a fork or potato masher and some muscle). A few small chunks of broken up beans doesn’t matter as it adds a bit of bite and texture.

Add grated cheese and mix through until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I often omit the salt as I find the cheese provides sufficient flavour.

Spread cheesy bean and onion mixture on a piece of flatbread. Fold in half and cut into quarters. Heat another pan to medium high heat. Toast flatbread in hot pan until golden brown on both sides.

Serve immediately while they are warm and crispy.

Yum!

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By the way, did you notice my new funky purple stick mixer set?

It’s from Spotlight’s new IMK Pro Colour range of kitchen appliances.

The range includes toasters, kettles, blenders and stick mixes in a range of bright and fun colours that are affordable, stylish and designed for use in the home every day.

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Apart from the funky bright colour, the other thing I love about this stick mixer is the variable speed control dial. Most stick blenders I’ve come across usually have one or two standard speed settings. So the adjustable speed control is a pretty cool function. It also has a turbo button for doing quick pulses in intermittent high speed bursts.

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For more information about the IMK Pro Colour range, you can check out their website www.imkcolour.com or visit your local Spotlight store.

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(I received this product in exchange for a review but my opinions are completely genuine and honest)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pigtails

A few days ago, Gracie and I headed out on a private one-on-one date of our own, sans the boys. I posted up this picture of us on our date.

The comments we received?

They were all about those irresistible pigtails!

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Yes. We have reached the age of pigtails.

We took a while to get here as we didn’t have much raw material to work with for quite some time.

It all started one evening when we were watching Monsters Inc. and this familiar little character popped up.

boo

She reminded me of Grace so much. Just for fun I decided to tie up her hair in the same two pigtails. The resemblance? Uncanny!

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I never saw myself as a girly-girl type of mum. I always admired the intricate braids and hairstyles other mums did on their little girls’ hair. But it was never something I ‘got’.

Well… now I think I have a bit of an inkling on what the fuss is all about.

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This is why you have girls.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Learning about seeds

Here’s a glance at one of our latest projects: Learning About Seeds.

The children often encountered seeds… orange pips, grape seeds, beans in pods, fluffy dandelions… Nathan had asked me before about how a seed becomes a plant and where various fruits come from. So with the arrival of Spring, it was an ideal time to turn this into a learning activity and put our little green thumbs to work.

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We kicked things off during mat time/story time by reading a book about seeds (‘A Seed Needs Sun’ by Kate Riggs). We talked a little about plants and seeds and gardening.

After that we transitioned to have some morning tea. I served up some fruit with seeds (take care if you have really little ones). I also showed them a fresh whole broad bean pod (which I had precooked) and let them try eating the beans straight out of the pod. We examined the beans and seeds as we ate our fruit  and snack.

Then I showed the children the packet of broad bean seeds. I poured out the seeds on the table for the children to examine. We talked through the process of how we would plant them.

After morning tea, we went out into the garden. I brought out the glass vials and the broad bean seeds. We scooped some soil from the garden, planted the broad bean seed in the glass vials and gave the little seeds a small drink of water.

Resources and materials
Broad bean seeds (I picked these up from Bunnings)
Small glass vials or jars (I got ours from Red Dot)
Fresh broad bean pod (which I steamed lightly beforehand)
A piece of whole fruit (I used a mandarin orange)

Book suggestions
A Seed Needs Sun (By Kate Riggs)
What Are Seeds? (By Molly Aloian)
The Tiny Seed (By Eric Carle)

We kept our little seedlings in a clear plastic container in a safe corner in our play area. The children diligently watered the seedlings daily using a teaspoon….

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Here are the seeds beginning to sprout into tiny seedlings after a week…

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These are the seedlings after just two weeks…

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Everyone enjoyed taking turns to water the little seedlings…

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We learnt the names of the different parts of plants: seed case, roots, stem, leaves.

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Boy do these beans grow fast!

(The next step is to transfer the seedlings into larger pot outside in the garden.)

Hooray for spring!