There’s nothing like a Good Old Burger Bar! Over the weekend we had long time friends over for lunch. We try to get together a few time’s a year. They are what I call refreshing to my heart and soul. Truly God given friends! My girlfriend and I organised food last minute… realising we needed to feed 14 mouths for lunch, it needed to be fast and go the mile. When was the last time you created a burger bar? Or have you ever made one? It’s too easy to create. Looks impressive and everyone is so satisfied. My go to tips on creating a fun concept; •Always buy organic beef mince. •Don’t add anything to it other than an egg and well seasoned. •The best burgers are how you layer it. Eg; Fried eggs, Jalsburgh Cheese, housemade pickles. •Make your own condiments if you can. •Serve condiments in little jars. •Use different heights to display elements.eg; place condiments on a makeshift shelf. •Create an easy line up method •Always serve your burgers on fresh buns and add loads of hot fries! WINNER WINNER!
Bagel Bar Ready to entertain this weekend? I’ve discovered in this season of motherhood my favourite time of day to entertain is breakfast. Guests arrive around 9:30-10am. The breakfast ideas are endless. The chats can be long and the day isn’t over by the end of the gathering. Most importantly, I have my most energy to serve! I also love hosting a good lunch too. But as for dinners… That season can wait. I am exhausted from huge days wearing other hats. My mission by 4pm is to get 5 children to bed as happily as possible. Bagel Bar is definitely worth a try! Don’t forget to buy free range eggs and organic bacon/ham! Help our local farmers that are doing the right thing.
Who doesn’t love a good curry. And making your own paste will give it an authentic taste that will see you NEVER buying store bought pastes again. Not to mention it’s a slow cooker recipe. No fuss meals!
3 generous Tbsp of yellow curry paste
1kg of Organic Chicken Thighs cut into large portions. Cut off as much of the fat as you can
2 yellow onions slided
2 carrots peeled and sliced
5 white potatoes peeled and cut in half
3 cups of my chicken or veggie broth
1-2 Tins of organic coconut milk (to your taste)
Rice to serve. I’m currently loving black rice.
Place paste, chicken, onion and stock into the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 3 hours
Add chopped potatoes and continue to cook on low for 2 hours.
For the last 1-2 hours add the thinly sliced carrots.
Turn off slow cooker and now add the coconut milk.
(Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5.)
Alternatively you can brown onion and chicken in a pot with some olive oil, place to one side. Add more oil and fry the paste for 2 minutes. Add all other ingredients except the coconut milk and simmer until potatoes are soft. Stir in coconut milk once you remove the saucepan from the heat.
Note * this is a larger serve because we are a large family. Halve it if need be or better yet freeze up the leftovers!
Who doesn’t love Mexican night?! And who doesn’t love salsa. In my home I try to do a cook up every few Saturdays. I will clear my schedule to cook and get on top of sauces, stews, broths, pastes.
If you own a blender or processor this is the perfect way to eliminate those nasty numbers and sugars by making your own. Simply throw all ingredients into the processor and blend to your likening. Chunky or smooth!
Please note: I have a large family so I make everything in huge batches. Fresh salsa keeps in my fridge for 1 month.
I’ve said it before, I can’t get enough of Middle Eastern flavours. Each bite feels like I’ve been teleported back in time to an age long ago. And in the beauty of it- these flavours are still used and cooked to this day. Recipes are handed down from generation to generation and special secrets are added along the way. The spices are just as beautiful and vibrant and the flavours never disappoint.
Here’s my own take on Stuffed Capsicums. You can always use Zucchinis or tomatoes. This is one I’ll be passing down to my children and I they no doubt will pass the recipe along to their families too.
6-8 fresh Capsicums (a variety of colours looks pretty)
500g Organic Beef Mince
1 cup of Basmati and Wild Rice combined.
3 Tbsp Pine Nuts fried in a little butter
3 Tbsp Olive Pil
2 Large Onions finely chopped
4-6 Cloves of Garlic crushed
100 g Fresh Tomatoes crushed or canned (organic is best)
1 Grated Carrot
¼ tsp Tumeric
½ tsp Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper
Handful chopped fresh Coriander
Small handful chopped fresh Parsley
½ cup Chicken Broth
400g can chopped Tomatoes
2 cups of Chicken Stock (or as much as required to cover the vegetables half way up.)
Dash of Cumin
Dash of Paprika
2 cloves of Garlic crushed
Preheat oven to 185c
Cook rice according to packet instructions. Rinse. Set aside to cool
Slice the tops of the capsicums off and reserve to use later as a lid
Cut out the inner seeds and white flesh
Char around the outsides of all capsicums giving some nice black bits. (Adds a great flavour)
Heat oil in a pan
Cook onions and garlic
Once they look translucent add your spices and cook through
Add the beef and brown nicely
In a bowl mix the meat mixture with the rice, stock, pine nuts and fresh herbs.
In a deep dish fill each capsicum leaving 1cm for filling to expand then place the capsicum lids on top
Combine tomato broth ingredients and mix well.
Drizzle all over the Capsicums, filling it up to half way. Add some filtered water if you need to.
Cover with foil and cook for 40-50minutes until nice and soft.
I’ve been kicking myself for the past few years. I can count the amount of times I’ve cooked this dish on one hand. Don’t let that change your mind about trying this recipe. I should of cooked it A WHOLE LOT more! And I intend to. I’m not lying when I say, it’s the best lamb I have EVER tasted! It falls apart, it melts in your mouth and the flavours. My oh my! I’ve really made this dish my own. Don’t be scared to play around with it to create your own special version of this stunning recipe.
Okay, Let’s do this!!
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small brown onion, chopped
1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons mild paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Organic Lamb shoulder (nice and large)
2 Red Onions quartered
2 Fresh quinces quartered
5 Fresh whole figs or 8 dried
Small handful of Apricots
Manuka or Raw Honey
Butter for frying
Preheat oven to 150c
Blend all Chermoula ingredients in a processor. Cut small incisions all over the lamb. Smother the lamb shoulder in the paste. Allow it to marinate overnight.
Using a large Dutch Oven add a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Brown the onions and quince. Once brown transfer to a plate.
Brown the outside of the lamb all over to seal in the flavours. Place onions, quince, apricots, figs all around the lamb. Fill the oven with filtered water up to 1/3 of the way. Making sure it’s not covering your lamb.
Drizzle with honey all over.
Place in oven and cook for 1 hour.
Take out, baste the lamb in its juices. Add a little more water if it looks dry. (Mine never does, I’m sure you’re on the right track.)
Drizzle a little more honey and cook until your liking.
Take out if the over, keep covered.
Fry a handful of almonds in butter until browned.
Scatter almonds, pomegranate seeds and some parsley and corriander leaves.
In my household I continuously have an internal debate over how to get a full amount of fruit and veggies into my babies bellies. My take on a Minestrone Soup has been a crowd pleaser in our home and ticks off so many vegetables it has me feeling all the warm and comforting feels as I watch everyone slurp it up!
2 brown onions diced
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
3 celery stalks sliced
2 large carrots diced
1 large sweet potato diced
3 (or 2 large) zucchini’s diced
3 tins of organic crushed tomatoes
A few stalks of kale shredded (or beans, spinach)
2 litres of my vegetable broth
250g peeled button mushrooms
2 400g tins of Cannelloni Beans (washed)
2 sprigs of rosemary roughly chopped
Parmesan cheese to serve
Salt and pepper to taste
Fry onions and garlic with Rosemary for 3 minutes.
Add carrots and celery for 3 minutes.
Transfer all ingredients (except beans) into a slow cooker and cook on a slow setting until done.
Too with more filtered water if too thick.
Once done add your washed beans for another 20 minutes.
Serve with Parmesan on top and fresh crusty Sourdough.
One of my all time favourite memories from living in Canada is having a roast dinner after church with Yorkshire Puddings. The way they perfectly soak up the gravy, then you pour more gravy just to have with with your pud. When Jennifer said, “hey you should see if there is a recipe for Sourdough Yorkshire Puddings” I was on it… anything to use Gus (my sourdough starter) and add to @sourdoughstory. Simple and delicious, check it out
PREP – 5 mins BAKE – 30 to 35 mins
1 cup (227g) milk (any works)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (113g) sourdough starter, active or discard (I used active for mine)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (120g) White Flour
In the microwave or in a small saucepan, warm the milk until it feels just slightly warm to the touch.
Combine the warm milk with the eggs, sourdough starter and salt, then mix in the flour. Be careful not to over-mix; if it still has some lumps thats OK. The batter should be about the consistency of thickened cream.
Heat a muffin pan in the oven while it’s preheating to 230°C.
Remove the hot pan from the oven, and spray it thoroughly with non-stick pan spray, or brush it generously with oil or melted butter. Quickly pour the batter into the muffin tin, fill cups just below the top; this leaves room for expansion.
Bake the Yorkshires for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 190°C and bake for about an additional 10 minutes, or until the Yorkshires are golden brown.
Remove the Yorkshires from the oven and serve straight away.
After some investigating, I finally found the best Sourdough Cinnamon Scroll recipe, with my own few little tweaks of course. Simple process, over night ferment, no stand mixer or a second rise, they turn out fluffy and super yummy (oh, and addictive!)
Prep Time – 20 mins Cook Time – 35 mins Fermenting Time – 12 hrs (Overnight)
Mix the dough 12 hours before you plan to bake: (I did mine at 8pm) Use a cheese grater to grate the cold butter into a mixing bowl. Add the flour and use a bench scraper to ‘cut’ the butter into the flour. Add the sourdough starter discard, milk, lemon and honey. Mix with a spatula until the ingredients are well incorporated. Cover the bowl and let rest on the counter for 12 hours.
MAKE SURE YOU DON’T add the salt, baking soda or baking powder. This will be added right before rolling out the dough
THE NEXT MORNING (8am – depending on your 12 hours)
Preheat oven to 190°. Grease lightly with butter a large cast iron skillet (Baking Tray would also work).
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside. Melt butter to also set aside
Mix the salt, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl with a fork until there are no visible lumps. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the dough and mix it in with your hands. Generouslyflour your bench and turn the dough onto it. Flour the top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 30cm x 50cm rectangle.
Coat the top of the dough with the melted butter and spread cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the surface leaving a couple centimetres bare along the edges. Starting on one side, roll the dough into a log shape. Use the bench-scraper to cut the log into 12 pieces. (approx. 4cm) Place the portions in the cast iron skillet, leaving space in between each piece to expand.
Bake the cinnamon rolls for 30-40 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with icing sugar while hot.
Would you believe all five of my children have had it. Watching their little bodies squirm in pain is heartbreaking.
I must admit the more children I’ve had with it the more we’ve learnt about the strange positions we would manoeuvre our children to get the gas up or to help the pains to stop.
When Noah was two weeks old we saw the colic and reflux in full force set it. As first time parents I wanted to do the best I could although I was so far from being an expert on babies! I needed help pronto! A mothers intuition is strong and I knew something wasn’t right. Noah wouldn’t settle in my arms, no position helped. After taking him to our local Dr, he recommended a strong medicine to ease his tummy and stop the silent reflux.
Personally, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put strong medication into my sons body. I pushed further and saw a paediatrician. I explained to her right off the cuff I didn’t want to medicate. Asking if there was another way?
This woman was sensational. She explained to us that all three of her boys had both symptoms also. She lived around the corner from a little old Chinese lady. That lady recommended she drink ginger tea every single day. In a few days it would come through her milk to feed her sons. Ultimately easing their tummies.
On top of that information she also shared with me different positions to nurse my baby. Breastfeeding him on an angle so the milk stayed down. Keeping him sitting up right for half an hour after his feed and then finally eliminating foods that are high triggers for colic babies.
I changed my diet to have:
* Ginger tea morning and night
* No citrus foods at all
* No foods that contain seeds
* No acidic foods. (That is no tomatoes, onion or garlic)
* Brauer baby and child colic natural medicine. It’s a formula that’s been created hundreds of years ago. Now traditionally used in homeopathic medicine. (I’ve hardly used this, however so gentle on the tummy)
I got to say by day 3 I could see a difference with Noah. His tummy pains were easing. We positioned his mattress on an angle which also helped to keep his milk down.
I was really strict with this and the results were wonderful to see. Plus the bonus of a good nights sleep for us all. I see the pain always set back in when I have a sneaky pizza or dinner party. So I try to cleanse quickly with more Ginger.
My children are normally in this pain for four months. We rock them in the bassinet, baby wear them, dance around the house trying to position them to ease their symptoms. In the end friend you do what you need to.
I highly recommend implementing these strategies for best results.
And remember you’re not alone parent! I’m always here to chat it out with you too. Sending you strength and peace in this season. They are only little for but a blink of an eye.
This week has been hard. It’s been hard to watch the world crumbling in the comfort of my own home. The terror, the fear, the looting, the rage, the innocent lives hurt all in the name of racism. My heart breaks for this world. The brokenness and evil overwhelm me the more I go looking and search for truth and read accounts of peoples lives. It is soul destroying. Who can we turn to for law and order? Who can we trust in? Every political party lies in some way or another. I had a beautiful friend ask me a simple question this week. “Jennifer, how do I know what I’m reading is truth? I read one article that paints a position or event one way and then another that states the complete opposite.” It’s all so exhausting.
It’s got me thinking about the next generation. When we are out as a family my children will play with other kids they have never met. When they come back to us after playing they will talk all about their ‘friend’. It’s as simple as that for children. Anyone who is nice, any other child who plays with them is their friend. There’s no judgement. There’s no prerequisites, no pressure as to what they believe, their worldview it’s just pure and innocent love.
It gets me everytime. It brings me a warmth in my heart and at times it convicts my spirit. To love others even when I don’t know who they really are. Then I tend to think further, what makes a good friend? How do we find a true friend? How can we enjoy each other’s company as adults with differing points of view?
You know, just this past week I posted what I believe was a great speech by the President and with that post a friend of mine ‘unfriended’ me. I mean, when I type this out and read it for what it is it’s really embarrassing. I approached them and let them know I’m sorry to see they unfriended me but I still think they were a great person. Since when are we not allowed to have a different opinion? Since when is freedom of opinion allowed only if you agree with my point of view. Since when are people disrespected for their beliefs? I see it more like freedom of speech BUT only if you believe what I believe.
The peaceful protestors are being caught up with the violent protestors. I cannot understand why people are destroying other people’s property all in the name of #blacklivesmatter
Why aren’t we having the same ridiculous protests for #prolivesmatter #babiesmatter #jewsmatter #womenmatter #thirdworldcountriesmatter you get my gist. We need to stop this. We need to stop the abuse and hatred. Now this writing won’t change the world. My thoughts won’t allow people to see reason and logic. This is a very humble blog. I don’t have enough followers to make an impact.
This is my own outlet of my thoughts and dreams. But it feels good to get my words onto this platform. So I can leave it here and give it all to the one who can change things, the one who can make a difference in people’s hard hearts. The Holy Spirit. Only through the gospel can people really change. We must remember this in these trying times. Remember we don’t need the law if we live by the Spirit. Suddenly my children’s Bible memory verse feels so much more powerful. I understand it on a new level.
Just this week I’ve seen countless reports about the President gassing and shooting peaceful protestors for a photo op. That didn’t sit well with me and so it lead me to go searching. Looking for answers. I mean, really if he did such a thing wouldn’t they of put the man on trial! Or called for impeachment? Only two days later it appears in his interviews and also with the perspective of the DOD and Parks Rec. No tear gas or bullets were used to clear the street so the president could in fact visit St.Johns church. A church that was set on fire the night before by riots! All in the name of unity? Huh? Unity? That doesn’t gel for me.
I’ve stopped and had many moments. Moments when I’m alone. To ponder our meaningless lives and why we are here. What is friendship? Brotherhood? I didn’t want my children to see the depths of corruption of humanity just yet. They know some stuff. And they have to for their own protection, you know stranger danger and just plain old sin. People’s hearts are wicked. They understand the only good in them is when the Holy Spirit changes them. That is the good. When Jesus makes you new. You see things differently.
You know, I’ve had different seasons with friendships. Different likes or interests have drawn me to particular people. In my younger years it was who you’re placed with in your class. You connect with those kids because quite frankly you have no other choice. And as we get older we are drawn to new friendships along the way. Some fizzle out just naturally whilst others can sadly take a turn for the worst. I’ve experienced both in my short life. I’ve gone from countless friendships to once having children watching how that naturally changes. My focus is elsewhere. And then I wear a new badge as a ‘homeschool mother’ meaning friendships shift again. I can’t grab a coffee in my day. My best friends become my children. Catch up’s with friends stick to weekends or my new fav app ‘Marco Polo.’ I can connect with friends during the day whilst I’m busy being mum via text or Instagram.
But you know those true friendships. The ones that stick forever. That last through all seasons. Those are really hard to find. In my years I could tell you some stories that belong in a Melodrama Book series. I’ve had moments where I could imagine you reader sitting on the other side of the table at your fav cafe (let’s be real I just imagine it these days) sipping your delicious coffee with your jaw dropped over the stories of “so called friendships” ha! And I’m certain you would exchange the same jaw dropping stories yourself… maybe not to the same degree. Trust me.
However, jokes aside. I’ve come to learn through the Spirit to trust His gentle voice, the way He presses on my spirit and heart with a certainty in a person. I’ve learnt to pray for my friendships. I’ve learnt it’s of great importance to ask God for kind friendships where my whole family are blessed. Not just myself. Where we can give and serve as a family. And enjoy life giving friendships.
We were created for relationship. We were created to enjoy these good things given to us by God. Jesus had 12 close friends in His 30’s. That’s more than I have (ha!) yet in that bunch of great blokes He has 3 very close ones. Ones that came alongside Him and held him up in prayer, who laughed and cried with Him, who encouraged Him. Who were there even though they were flawed and got it wrong. Who weren’t afraid to say ‘sorry’ when they did the wrong thing. Who failed miserably and yet he forgave time and time again.
As I’m nearing my 40’s now I can see the saying is real, “A true friend is hard to find.” However, to find that true friend, we need to pray for it. We need to ask the giver of all good things to place the right people in our lives. In our circle. To become our community. And hear me friend, one or two good, solid God glorifying friendships are better than 20 fake ones. God can and will do this for you reader.
So no matter our spiritual or political beliefs can’t we just see past this and show love? Can’t we look for a need in someone and fill it. Talk about the real issues in life. Ask ourselves how can I help the poor and lost and be a friend in someway to all mankind? How can I be as Jesus was to the best of my ability. In doing so we display Christ. And the gospel will no doubt be spread.
Ultimately there is one true friend who will never hurt or shame you. Who will never throw slurs at you or talk behind your back, who will never lie or cuss at you. A friend who would lay their life down for you. In fact this friend already has. Now, that’s true friendship.
Peace, love and grace to you reader wherever you are at.