My Thoughts On Fathers Day.

When I was in the classroom I would begin each morning with devotions. I would lead my children in song and prayer. We had this very ‘humble’ shoe box. We cut a slit at the top of it, whenever a student needed prayer they would quietly write their request down and then come out the front and place it into the box. No one placed their names on the prayer points so there was no fear. We came boldly into prayer with the Lord, petitioning Him, thanking Him and waiting for answers. Now and then we had a prayer request for some parents that seemed to be struggling or a broken marriage. I must say it was a rare occasion. The majority of prayers were about friendships or sport, sometimes holidays or sick friends. 

On this particular morning I had chosen our new memory verse as a class to learn. My 9 year olds were buzzing. I could hear the soft murmurs and little voices of joy ready to set themselves on a new challenge. I began to read King David’s Psalm 27… “The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” The children didn’t speak. They were enthralled by the words a man wrote thousands of years ago. I continued, and eventually I came to the line “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” I went on and finished this beautiful Psalm filled with such glorious promises from God. By the end, I closed the Bible and looking up to engage with the class again I saw a flood of hands up in the air, waiting to have their say on this passage. I never knew or never could predetermine what those little hands had going on in their hearts. I was going to touch on friendships and loneliness, ah, but the Psalm struck many deeper chords. 

The first child I allowed to speak explained “my dad doesn’t live with us anymore.” The next, “ My parents split up.” And another “I hate having to go from house to house to see each parent.” Again “My dad hardly sees us.” These comments seemed to never end. My heart was aching as I listened to each child explain either a situation they were involved in or a friend of theirs. My heart sank… we had to put a hold on our lessons for the day. I remember thinking it’s so unfair. These little ones don’t deserve such uncertainty, such sadness, rejection. I stood there shaking my head clutching my Bible. As I breathed in deeply, taking it all in, in my mind I said “Lord, give me the right words to say to these children, to your children.” And so, as Father’s Day 2018 is drawing to an end I find myself saying the same words to you dear reader. “Father, give me the right words to help your child.” You might be hurting, you might be lonely, Fathers Day might be the worst day of the year for you.

I am here, I’m thinking of you and praying for you. You know what I told my year 4 class? I said “Look! look at what follows after the pain or losing someone or feeling abandoned. Look at what’s written next. There is more, there is a promise – ‘ The Lord will receive me.’” You see the Lord will always be there, He cares. It’s a promise and He does not break His promises, He simply cannot. Psalm 27 is about the essence of God the Father. We do not need anything else but Him alone. He will fulfill all our needs. He is our mother, our father, our provider, our protector, our fortress our strength. Only in Him and Him alone will we find healing friend. Only in Him and the blood of Jesus will our hearts find peace and real joy. An everlasting joy that cannot be taken. 

Oh reader. Your pain is real. You are heard, your cries are heard by a loving Heavenly Father who is ready to stand up and hold you up and carry you through. He is willing to sacrifice His beloved son for YOU. You need to only call upon His name, you need only believe in Him and you will have the gift of salvation. This Father’s Day allow God to do wonders in your heart. Allow Him to adopt you into His family, allow this to be the first Fathers Day where you can say “this is it, I will rejoice in this day for the Lord has made it and it is good.” Reader, if you are grieving, allow the Holy Spirit to come along side you and gently minister to your soul, gently love and speak to you. 

As we slowly looked back over Psalm 27 my students eyes were opened to see the goodness and kindness of God the Father and how much he wants us to trust in Him to be our ultimate love. Today you can walk away with a Father. You can be adopted into His Kingdom. You see, earthly longings, earthly yearnings and desires will always disappoint you. Nothing here on earth will fulfill us. Even those of us with wonderful fathers. They are just a taste of who God is. They point to our Father in Heaven and show us or show our children the amazement of a Father who never ever lets us down. Who never runs away, who never hurts us but only does what is best for us ALWAYS. Father’s, don’t instill a sense of confidence into children that is simply for self satisfaction. Instill a confidence and hope in Jesus. So that anything your children do is because Christ has done this within them! What lasting joy comes from this. 

Reader maybe you are the father who let your children down. Or perhaps you are going through a trialling time for whatever reasons. Maybe you go to bed at night lamenting, agonising over the what if’s or wishing you could change things. Let today be the first step for healing and restoration. BUT allow the work to begin with Jesus. Get down on your knees friend. Beg for forgiveness, stand up, take a deep breath and go forth with Christ behind and in front of you leading (as your Father) every new, fresh and exciting step. In His name. For His glory! Amen.

Happy Fathers DAY to all the dad’s/ father figures out there. 

‘If you, then, though you are sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ Matthew 7:11

Jennifer X

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup.
I almost don’t want to share this one! It’s my favourite secret weapon. Everyone who’s tried this absolutely LOVES it! The secret to get the nutty flavouring is roast and sautée all ingredients until VERY well browned!

One whole pumpkin (I love Jap) cut up and seasoned well. And lathered in olive oil.

2 onions diced.

2 tablespoons of butter.

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil.

350g of Milk. (Or to your liking).

2 litres of chicken stock.

Nutmeg added to your liking.

Method:
Set oven to 200c.
Cook pumpkin until almost black. Yep! I’m serious.
Meanwhile melt butter and olive oil, add onions and slowly cook with the lid on simmering until dark brown.
Once pumpkin is ready place in large saucepan with the onions, add stock. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer.
Add milk, simmer for a few minutes with a good dash of nutmeg.
Season well.
BLITZ everything, including the skins until smooth and creamy.

*note, you can substitute cows milk for Almond.

* I have a large family so I tend to double this entire recipe to make 6-7 litres. I freeze it in portions. The perfect go to meal!

  • My girlfriend just added a great idea. For a change why not add a Tablespoon of my green curry pasteto create ‘Thai Pumpkin soup.’ – Thanks Loren xx

Jennifer X

Simple Curry Pastes

Alrighty, this is a winner of an idea. You can place the paste in a jar and throw a ribbon around it… or maybe not even go that far. And BOOM, a delicious homemade gift! Or keep it in the fridge for a week to use. Alternatively, this is my favourite. Freeze it up in your ice cube trays! That is the perfect portion to add into the pan to make a fast curry. I have made curry’s a lot more involved and they have been out of this world but for a weeknight meal, who has the time! Below are a few of my top picks. Remember this is a quick meal and perfect for the winter go to’s! I haven’t been able to find any recipe or play on a few that beats Jamie Olivers Red Curry. Look it up and add this to your curry repertoire.

Green Curry Paste

2-4 Large green chillies (the little ones are super hot!).

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 small Brown Onion

1 tbs Garlic

Small Bunch of Coriander leaves including their stalks

2 tsp grated Lime peel

Juice of 1 Lime

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground Coriander

1 tsp ground Cumin

1 tsp Lemongrass

1 tsp peeled Ginger

2 tsp Fish Sauce

1 tsp ground Tumeric

1 tsp oil

Yellow Curry Paste

I once made this paste for friends with 40 dried chillies!!!! Oh my, I nearly died when we cooked with it. So let’s say a few less and you might get the kids on board also.

10 small dried red Chilli’s. Soak chillies in a bowl for 3 minutes.

A good pinch of Salt

4 cloves of Garlic

1 lemongrass stalk. Peel off the outer layer and cut off the hard ends.

3 Shallots

6 inch piece of Ginger, peeled, roughly chopped.

2 tsp of Fish Sauce

2 tbps Curry Powder

1 tbsp Coriander Seeds

1 tsp Tumeric

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water.

Blitz Everything, adding a little more oil, salt, juice, chilli to taste. Play around with each recipe and make it your own!

Jennifer X

Dahl

Be kind to yourself folks and try to find slow cooker recipes as much as possible. Recipes that you know will still have the best flavour cooked this way. This is the best Dahl recipe I’ve made. After trialling a few different ones. This one is family friendly and its best to double or triple the recipe to have frozen up and ready for a few more meals.

Ingredients:

3 cups of red or yellow lentils.

1 large onion chopped.

3 garlic gloves crushed.

3” piece of ginger cut and grated.

2 Tablespoons of Curry Powder.

2 Teaspoons ground Cumin.

2 Teaspoons ground Tumeric.

(1-2 tea spoons of chilli powder if your kids can handle it).

800g Tinned Diced tomatoes (use the Aussie ones for this recipe to help support our farmers). 

Salt to taste.

3 cups of filtered water. More if you desire. Or it thickens too much at the end.

1 can of Coconut Milk if desired to give it a creamier consistency. 

1 lemon.

Bunch of fresh Corriander. 

Method: 
Place all ingredients except the coconut milk, lemon and corriander in your slowcooker. Set on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4.
Right at the end add your milk and lemon juice.
Serve with fresh corriander and Naan Bread.
* This dish is vegan and vegetarian friendly and will freeze beautifully. 

Jennifer X

Moroccan Soup

This is another one of my go to winter meals. Slow cooker friendly and incredibly nutritious. Moroccan soups can have meat in them. This one is Vegan and Vegetarian friendly. Feel free to add meat but I think it’s bursting with spices and aromas that are perfectly served the way it is!

200g tin of chickpeas.

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Ginger.

4 Garlic Cloves, Crushed.

2 Onions, Diced.

2 Bay Leaves.

2 Sticks Celery, chopped.

1L Chicken Broth or Stock.

200g Dried Red Lentils. (Let them soak in water for 15 minutes to clean.)

A pinch of Saffron Threads * Optional.

1 Tablespoon of Sweet Paprika.

1 Tablespoon ground Cumin.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Juice of 1 Lemon.

2 x 400g cans crushed canned Tomatoes. 

1 Bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped.

1 Bunch of Corriander, chopped.

Method:

Place Everything into the slow cooker except the parsley and corriander. Cook on low until the lentils are ready. I usually cook for 6 hours.

Garnish with your greens

Jennifer X

Chicken and Corn Soup

I have been making this beautiful nourishing soup for years now. Way before I had babies and I’m so grateful I have this up my sleeve. There is something satisfying about watching your children eat food that is so good for their little tummies (when they eat it that is! ha!) and I promise yours will LOVE this recipe!

My Chicken and Corn soup in the slow cooker.

Chicken and Corn Soup.
One whole free range chook (if in a hurry use a bbq chook).1 average size Sweet Potato peeled and diced.

2 Brown Onions Diced.

2 Celery stalks diced. You can use the leaves also if you like.

1 Large or 2 small Carrots peeled and diced.

3 cans of Corn Kernals.

3 cans of Creamed Corn (if you like). (Any other veg you like that is a root vegetable can he added if you have it lying around. I often add Broccoli).

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Rosemary leaves finely chopped.

2 Sprigs of fresh Thyme leaves pulled off the stalk.

2 teaspoons of dried Marojam. 

You can add 1 cup of soup mixture to make it more stew like and thicker.


Method:
Place ALL ingredients except for broccoli and tins of corn in the slow cooker.
Add 2 litres of stock/ broth.

Cook until perfect!
While hot add fresh broccoli and cans of corn. Stir and serve hot with fresh crusty bread or freeze for another time.

*note- buying the whole chook is good. Slow cook on high for 4 hours with a drizzle of Olive Oil and season well. The carcass can then be used to make your stock/broth.

Jennifer X

My Broth and Stock Recipes

Do you have go to meals for winter? We do! I can’t get through winter without these recipes. From around May I’ll get a kick start in the kitchen making stocks and broth. Freezing them up and starting the process for cooking and freezing up amples of lasagnas, tomato sauces, soups and a few more little bits and pieces!

I actually don’t know how to get through winter without my freezer full. We’ve just started Scarlet’s new dance classes. They run for an hour and a half. Meaning we get home at 6pm. Right on dinner time. Then the children have martial arts with the anticipation of a few other sport commitments coming up. And with all this running around we could soon become that ‘take out’ family. Spending WAY too much on junk food!

I believe you need one weekend (after making your stock and broth) to put together your plan of attack and cook your little heart out or what I like to do is let my little slow cooker do all the hard work on some of these dishes! 

Righto, I’m going to share my go to meals for our family that are so nutritious, delicious and filling. Remember the key here is giving yourself time. Time to make your broth/stock and time to cook up double, triple quantities to freeze up. Ultimately making your life super easy. 

Stockonly takes 3 hours to make. It’s full of nourishing vitamins and minerals. Plus it’s appealing to make when in a hurry. Brothcan take up to 36 hours in your slow cooker. Both Broth and stock aid in gut healing properties, digestion and helps to fight colds. Can I encourage you to look it up, research it yourself. You can make any broth but I recommend to use chicken because it’s delicious and it works with more dishes. Chicken Broth contains minerals that the body can absorb easily such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur. Bone broth (using beef and lamb bones) is another one worth investing into.
Oh, and an important note. We have watched one too many Netflix Documentaries. ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘What the Health’. We have been changed for the better and as a result and we only buy grass fed, steroid free, FREE RANGE meat. Helping the farmers, loving animals and the planet. For the family. It’s a win win. Pricy? yes, worth it? Absolutely.


Stock

Ingredients

  • Chicken carcass (you can get these for a couple of dollars from any good butcher).
  • 3 litres of filtered water.1 brown onion.
  • 2 stalks of celery roughly chopped.
  • 1 large or 2 carrots roughly chopped.
  • 10 Peppercorns.
  • 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother).
  • 2 bay leaves. (Any other herbs you might have in the fridge or garden adds great flavour).

Method

  1. Place bones in cold water, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Place all ingredients on a pan and roast for 20 minutes, toss and then roast for another. Almost until very dark. Pop everything into the filtered water. Bring to the boil. Scrap off the bubbly scum.
  2. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 3 hours.
  3. Pour through a sieve 3 times and freeze in 250g – 1 litre containers. The perfect portions for cooking. 

Chicken Broth/Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Roasted chicken carcasess.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother.
  • 2 Onions Unpeeled.
  • 1 Australian Grown Garlic head.
  • 2 celery stalks including the leafy green parts.
  • 2 Carrots Unpeeled.
  • 10 Whole Peppercorns.
  • 3 Fresh bay leaves.
  • Small bunch of fresh Parsley.
  • Small bunch of fresh Thyme.

Method

Place bones in cold water, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Leave all skins on the vegetables as they have so many health benefits. Cut entire garlic head across ways. Place all ingredients on a pan and roast for 20 minutes, toss and then roast for another. Almost until very dark. Then place into the slowcooker. Add water and vinegar so that it covers all ingredients by 2 inches. Cook for 12 to 36 hours on LOW! Strains 3 times to get rid of all the bones and scum. Freeze in batches. 

Also, halve the recipe if your slowcooker isn’t large enough. 

Pour through a sieve 3 times and freeze in 250g – 1 litre containers. The perfect portions for cooking. 

Ok, there’s our base for SO MUCH!!!! 

Winter Meal Ideas

Our weeknight meals in winter will look something like this. (Give or take dinner parties, sales on particular vegetables and outings.)

Monday:Soup and Fresh Bread.

Tuesday:Organic grass fed sausages or steak roasted Sweet potato, Brussel sprouts and broccolini. 

Wednesday:Fish and chips. Homemade. 

Thursday:My lasagna. (Click hereto find out how I make what my kids and husband say is the perfect lasagna).

Friday:Taco Movie night. (Click hereto make my SUPER EASY house made taco seasoning!)

Saturday:Homemade Pizzas. (Click hereto see how we make the perfect pizza dough).

Sunday:Pesto Pasta (click here to learn how to make our pastaand delicious pesto). James and I will usually eat a yummy homemade curry! (Click hereto grab a few curry base recipes.)

*Note soup and lasagna nights are nights we finish sport late.

Remember keep your life simple by planning ahead and freezing in bulk. Making pasta and drying it out. What you are trying to do is leaving out the numbers and additives and going as clean and fresh and healthy as possible.

Stay warm folks and feel free to let me know if you have tried any of these recipes and what you think.


Jennifer X

Farm Egg Fresh Pasta Dough.

When I was in my early twenties I took my little brother to 9 weeks of Italian cooking classes. Particularly to perfect a risotto and learn to make great pasta. I highly recommend doing this! A recipe can only do so much but you can only know when pasta dough is ready by the touch. I hope I can explain it simply enough for you to cook it like a pro!

Ingredients:

6 Farm Fresh Eggs.

600g Tipo ‘00’ Flour.

Method: 

Place the flour in a bowl, make well and add the eggs. Using a fork slowly mix incorporating the flour. Once folded through tip out onto a well floured board. Start kneeding the dough. This  will take some arm muscles. Kneed until smooth. Shape into a disc, insert your thumb. If it comes out clean and not sticky it’s ready!! Otherwise keep kneeding guys. You’ll get there.

Shape into a disc, cover in cling film and rest in the fridge for half an hour. 

Bring it out of the fridge and divide into 6 even pieces. Follow your pasta makers instructions.

Lay the paster sheets out on a floured table and allow to completely dry out before storing in sealed containers.

Jennifer X

Easy Pesto Sauce

Ok, ok…. you need to step away from the bottled Pesto sauce in aisle 5 of the supermarket! I’m serious. There is no excuses after you read how fast you can make you’re own sauce up. And do yourself a favour, double, triple my recipe and freeze up large batches. If you’re kids are anything like mine it will soon become a fast week night meal.

2 large bunches of Basil. 

Juice of 1 Lemon.

2 Garlic cloves.

Salt and Pepper.

Handful of your favourite nuts. The traditional version uses pine nuts.

A good lug of Oilve Oil.

Method:

Lightly grill nuts until golden.

Place all ingredients in the blender and blitz to your liking.

Freeze up in portions for a fast meal. Pesto sauce is also delicious with chicken and steak. 

*Note: Nut options are roasted Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Cashews. DO NOT BUY THEM SALTED.

Jennifer X

Fajita Seasoning

We have a Friday night tradition in our family. Taco and movie night! And it’s the best. I wait all week for snuggles on the lounge with my little people and big one! ha!! Watching a movie and relaxing together. But before the movie we love a good Taco. It’s such a family friendly, cost effective meal. I love how we gather around the table together and chat with the side remarks of ‘pass the cheese please’. or ‘Can I please have the sour cream?’ SOOOO sweet.

James’ favourite seasoning is Fajita. And there are no rules when it comes to tacos (except you must have Guac) and different Mexican seasoning. So who cares that we use Fajita seasoning with Taco shells.

Recently I threw a luncheon Mexican style, so our humble Taco night was vamped. It’s so easy to throw a Cactus on your table or mix and match bright colours to delight the eye. Mexican is always a lot of fun. Have a look around the house and grab bits and pieces to set the table just right. And the idea is to literally have items that don’t match. How easy is that!

This is a child friendly recipe, also good for those people who struggle with chilli. I find with seasonings and curry pastes all you need to do is add fresh chilli yourself to make it your own. Have a bowl of fresh chilli’s diced on the table. Those heat loving fanatics can go for it! That way everyone is covered.

Recipe:

5 teaspoons chili powder. (optional or less)

5 teaspoons paprika.

5 teaspoons garlic powder.

5 teaspoons cumin.

3 teaspoons dried oregano.

4 teaspoons sea salt.

3 teaspoons fresh ground pepper.

Place into a sealed jar and shake well before using.

Jennifer X