Monday, July 26, 2010

Four more easy ways to get veggies into kids

After writing my earlier post about 5 quick and easy veggie snacks for kids, I though about the other ways I get my kids to eat veggies. So here are four more:

1. Veggeroni Macaroni

After seeing the Woolworth's ad where the mum stirfries carrot strips and pretends they are spaghetti, I was inspired to try it as well. I use a veggie peeler and make my "pasta" out of carrot and zucchini, cook it in a frypan for a few minutes with some olive oil, garlic and dried herbs until softened and top with spaghetti sauce and a bit of grated cheese. Irini loves it; Stephen is not fooled!

2. Veggie Kebabs

Both the kids love eating kebabs and satay sticks and I tend to agree, there is something great about eating food off a stick! I now add chunks of veggies in between the meat, and the kids tend to eat them up as well. Little baby squash cut in half always seems to go down well, as does the caspicum and pumpkin, probably because of their natural sweetness that is enhanced by the grilling/BBQing.

3. Sweet Potato Fries

This has been a real hit, lately. Simply cut up a peeled sweet potato into fries, toss in olive oil, some spices and a bit of salt, and cook in a single layer on a preheated baking tray at 200C for about 30 minutes, turning half way through. I now keep a couple of bags of frozen sweet potato fries in the freezer for quick pull-together meals now that they are finally available here in Australia.

4. Sneak them in

Jessica Seinfeld and Missy Lapine have created a whole industry around sneaking veggies into kid's foods. I don't neccesarily agree with the concept, since i think it is much better to get kids to appreciate veggies rather than to sneak around. However, I have no problem with sneaking them in to foods in conjunction with feeding them whole veggies. I generally can't be bothered with the whole pureeing thing, but finely grated veggies can be added to lots of things unnoticed. I usually add zucchini, carrot and red peppers (capsicum) to my spaghetti bolognaise, and carrots to my muffins.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Winter School Run Uniform

This year has been the first year I have had to deal with getting ready for the school run, and I only need to do it twice a week. I think I have managed to be relatively stylish when dropping off Stephen at Kindy as are all the other mums at our kindy, but I have seen some real shockers on the drive there, including multiple mums dropping their kids off still dressed in their pajamas (the mums, that is). One thing i did to streamline our mornings was create a simple uniform for Stephen of a light blue tee shirt and a dark blue tracksuit. His kindy is free dress, but to create a good routine, I felt that him having a uniform would make like much easier, which it has.

It got me thinking that having a weekday uniform for mum's is not such a bad idea either. While I am not suggesting that you run out and buy a dark blue tracksuit for each day of the week, I think developing a signature style can really help out on those busy mornings.

  • having this "uniform" approach means you can get ready in a matter of minutes
  • you can mix and match easily, even when dressing in the dark
  • you can have fewer pieces, but more looks
  • accessories can quickly and easily jazz up the look

The perfect example of a great signature style that is perfect for the school drop off is Elle McPherson.

Her signature look is made up of a denim bottom (usually a skinny leg jean), a knit top, a blazer/jacket/cardigan, a large scarf, big sunnies, and ballet flats. All of those items mix and match easily, and she adds punches of colour and pattern through the shoes and scarves. It really wouldn't matter what pieces she grabbed in the morning, they would all go together.

Of course, you need to pick a style that suits you. Elle's style is a touch too preppy for me, and I prefer to wear heels, but if I added a few vintage touches, it would work. Is your style more elegant, more sporty, more urban hippy? Take your style and then develop a "uniform" that fits that style.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

5 quick and easy fruit and veggie snacks for kids

Getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies can be a challenge at the best of times. I am lucky that Stephen loves apples, strawberries and blueberries, as well as cucumbers and grape tomatoes. Irini loves bananas and apples, and carrots and red peppers. Even so, I still want to make sure they get a wider range than this. Here are 5 quick and easy fruit and veggie snacks that are winners with both of mine!

  1. Smoothies - an oldie but a goodie. I can put all sorts of fruits, and even veggies, into the kids' smoothies. Check out my Power Me Up Smoothie recipe for one jam packed full - it even includes spinach and the kids still love it!

  2. Yoghurt Parfaits - simply layer yoghurt (homemade is even better), fresh or stewed fruit, and something crunchy like nuts or granola. Delish!

  3. Homemade pizzas - I make my own wholemeal pizza dough and store it in the freezer for quick and easy snacks. Top with pizza sauce, a heap of finely chopped veggies, and some cheese. If you don't have any pizza dough on hand, toasted english muffins, pita bread or a tortilla work just as well.

  4. Homemade Popsicles/Icy Poles - it certainly isn't the weather for it here, but in the hot summer months, these are perfect.

  5. Fancy fritters - make up a basic pancake mix (without sugar) and mix in some finely diced veggies (our favourite is equal amounts of onion, red pepper, beans and corn and a handful of shredded cheese). Place some cookie cutters in a fry pan first to make the fritters fun shapes. Serve with tomato chutney/relish to dip in.

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image source: istock photo

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sophisticated Anachronism in my personal style

The other day I spoke about my style statement, Sophisticated Anachronism, and how I came up with it. Today I thought I would share with you how I interpret my statement with my personal style. I love styles from bygone eras, and pretty much any bygone era, from the opulent velvets and embroideries of the Renaissance and the Edwardian eras, the sharp tailoring of the 1940's and the lace and fripperies of the Victorians. Unfortunately, to dress head to toe in outfits inspired by these eras would look like I was about to go to a costume party, rather than my desired aim of appearing chic, stylish and sophisticated.

Instead, I try and live up to the second part of my style statement, anachronism, and mix vintage touches into a more modern sensibility. Below are two outfits based on ones that I wear quite often.

The first outfit has a very modern silhouette as its base. With dark skinny jeans, a striped grey and black knit, a charcoal skinny cardigan and a slouchy leather bag, I could be any one of the young mums I see on a daily basis. To add my hint of anachronism to my outfit, I pinned a collection of vintage and vintage-style rhinestone brooches onto my shoulder like a corsage, and paired it with a pair of delicate mid heel, bow trimmed pumps.

The second outfit starts with the exact opposite base. Starting with a vintage 1930's style lace jacket/tunic, I decided to toughen it up with modern touches. So underneath I wore a grey marle long sleeve knit top and leggings, and paired them with grey patent heeled ankle booties. I used the same slouchy bag, and added some metal stud bracelets as my accessories.

I can't create the next two outfits on polyvore since they don't allow clippings from Etsy, and the two skirts I bought are so unique that I couldn't find an adequate substitute on Polyvore. Both skirts are from a lovely Etsy seller Couvert who is based in Poland. All the items are handmade, some of them one of a kind and some made to measure.

The first skirt is a dark charcoal crushed wool heavily embellished with lace, ruffles and ribbon. The asymmetrical hem is what drew me to this skirt and the shorter part of the hem hits right at my sweet spot just under my knee, with the long part trailing to mid calf. The skirt has so much going on that I pair it with a plain black, v - neck cashmere sweater; for someone with a flatter chest, a black turtleneck would be even better. Black leather flat motocross style knee boots to add a bit of toughness to counteract the pretty. For jewellery, I keep it simple with my Pandora charm bracelet, a chunky silver ring and a chunky silver necklace.

I love the way Couvert has styled this skirt, with the untucked white shirt, the low slung belt and the chunky knit shrug, but it is all wrong for my borderline plus-sized hourglass shape. Instead, I pair it with an unusual dark chocolate cashmere twinset I have had for about 5 years, but still looks current. The shell part of the twinset is a simple sleeveless tank with a scoopneck and an empire seam under the bust which is incredibly flattering. The cardigan part is actually a shrug/bolero style, with three quarter length balloon sleeves. The volume of the sleeves pair really well with the volume of the skirt. While this outfit has no embellishment in terms of ruffles or lace or ribbons, it has a lot of textural/architectural interest in the intricate folds of the skirt, the subtle self stripe and sheen of skirt fabric, and the softness of the cashmere sweater set, so I keep it really simple with my jewellery, wearing just a large pearl ring. For shoes, I wear a pair of chocolate suede and patent knee high stiletto boots. I love how the suede and patent combo add just one more textural element to the monochromatic outfit.

These four looks are all totally different, and yet, the core of sophisticated anachronism remains. In all of the outfits I feel totally comfortable and at ease and, most importantly, I feel like me!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Giveaway - Australian Style

As promised, here is my giveaway open to ALL my readers, wherever you are from! Despite the title of this book, the content in here is useful for everyone, and to be honest, is not particularly "Australian". The book covers how to be stylish, but in all its forms; the obvious fashion and personal style, is of course, covered, but so is decorating your home, how to have display flawless manners and etiquette (which the authors correctly distinguish between), and even how to buy the perfect presents for babies, adults and everyone in between.

I really enjoyed this book, and while a lot of the content can be found in other books, having it all in one place is quite useful and makes for an interesting read.

Get one entry for each of the following (leave a comment for each!). Ends Wednesday 21 July at 5pm Australian Western Standard Time.

  1. How you are stylish? Leave a comment and let us know!
  2. Subscribe to Chic Mummy by email (or let me know that you already do!)
  3. Subscribe to Chic Mummy by RSS (or let me know that you already do!)
  4. Follow me publicly (or let me know that you already do!)
  5. Follow me on Twitter (use the button at right)
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Style Statement - Sophisticated Anachronism

Quite a while ago, I read a wonderful book Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design. The premise of the book is to come up with a "Style Statement", a two word phrase that can help to guide the spirit, feel and look of your life. The first word represents 80%, your foundation; while the second word represents your 20%, what motivates and distinguishes you.

The book has a series of questionnaires that helps you to come up with your style statement, together with profiles of various people and their style statements. Even though I read the book probably over two years ago, I haven't written a review until now because I was, quite frankly, ambiguous about it. I found the book's method not quite suited to me - it is very focused on journalling exercises, which have never appealed to me. It could also be quite pretentious. However, once I took the essence of what the book was asking for, and applied my own visual learning style, it suddenly all fell into place. Instead of using their journalling method, I relied on a mixture of collage techniques, cutting and pasting pictures and images that I felt helped me to answer the questions. Once I did it my way, it did not take long for me to come up with my style statement:

Sophisticated Anachronism

So what this mean? From,


- adjective

  1. a person, ideas, tastes, manners, etc. altered by education, experience etc., so as to be worldly-wise; not naive: a sophisticated young socialite, the sophisticated eye of a journalist
- synonyms
  1. worldly, cosmopolitan, experienced, cultivated

- adjective
  1. something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, esp. a thing or person who belongs to an earlier time: the sword is an anachronism in modern warfare

The first word is how I want to see my foundation, the "bulk" of me, so to speak. It is reflected in the name of my blog and the way my life has been shaped. I am well travelled, I spent many years in further education and love to further my knowledge base however and whenever I can.

The second word reflects how I sometimes feel out of place in today's society, and love things and ideas that hark back to earlier times. It's handwriting thankyou notes with a fountain pen rather than dashing off an email; being interested in "retro" housekeeping; and reading a "real" book rather than an e-reader! But it is also about juxtaposing those old fashioned elements with a modern sensibility, hence the "anachronism".

I have now been using this style statement for nearly two years, and find that when i remain true to it, I feel more comfortable, more at home, more at peace in my own skin. Over the next few weeks I will share with you how I have incorporated my style statement through various elements of my life.

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Disclaimer: this post contains amazon affiliate links

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fruche Review + Recipes

I was recently given a voucher to go and buy some of the new relaunched Fruche, and hold a small morning tea so that some friends and I could try it out. I am under the impression that Fruche is launching quite a few new and improved flavours, but my local supermarket only had a limited range, so I picked the three that they had: Vanilla Bean, Strawberry Fields and Tropical Mango. I was interested to see that they are really highlighting the link to Yoplait, with all of their new packaging having the tagline "Inspired by Yoplait". I found this a bit ironic, since I often buy Fruche, but I rarely buy Yoplait yoghurt (when I do buy yoghurt, since I mostly make my own!), preferring Mundella which does not have any thickeners, gelatine, or added preservatives.

I have eaten Fruche for a long time, finding it a quick and easy healthy snack that usually satisfied me when I was craving something creamy and sweet, since it was much less "yoghurty" than yoghurt. I also used it quite often as a base for low fat dessert recipes.

I had three friends over, and the general consensus was that the vanilla was a definite improvement over what we remembered of the original formula, but the strawberry and mango tasted pretty much the same (still yummy and delicious). I also made two desserts using the vanilla and the strawberry flavours which were big hits. I've included the recipes for you:

Fruit with Gingered Fruche

2 x 200g cartons vanilla bean Fruche
2 tablespoons finely chopped Buderim Naked ginger (crystallised ginger without the crystallised sugar coating - use regular crystallised ginger if you can't find it)
Juice of one orange
2 large pears, chopped
3 apples, chopped

Mix Fruche and ginger and leave to sit in fridge for about 10 minutes.

Mix orange juice, apples and pears, and place into 4 serving bowls. Top with gingered Fruche and serve immediately.

Strawberry Mousse

1 punnet strawberries, hulled
1 tbs agave nectar
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp gelatine
150g Strawberry Fields Fruche
2 egg whites

  • Puree strawberries, agave nectar and lemon juice until smooth.
  • Sprinkle gelatine over 2 tbs boiling water and stir until completely dissolved.
  • Allow to cool slightly, and then stir quickly into strawberry puree.
  • Add Fruche and stir to combine.
  • Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form.
  • Stir a large spoonful of egg whites into strawberry mixture to loosen, then fold remaining egg whites in carefully,
  • Spoon into 4 serving dishes and refrigerate until set, a few hours.
  • Garnish with extra strawberries and mint leaves if desired.

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a voucher for the Fruche. All recipes and opinions are my own.

Eternal Creation 40% off Sale + free gifts

I have bought a lot of clothes from Eternal Creation for Irini and have been really impressed with both their style and quality, so I thought I would share with you their wonderful special offer running at the moment to celebrate the Dalai Lama's 75th birthday. With purchases over $75 at their 40% off sale, you will receive free EMS shipping, as well as a choice of a free gift.

Enter one of these codes at checkout to receive the following gifts and free shipping:

HAPPINESS - The Dalai Lama's Art of Happiness book

FLAGS - A set of Tibetan prayer flags

HAPPYWORK - The Art of Happiness at Work book

COSMETIC - a set of three cosmetic bags

EARRINGS - a pair of earrings

TEA - Tibetan herbal tea bags

Ethical Creations clothes are beautifully designed by an Australian mother who is now based in the Himalayas with her family. They are all handmade by local women (Ethical Creations is one of the largest employers in the region, and focuses on helping ex-political prisoners) and are exceptional quality. The first lot of clothes I bought made it through their second summer of wearing, and are still in near perfect condition, so if they still fit next summer will get yet another season. My favourite thing, though, is their design. The clothes are "pretty" - this word doesn't really do them justice - with really beautiful prints and classic shapes. You won't see any Britney or Miley wannabee outfits here.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Winner of the CSN Giveaway

Sorry I am so late announcing the winner of the CSN giveaway. The lucky winner is comment number 13, Amy. I have passed your details onto CSN, so you should be receiving your $50 voucher soon!

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Flavoured Teas

Now that I am religiously enjoying my little afternoon tea break during the kids' rest time, I am also enjoying sampling new tea blends. I have fallen in love with Madame Flavour's range of teas, especially her White Tea and Rose, and Green Tea and Pear. They have just the right hint of natural flavour from petals and real fruit, rather than artificial flavour, and come in these beautiful looking silken infuser pods (see one in the photo above). I first tried these teas at a cafe, and was thrilled when I saw them on the shelves of my local supermarket.

Trying these amazing teas has inspired me to try my hand at my own tea blends. Here are two recipes that I've made recently that are delicious.

Minty Ginger

This is perfect for sipping on a cold afternoon, when you want a bit of zing to pep you up.

50g good quality tea leaves
18 pces Buderim crystallised ginger, very finely chopped
2 tbs dried mint
pinch of ground ginger

Mix ingredients well and store in a airtight container. Leave at least 3 days before using. Use 1 tsp per cup.

Masala Chai Mix

I adapted a wonderful recipe from Passage des Perles. Add a good pinch to cup of brewed milky tea.

6 tsp ground cardamom
6 cinnamon quills
20 whole cloves
3 tsp ground ginger
1 star anise
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 dried vanilla bean
1/2 tsp dried orange peel (not candied)

Grind all together in a spice or coffee grinder. Store in an airtight container.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

5 quick and easy kid's breakfasts in less than 5 minutes

I've become really boring with the kid's breakfasts lately, relying on cold cereal, yoghurt and fruit, so I thought I would start mixing it up a bit. These five quick and easy kid's breakfasts have the perfect combination of protein and carbs as well as some fruit or veggies. Best of all, they are all ready in less than 5 minutes.

  1. Tex Mex Breakfast Burrito - beat an egg in a glass dish and microwave on high for 20 seconds. Stir and then heat for another 20 seconds and then remove and keep warm. Top a wholemeal tortilla with a slice of ham, a slice of cheese (or 2 tbs shredded cheese), 2 sliced mushrooms and 2 tbs salsa and microwave for 30 seconds until cheese is melted. Add egg and fold.

  2. Banana Dog - spread 1 tbs almond butter on a wholemeal hot dog bun and add 1 peeled banana. Serve with a glass of milk.

  3. Greek Pita - spread 1/4 cup ricotta cheese on a lightly toasted whole wheat pita. Top with 2 chopped fresh figs and drizzle with a 1 tbs honey.

  4. Berry Nut Oatmeal - cook 1 packet of instant plain, unsweetened oatmeal as directed on packet. Top with 2 tbs crumbled walnuts, 3 sliced strawberries and 2 tbs frozen blueberries.

  5. Cheesy Tomato English Muffin - Open a wholemeal English muffin. Top one side with sliced tomatoes and the other with a slice of cheese. Grill (broil) until cheese melts. Sandwich together.

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