review + cook // healthy (nearly paleo) chocolate brownie

My name is Kylie.  I LOVE chocolate.

I do not like milky chocolate.  It has to be GOOD chocolate.  Chocolate is generally sugar-laden yes?

No.

Not this chocolate.  Perfect for when you are smack bang in the middle of #nurseyschool and studying your head off.  OR when you are driving a million miles to and from Placement for said #nurseyschool, and you need a little ‘pickup”.  Or – when you just feel like a non-sugar added sugar hit!

A little while ago, the lovely folks at Well Naturally contacted me to see if I would care to sample their new range, cook up a little something something and share it with my good friends in the blogosphere.  Ummm. Let me think about it.  Receive chocolate. Cook with it.  Eat it. No brainer!

I received a delicious little package in the mail, filled with much goodness.

Well NAturally chocolate

My heart sang.  Immediately!

I was in full study mode at that time, so a few squares of chocolate were exactly what I needed.

Well Naturally (and I quote) “leaves out the undesirable ingredients, so you can enjoy more of the good stuff.  because unhealthy treats are so yesterday!”.

No added sugar chocolate bars AND cooking melts – WIN WIN.  Sweetened with stevia, there is no impact on blood sugar levels and zero calories.  Well done Well Naturally!

Go on – try some! (Look for it in all good supermarkets.)

No arguments from me.

I proceeded to study hard, and indulge in chocolate.  Win win. (for those playing along – I have three High Distinctions so far for this semester – woohoo!).

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Let’s just say – Dark Chocolate with a hint of peppermint was my favourite, followed very closely by the Acai berry!

I whipped up a little morning-tea whenever I feel like it, snack for myself, and proceeded to munch through it like crazy.  A delicious vaguely paleo chocolate brownie.  Full of no added sugars!  Oh – and it’ll make you “number two” like you never have before!

chocolate brownie with Well Naturally
Author: 
Serves: 10 pieces
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Throw everything into the thermomix (or processor - whichever appliance you have)
  2. Whiz on high speed until the mix comes together (TMX sp9)
  3. Add water is needed - I usually find water is needed to bring the mix together.
  4. Press firmly into a slice tin.
  5. NB - it doesn't make a big thick slice - I don't usually spread it across the whole tin, just enough so that the slice is about ½inch high
  6. Cool in fridge for 30 mins
  7. Seive cacao over the top
  8. Slice.
  9. Enjoy

Speaking of WIN WIN…….

Thanks to Well Naturally, I have TWO packs of chocolate to giveaway. You want one – truly.

Comment here on the blog, and tell me your favourite time to indulge in a spot of chocolate “no sugar added sugar” hit! 

(You have a week to get your entries in – please make me laugh!)

the birthday week of 2014

Who would have guessed!  Ten years ago yesterday – I held Mackenzie in my arms.  She unfortunately had a dicky heart and has been a little mountain of medical miracles and issues since.  Then, seven years ago on Wednesday – the Murph was born.

Two girls, three days off being exactly three years apart.  The year they turn 21 and 18 – don’t come looking for me – I will be on holiday.

So….. this week is herewith marked as Birthday Week.

Last Thursday, Wilbur took the girls a-shopping for bicycles.  Saturday afternoon, saw Madison and I  a-shopping for party food.  Thankfully I had Madison – coz apparently carrot and cucumber sticks, a few lollies, cut up fruit and water just does not cut it for party food.  Five hours on Saturday afternoon was spent baking FORTY-EIGHT cupcakes, mini-scrolls (cheesy-mite, ham and cheese and pizza) and lemon slice.  Six a.m. Sunday morning I was up and baking scrolls, icing cupcakes, making fruit sticks and wrangling melons.  Thankfully my Wilbur had whipped out on Saturday evening and stocked up the dismal lolly supply.

Luckily for us, we have friends in high places, and we took nearly 30 of Mackenzie and Murphy’s closest friends out for a seal and dolphin watching trip upon Moonraker.  The weather was kind, the worried parents were waved off at the pier, and we set sail.  Food was eaten. The stinky seals were enjoyed (not quite as much as the spectacle of Wilbur donning his wetsuit for a quick seal-swim), and the dolphins were spotted.  Add in a game of ‘eat the donut on a string’, and some sunshine – a perfect day.  Mackenzie and Murphy seemed mostly enthralled by the food table, rather than their guests and the marine-life……

The afternoon was spent unwrapping and enjoying presents, and bathing in the glorious spring sunshine.

Once the tribe were in bed – a little more present wrapping for the Mackenzinators birthday, along with pleading to ‘please bake some cupcakes for me to share with my class tomorrow”……..

Six am yesterday morning – chocolate raspberry brownie was made!  Not long after – presents were unwrapped (Lego, a t-shirt and a nightie), and she enjoyed a lovely day at school – revelling in being the birthday girl!

Last night was another gift (colour by numbers book, and pencils – a much coveted gift) ‘pasketti’ for dinner (as per her request), and cream covered chocolate mud cake with friends to top it all off!

Now to press pause on the birthday celebrations for 24 hours, until I start back up again for the Murph!

Happy happy birthday Mackenzie – you are a gorgeous girl – so strong and resilient.  So so loving and kind.  Your smile is infectious, and is the love radiating from your soul.  xo

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Look at the pure happiness on their faces!  *love*

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(lack of photographs due to privacy reasons!)

Let’s do it all again…….. (oh wait – I get to in a couple of days…..)

Who else has a birthday plus a birthday all at once!  Or better still – who else gets to celebrate an 18th and a 21st in the space of 3 days!!!!

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It’s been a busy week, and doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. Term FOUR. Christmas.  Prep. High School.  Ohmygoshitsallgoingtoofast.

Madison sat her first saxophone exam on Monday – Grade Two (actually, it was her first exam EVER).  We were hoping for a C, or maybe a B+.  She romped it in with Honours!  An A!  To say we, and she were thrilled (and lets be honest – incredibly surprised), would be an understatement.  She worked incredibly hard in the lead up, and I think learnt that it would be easier to practice consistently throughout the year, rather than a month prior…… but I think we have all been there!

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We whipped out into the street for a little commemorative photograph!

Lightbulb moment – Year six graduation shoot – I might take her to the track, along with her saxophone, nipper gear, race walking gear, her various medals and ribbons, and her favourite book, to take some photographs, and celebrate the amazing year she has had.  What a top idea…. (let me just find the time…)

Mackenzie and Murphy celebrate their 10th and 7th birthdays next week.  This year was BIKE year.  Wilbur took them both shopping to pick up their new bikes last night.  Apparently Mackenzie was over the moon excited. Murphy – meh.!  She’s not a big fan of trying ‘hard’ things – so riding a bike without training wheels is an obstacle! They had a ride on the road last night – and we have put the bikes away until their actual birthdays!  We are having a combined party this year abroad moon raker – for a seal and dolphin sightsee tour.  We haven’t celebrated a birthday with a party for a good three or four years – and Murphy – never!  It’s time!

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Oh how I love daylight savings.  The late afternoon light combined with the ‘summery’ feel – FABULOUS!

Here’s to a glorious week, and beautiful party weather over the weekend!

What are YOUR weekend plans? Do they involve dolphins or bike riding?!

snap // impromptu daisy chains in the park

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(first… thank-you for your kind thoughts regarding this post.… I’ll admit I was pretty angry when I wrote it, and words just came spilling out, without a whole heap of thought. Who knows if they will make a difference…….)

SO……. the other day, we had some time to kill whilst Madison had a sax. lesson.  (She is sitting her first exam today – cross your fingers for her).  We came across a park filled with daisies, and I figured it was time Milla learned the art of daisy chain making.  Let me rephrase that – I made, whilst she picked!

We had an incredibly impromptu speedy iPhone photo shoot afterward.  She was kind enough to give me…….. 40 seconds of her precious time. Thankfully, she didn’t charge me for her time!

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It’s hard to believe she is off to school in just four months. My beautiful independently dependent girl.  How time has flown. Nearly FIVE years ago she arrived – fast and screaming.  She has not stopped since!

Who has a ‘baby’ starting school next year….. how are you feeling about it?

Note: For all the photo enthusiasts – all photographs were taken with iPhone 5s, and processed with VSCOCAM preset S1 (colour), or B5 (b&w).

me // four years ago….

 

mornington_Peninsula_photographer.JPGI trot this photo out once a year, and have done for the last four years, for a couple of reasons, one: it’s THE only decent photograph I have of mum and I, two: the day the photo was taken brings back lovely memories of a tip top lunch at the Portsea Hotel with my mum and my tribe and three: it’s the LAST photograph taken of mum and I before she passed away, only a few weeks later, having succumbed to liver cancer.

Four years ago today I lost my mum.

And you know what, it still sucks.

Mum and I had a rough relationship, it was no secret.  Her alcohol fuelled life, and hence my emotionally abused life has made me abhor anything alcohol related.

It still sucks, as when she passed away, I heaved a sigh of relief.  I totally felt, and still feel guilty for that sigh of relief, yet sigh I did.  The relief because I wouldn’t have to manage and be emotionally battered again.  Emotional abuse that wore me down, made me insecure, made me feel worthless, made me feel like I had to tread carefully, constantly, for fear of ‘setting off the ticking time bomb’.  It wasn’t all bad – no – but that fear was always simmering below the surface. No one should have to fear for their emotional safety.

I must say – there are repercussions.  I hate alcohol with a passion.  I hate the way people tell me to “have a drink, it’ll make you relax”. When I hear that – this happens in my head……” Yeah right. Go for a run.  Enjoy your family.  Get out in the sun. If you need alcohol to relax, you’ve got a problem.”  I cannot help it.   Alcohol in this day and age has become a bartering system – “yeah – I’ll pay them a slab, for helping me”.  WHAT.  Seriously, make a pav (my universal bartering tool). Surely that’s not right – or am I being too sensitive?

Why am I going on about this today?

The news that a young man has been sentenced to only ten years in jail for ‘king hitting’ and killing an innocent bloke in an alcohol-fuelled act of idiocy, makes me cross.  The fact that four years ago, I lost my mum, due to alcohol fuelled death makes me cross. The fact that I live in a society where people think it is acceptable to barter with alcohol, and feel it’s acceptable to disrespect and emotionally abuse those close to them makes me cross.

It sucks because it goes on in my life.

Nothing’s going to bring my mum back, and it is getting easier to deal with losing her, but it is getting harder to deal with the emotional crap.

With that off my chest, I am going to embrace today with a vengeance. I am going to wipe away the tears, and get on with it.   I am going to apologise to my little people that we didn’t go to the Zoo today – as we have done for the past three years – for Mum.  It’s on the cards for next weekend.

Oh hey – don’t hold grudges – hug your loved ones…… there’s more important stuff to worry about than the little things… xo

 

cook // easy chooken cookin’

My gang LOVE to eat.  It’s no secret.  I don’t mind cooking. so it’s a WIN WIN.  EXCEPT when I slave away, cook for hours, and turn out a delicious meal, only to have four little noses turn up at it.  UGH.

So – I try and keep meals super simple, HEALTHY, and creative. Not too much spice, but still with taste.  Oh… most importantly, there needs to be enough to feed a small army, whilst relatively cheap.

Without further ado – I give you a super quick to whip up chicken and grilled corn with rice and beans meal!  It went down a treat.

let's cook / easy chooken cookin'
Author: 
Recipe type: quick dinner
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 people
 
Ingredients
chicken
  • 2 extra large well-fed chicken breasts (was definitely enough for us - with left-overs)
  • smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
vegetable component
  • a whole cucumber
  • 4 corn on the cob
  • enough beans for your family (MUST have greens!)
spiced rice
  • enough jasmine rice for your family
  • cumin
  • onion
tzatiki
  • greek yoghurt
  • cucumber
  • garlic
Instructions
  1. I whipped this up fairly quickly - within 30 minutes - in this order....
prepare
  1. Heat two grill pans (or frypans - whichever you have will be fine - I just like the grill marks on my chook!) on high.
  2. Small saucepan with water on to boil for beans.
rice
  1. Put rice onto cook - once it is cooked - we will come back to it and spice it up a little.
chicken
  1. Spread some baking paper on a board, and 'butterfly' your chicken breast (this will help them cook quicker). Sprinkle over the smoked paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Add a good lug or two of olive oil, and rub it all together.
  2. Another lug of good olive oil onto the pan.
  3. Whack the butterflied chook into the pan, and cook.
  4. Don't forget to turn every now and then - keep an eye on it (turn the heat down to medium).
corn
  1. Throw the cobs into the second grill pan - turn them often - don't let them brun (or your six year old will turn her button nose up at them)
beans and cucumber
  1. Prepare the beans, and blanch in boiling water. (plenty of time for this whilst corn and chook are cooking)
  2. MAKE SURE YOU ARE STILL TURNING YOUR CORN, AND CHECKING YOUR CHOOK!
  3. Chop the cucumber up and throw into a serving dish, reserving a couple of inches for the tzatiki.
tzatiki
  1. Finely chop the reserved cucumber, and mince the garlic. Add to a bowl full of greek yoghurt (I use around 1 cup - if there are leftovers, we use it the next day as a dip), and mix. Season with s&p if you desire.
  2. ARE YOU STILL TURNING THE CORN AND CHOOK?
rice
  1. The rice should be cooked - time to spice it!
  2. Finely dice the onion, and add to a pan with a lug of oil and cumin. Saute until that delish cumin aroma permeates your nose!
  3. Add the rice, and stir until it is coated with the oinion and cumin mix.
  4. Pop it on a serving platter.
chcken
  1. The chook should be cooked now - make sure it is.
  2. Remove from heat, and slice accordingly - I serve it over the rice.
corn
  1. Throw the charred and yummy corn on a platter, with a knob or two of butter on top.
Put it all together
  1. I throw everything on the bench with serving 'apparati', and let the tribe attack accordingly.

Get stuck into it – it’s a winner!

Please share some quick, simple and HEALTHY recipes that you LOVE!

 

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