Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’m quite the fan of the mini muffin, I have to say. As far as muffins go anyway, as there is more crunchy crust to soft innards ratio, and I’m a crunchy crust kinda gal. Almost like Elaine, who wished there were only muffin tops on Seinfeld that time. “Top of the Muffin to ya!” and all that.

Feel free to make proper-sized muffins, this blueberry chocolate chip muffin recipe will be just as good. But if you’re in the mood for bite-size treats, then be my mini muffin guest!

Blueberry-Chocolate-Chip-muffin-with-coconut-sugar

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Does This Bother You?

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I posted this on Instagram a little while ago – someone asked me what I was doing, and I replied I was wondering if I should change this uneven picture situation, or if I should let it go.

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Roasted Veggie Pasta Bake

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There is something about this time of year, when I’m still half in school holiday-mode, where all ideas of meal plans and being organised in dinner-related dinner activities go flying out the window with all of my cares and most of my dreams.

This means I’m either scrabbling to find dinner out of whatever we happen to have in the cupboard, or I’ve forgotten about dinner until it’s dinner time. Which is where I drag out the pasta bake. Find sad veg, add to pasta, top with cheese, EAT WITH WINE.

Normally I’m even lazier and I just chop veg and throw it in the sauce, then throw the sauce on the pasta. Then throw the lot in the oven. This time I pre-roasted the veg which is only ever going to be a good thing – roasting really brings out their flavour. And if you’ve got half a container of black olives, throw them in too – the more flavour the better!

I usually cook one 500g packet of pasta to just before al dente (it will keep cooking in the oven) – I’ve been buying organic pasta in bulk lately so I’ve got PLENTY to go round. This time I roasted a bunch of asparagus (cut into pieces), a few mushrooms, a mixture of all the tomatoes I could find lying around, some onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic. All in the same pan, all with a generous pour of olive oil and plenty of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Mix that lot once cooked with a can or two of tomatoes or a jar of tomato passata, pinch of sugar, bit o’ basil and some more salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir the sauce through the pasta, top with excruciating amounts of a good, sharp cheese, and pop in the oven until all have had a change to mingle and perhaps even a couple of them make out in the corner.

Pour wine into a glass. Sit on the couch with a bowl of this in one hand, and your wine in the other. Enjoy.

 

Simple Muesli Muffins

Muesli-muffins

For some reason, I’ve found myself drowning in boxes of muesli. Muesli I don’t remember buying, because it’s untoasted, and I’m frightened of untoasted muesli.

After a while, I was sick of the boxes taking up space in my pantry and I decided to once and for all do SOMETHING WITH THEM FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY.

Clever people would toast their muesli, with some butter and maple syrup and a little extra cinnamon. I thought of it, really I did, but then I decided to pop them in muffin form and solve the problem of what should I do with all this muesli and what should I feed the children for morning tea.

They appear reasonably lunchbox-friendly too, if you buy the nut-free muesli. If not – well, they go excellently with a hot cup of tea.

You’re welcome.

 Adapted from here.

Simple Muesli Muffins

Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable
Website adapted from Best Recipes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups untoasted muesli
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.25 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Large apple, grated, skin on
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 Small grating fresh nutmeg
  • 1 Large egg

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 180C.
Step 2
Combine milk and muesli, stand for 10 minutes (the milk and muesli, not you).
Step 3
Add remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
Step 4
Pour into greased muffin tin and bake 20-25 minutes until cooked through and golden on top.

Win: My Favourite Organic Cosima Skincare Products {ended}

congrats Karina!

 

10815867_993068940707751_1696689926_nLovelies! If your face is in need of some TLC, then you’re in for a treat.

I’ve been using Cosima Organic Cosmeceuticals for more than two years now, and I couldn’t be happier. 100% natural, organic, manufactured in Australia, and the facebaby of an Queensland mum means I’m going to like it a LOT. And one of you will win all the products I love (although I love them all, these are the ones I use the most), which will make your skin feel like you were birthed yesterday.

The winner will recieve:

Pure Potent C Skin Illuminating Serum / $119

Polished to Perfection – Multi Active Exfoliating Powder with Coconut Milk / $59

Purely Radiant Elixir: Nourishing / $49

Age Delay Hand and Nail Cream / $35

Pure Radiance Rich Hydrating Creme / $65

Flawless Cream: Natural Botox Alternative / $89

 

Fun huh!

All you have to do is answer in the comment section below which of these items you think you need the most and why? One winner will be chosen next Thursday February 5 on the merit of their answer. Australian residents only. Winner will be contacted via email and will win one prize consisting of all products, total value: $416

Good luck! And a huge thank you to Angela, founder of Cosima Skincare, for being so rad and such a great supporter of this here blog.

 

How I Organise My Life

Like many people I’ve talked to, my life organisational skills are half pen-and-paper, half something-that-will-ding-on-my-phone-and-remind-me.

I love handwriting things so I can see it all at a glance (plus I’m a stationery fiend) but nothing on any bit of paper ever will remind me when it’s actually time to do something. Bless you, phone alerts. I’m not sure I could function without you.

Once upon a time I was at uni (and doing very well with paper schedules thankyouverymuch), and I read my usual Betty Crocker email that landed in my inbox that week. I think I signed up sometime in 2002 and I still get it to this day although the recipes are either very meaty or very from a processed box and I don’t eat either. Nostalgia? Who knows. Probably laziness.

To cut a long story short, in one of those emails was a link to Cozi – a new website with calendars for you to keep track of all your family’s schedules. I didn’t have a family, but I like that sort of shit, so I signed up. And never used it. Oh wait – I did use the shopping list feature. You could have one massive master list and then create a smaller list from that. It was super-handy.

When I did end up with a family, I logged back in and poked around and it has become the greatest thing that has kept me sane in the last four years. When they came out with an iPhone app, I just about cried.

Allow me to explain how the hell this has been so useful (and this isn’t sponsored, just very, very handy!). Cozi is free, but some of the features require a membership payment of $20 a year. Which I paid. Gladly.

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This is the home page – where you can see the day’s calendar, today’s to-do list, and the links along the sides for shopping lists, meal planning, and other to-do lists. I usually hang in the calendar section.

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I put every event I need to keep track of in Cozi as soon as I get it or I know I’ll forget. I have the app on my phone and iPad too, so there’s always something handy. You can choose which person the activity or event belongs to (the coloured dot) as well as blocking out time in 15-minute increments. You can opt to have yourself (and the person who’s activity or event it is) sent a reminder via email and/or phone. You can set up to three reminders if you’re a Gold member (hehe Goldmember), and Cozi will also send you an email Sunday night with the schedule for your week ahead.

You can also sync it with Google calendars, iCal, or other calendars you are a part of. You can also opt to have your country’s public holiday calendar added. Very clever!

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The list section is my second most-used section and it keeps track of everything, including a rough daily schedule. I assigned them all to me (the pink dot) but if there is a list of stuff I need Lunchbox to do, I’ll assign it to him. We have a family password and although he’s never logged in, he gets the email reminders and can access the list from wherever he needs to.

A while ago I had to come up with a game plan for daily life or nothing would get done. It was hairy for a while there and I was wasting what precious little time I did have. So now I have a Monday list, a Tuesday list, etc, to remind me what days I respond to email, what days I clean the bathroom, that sort of thing. It’s changeable and it sounds REALLY GOOD when you check something off your list. So productive. I put things on the list just so I can check it off and hear the little checked-off noise. So satisfying.

Each day I just uncheck the things that need doing and start again.

It’s super handy because I can have separate lists for separate jobs, all accessible in one place from all devices.

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 11.26.40 am

Super-handy feature number three (besides the birthday reminders which are awesome because I always forget everyone’s and I can also remind myself in advance/contact list where I can write every man and his dog and their address and birthday and kid’s birthday) is the dinner planner. You can write a meal a day and it shows up on your calendar so you know at a glance what you’re doing that day/week. It’s changeable so if you don’t feel like pasta that night (how could you) you can swap it for something else.

There’s also a place for you to keep your favourite recipes, or you can use the ones on the Cozi database. You can also allocate them to favourites lists and add notes.Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 11.27.13 am

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Et voila, a reminder every day what you’re having in case you have to defrost something, or have to get something from the shops. They even have another app called Dinner Decider, and it will plan you a week’s worth of meals without you having to do a thing. It will even print you a shopping list.

I don’t often use the journal function, nor the messages function because nobody reads it but me.

So there you have it – the mothership of VMHQ information, from whence all my organisation comes. I’ve used a few online organisational apps and this is the only one I really gelled with.

I’m curious though, what do you use? Something online? A trusty diary?