DIY Cereal Mix

Our little man is a foodie. He loves his food, there are not many things that he doesn’t like. We are not sure whether it is all in the genes (we’re really into our food), or it was because we started him on “adult food” pretty young. We also gave him the opportunity to choose what he would like to have as often as possible. Most of the times, he chooses good healthy food, though obviously, just like any other 2 year olds, he’d ask for pizzas and “chippies” for breakfast too πŸ™‚

Img src: Woolworth’s Online

One of his favourite fun times is choosing his cereal at the grocery shop. His favourite of all cereals is the Uncle Toby’s Plus cereal “with blueberries!!!”. We have been getting these for a couple of months now, until I realised that we go through the box within a week or so (with Mr E’s help). At $4 a pop, weekly, it certainly does add up. We’re madly saving up for upcoming house renovations and holidays at the moment, so I am trying my best to get the best bang for our buck, without affecting our lifestyleΒ too much πŸ™‚

So here’s what I did recently:

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I made my own “Uncle Toby’s Plus Cereal” as what they really are, are just pre-mixed bits of cereal and dried fruit. Super easy and does not take all that much time for me to do πŸ™‚ I already had the dried fruit in the pantry, so our current “box” of cereal only cost us AUD1. If I had to buy the fruit, it would be about AUD2 max with lots and lots of fruit leftover. If I want to be even more cost-savvy, I could also buy Homebrand “Corn Flakes” and Homebrand dried fruit. However, I prefer Sunbeam dried fruit as they’re still nice and plump and juicy (and Australian grown too) πŸ™‚ There are some things I’d rather “splurge” on but the options are there.

Mr E said that it isn’t the same as the Uncle Toby’s cereal, but still yummy nevertheless. We are already half-way through my premix, so I think the boys really do like it πŸ™‚

What do you guys do to save up that is easy to do? Please share, I want new a bathroom pronto!

Cloth Nappies

Ever since Little E was born, I had been going to/fro-ing between disposable and cloth nappies. I won’t go into the pros/cons as there are many pages and forums discussing them. We had a trial one that we liked from Hippybottomus but as he had eczema which was mostly triggered by washing detergents, we decided not to go ahead with it. Without proper washing detergent, I found that the nappy didn’t get clean properly. Even with the help from the sun.

Now that Miss V seemed to be free of eczema (thank God!), I am seriously looking into cloth nappies again. I tried using it again the other day and I actually liked it. It isn’t any harder to use, and because I do the washing almost everyday, cleaning and drying the nappy was not a problem.

Little E is on his way to daytime toilet trained now, and we use disposable overnight. A dear friend of mine suggested that when his night disposable nappies are dry almost everyday, I can use the cloth nappy on him too! How smart are my friends?! πŸ™‚

Hippybottomus has a trial pack for AUD99 and you can actually email them to request which patterns you would like (most brands don’t allow this from my quick research online). I chosen unisex patterns/colours as I will put them on Little E at nap times as well.

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I received my order within a week, couriered straight to me. I washed them as soon as I got them at around 4pm. Though it was a cloudy day, the nappies dried before I needed them the next day. Hooray!

I asked for cloth nappies recommendation on Facebook, and from my friends who did recommend a particular brand that they’re happy with, Hippybottomus was what they recommended. Another friend said that Hippybottomus nappies are made in China and not Australian made (recommended by hardcore cloth nappies lovers). For me, as I am only starting (whose husband isn’t all for it), I didn’t want to spend the money for Australian made ones (they’re a little more expensive unfortunately). So Hippybottomus nappies were the obvious choice for me πŸ™‚

I am pretty excited about using them πŸ™‚

Disclaimer: As mentioned, Hippybottomus kindly sent me one nappy to try and I am affiliated with them πŸ™‚

Child friendly restaurant: The Austrian Australian Club

The Austrian Australian Club
Ph: 02 6286 5793
Heard St
Mawson ACT

I first went to the restaurant with my Mothers’ Group mums for our first dinner get-together sans kids. It was such an awesome night and I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion. I wasn’t sure whether the food was good because I had loads of fun or because the food really was good. I did remember that the chips were amazing though.

Anyway, hearty German/Austrian food is definitely up to Mr E’s alley so I had to take him there and reconfirmed its awesomeness And I did, a fortnight after πŸ˜‰ with Little E in tow, hungry and ready at the door at 6pm (their opening time).

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The decor is a little tired and could do with a bit of refreshment, but it did bring us back to the lovely restaurant we went to in Austria

I had the chicken schnitzel with chips, bread dumpling and pepper sauce on the first visit. On my second one, I ordered the pork schnitzel, again with the amazing chips and mixed vegies (had to order this because Little E was there and I wanted him to have vegies). Oh, and a side of gravy.

A little side note, am I the only mum who ordered healthier food when the little one is around, just so that he eats better too? That just by having him around is actually good for me? Heh.

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Yummy golden freshly deep fried chips...

I digress. Mr E ordered the lamb schnitzel with red cabbage, sauerkraut and an extra side of spetzels (which is noodley pasta thingies). The serving size is very generous, with us three sharing the two orders and we had more than enough. Little E would have eaten almost the entire serve of red cabbage, preferring it on top of everything else, so weird!

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Digging for red cabbage

Just as I remembered from the first visit, the chips were amazing. I would just go back again and again for it. I didn’t like the pepper sauce nor the gravy, but I thought the schnitzels were really yummy. As per the order of prices, the lamb was the best, with the pork coming last.

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The cake was moist and rich and was just delicious!

Though we were really full already, I couldn’t resist not getting dessert as I didn’t get any the first time I was there. We shared a black forrest cake with ice cream, Little E eating and scooping faster than I’ve seen him done before. We think he liked it lol

It took a little longer for our meals to arrive the first time I went, but I would imagine it was because there were 7 orders on our table. The second time around, our meals didn’t take long at all to arrive. I had the same waitress on both occasions and she was really friendly. She was patient with Little E, waiting for his response when she asked him if she could take his plate away. Which he didn’t give for almost a whole minute, out of shyness. When he finally did, she just laughed and didn’t seem to be rushed at all.

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Austrian and German beers are available

We were the first people there, but the place did fill up as the night progressed, mostly with families. The mum friend who suggested the place did tell us that we should book as they get pretty busy. I would recommend the same, most especially if you need a highchair as I could only see one available. Mr E said to me as we left that we’re definitely going back there for their other meals and I have to agree with him πŸ™‚

Child friendly restaurant: Baitong Laos & Thai Cuisine

Woo hoo! A long weekend! For my non-Aussie readers, we celebrate the Australia Day on Monday, making this weekend a 3-day weekend. Hooray!

Anyway, with some time on my hands, I thought I’d post about a restaurant we tried recently. One of the things I looked forward to the most about moving houses was the excuse of trying the “locals”. Be it a restaurant, a cafe, or a playground/park.

We chose Baitong as it is a Thai (and Laos) restaurant, and Thai is one of my inlaws’ favourite cuisine. I was a little worried when we first entered the place as it was rather empty. Being 6.30pm on a Saturday, I had expected a few more people. An empty restaurant on a Saturday night? Uh oh.

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Unbreakable dining set

As soon as our waitress saw we had Little E, she gave us a booster seat and a pile of kids dining set. What a nice touch πŸ™‚ After a whole day of painting (on Mr E and my inlaws’ part), we were starving, so we almost over-ordered.

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Crying Tiger Beef, Duck red curry with lychee, prawn salad and sticky rice

I would have to say that we liked every.single.dish we ordered. Oh, except for the weird steamed bamboo dish which was our attempt at having “vegetables”. My dad inlaw liked the restaurant so much, he said repeatedly that we definitely have to go back to try them again “just to be sure” πŸ˜‰ My favourite was the Crying Tiger beef. While, Little E’s was definitely the duck red curry with lychee. A few reviews suggested that portion size was on the smaller side, perhaps they were when the review was written but we definitely had enough. However, we did order a dish each plus some entree.

I am extremely pleased also that as we ate, the place started filling up. Even better, most of the patrons were Thais. At least, they spoke a language that sounded like Thai and the waitresses understood them. Yummy and authentic πŸ™‚

Just as we left, we eagerly took one of their takeaway menus. It is almost dangerous knowing that they do free delivery to our suburb πŸ˜‰

Baitong Laos & Thai Cuisine
Ph: 02 6287 7735
Shop 13, Cooleman Court Shopping Centre
Brierly Street
Weston Creek
Baitong Laos & Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

HealthIER Chocolate Fudge Brownies

If you can’t tell already, I am an emotional eater. When I feel down and sad, baking is my escape. I try to give away most of my baked goods, just so that we don’t eat them all ourselves. Last night, I tried a new recipe I found online and tweaked it to make it slightly healthier.

Healthier Chocolate Fudge Brownie

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Ingredients:
1 well mashed avocado
3 beaten eggs
1 cup of self raising flour (can use Gluten Free option)
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla essence
300g dark chocolate chips (can use Lactose free option)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar

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Method:
Preheat oven to 180C.

In a pot, heat coconut oil and chocolate chips until well combined, take off heat.

In batches, add flour, sugar, essence and baking powder, continue stirring the whole time.

Stir in avocado until well combined.

When mixture is cooled, stir in eggs.

Pour into baking tray then in the oven for 25 minutes.

Cool for 20 minutes before serving πŸ™‚

The original recipe uses almond meal, but I didn’t have any. You can’t taste the avocado at all, but it must add moisture in the brownie. I love having a piece of the brownie warm, Mr E said that when cold, it is more of a fudge texture πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

Fussy little eaters: Slow Cooked Sweet Soy Pork

I cooked this recently and gave a dear friend some to try. It is a dish that I grew up with, though we would have it with sausages and intestines instead πŸ˜‰ Mr E would never eat that so I used pork shoulder instead.Β My friend liked it so much that she asked for the recipe. Since I had to write it down for her, I thought I’d post it as well, in case you would like to try it out too πŸ™‚ My little one liked this dish as the meat is very tender.

Slow cooked Sweet Soy Pork

Ingredients:

  • 4 stalks of shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 6cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 600g pork shoulder, trim most fat
  • 4tbs kecap manis (Indo sweet soy sauce, you can get this at any supermarket now)
  • 2tbs soy sauce
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 1 long green chilli, chopped (optional)
  • Any vegetables you like, I added about 4 potatoes (halved)

Method:

  1. Pan fry garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add shallots and chilli until tender.
  2. Quickly brown the pork then add all the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Once all of the sauces are combined, put everything into a slow cooker for 6-8Β hours.
  4. Serve with rice, stir fried vegies and a dollop of sambal (Indo chilli paste)

You can use chicken or even tofu for this dish. When I’m feeling ultra extravagant, I also add in peeled boiled eggs into the slow cooker. The eggs will end up soaking the juices, making them sweet and spicy and eggy. It is definitely one of my comfort food dishes, I normally make this when only food can make me happy πŸ˜‰

Happy cooking (and eating)!

Ps. Let me know if you would like me to post the recipe on my Indo chilli paste. That one is definitely not child friendly! πŸ™‚