Tuesday, June 19, 2012

[in the kitchen] Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

This week I thought I'd get around to doing something other than a post from the kitchen after the last two posts... but while I have posts waiting to be written, they will demand more of my time than an easy peasy recipe complete with pictures of the yummy goodness... so... here again I have been in the kitchen filling the bellies of the BEs.

I had some lamb mince in the freezer that I'd bought on a whim when I saw it at Coles.  I had originally thought I'd have a go at making Lamb Koftas, but I googled Lamb Mince and came up with a recipe for Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Couscous and decided the Lamb Koftas could wait.

Over the years I have clipped many a meatball recipe, thinking that I'd give them a go but always shied away thinking there was too much work involved with the mixing, rolling, browning & all that jazz.  After my first attempt at this recipe I realised that this was not the case... I found this to be no more complicated than a bolognaise sauce & actually quicker, the cooking time is definitely faster.

As usual, I have tweaked the original, partly due to absence of ingredients in my fridge/pantry!

This one received a BIG Mr BE thumbs up and will be joining in on our 'usual rotation'.  We could not however convince Mini Man to actually taste this (as usual) but he did push it around the plate enthusiastically and enacted some rather dramatic 'fake' chomping actions with spoonfuls... maybe next time some will make it down the hatch?!  I live in hope!!

What's in it...


  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 small white onion, coarsely grated
  • salt & ground black pepper , to taste
  • 2 tbs vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2x 400g cans diced tomatoes
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 small lemon


  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1tbs finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tbs butter, softened

Put it all together...


  1. Combine the mince, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander , onion, salt & pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Roll the mixture into small balls, approximately the size of a walnut.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the meatballs, cook for 2-3 minutes or until browned.  Set aside to drain on paper towel.
  4. Remove the excess oil from the pan.  Add the garlic and cook briefly.
  5. Add the tomatoes, 1 tsp cumin, and salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  7. Return the meatballs to the pan, cover & cook for 4-5 minutes or until meatballs are cooked.
  8. Stir the lemon juice through the mixture & serve on the prepared couscous, with greens (we had broccoli, beans & wilted baby spinach) or other steamed vegetables of your choice.


  1. Place the couscous in a heat proof bowl.
  2. Add the cumin, lemon zest & chopped mint & combine.
  3. Pour boiling water over the couscous, mix with fork, cover & set aside to absorb.
  4. Once absorbed, stir with a fork to break up the grains, stir through the butter & season to taste with salt.


I was so busy cooking this one that I forgot to take any progress shots!

Monday, June 18, 2012

On being up past my bedtime... again... as usual

Mr BE is away for a few nights at a training course, in Brisbane - lucky him!

The boys are both in bed, sleeping like angels, have been since 7pm - bless them!

So I've been pottering about...
I tidied the kitchen, washed a load of nappies ready to hang out in the morning, had a shower, set a few things out ready to make breakfast without Mr BE's help a bit easier in the morning, had a cup of tea & some yummy fresh pawpaw and somewhere in between finishing that & now, I ended up here, at the computer first up I was sorting some internet banking & updating our financial spreadsheets then I moved on to reading a few blogs & checking out facebook.... and just now I was chatting with a lovely friend who is in a different timezone and it occurred to me that it was well... getting a little bit late... late enough to be past my bedtime... I stated as much to her and promptly bid her farewell to send myself to bed (which I clearly haven't done yet... since I'm here still writing about it).

But funnily enough, if I define my bedtime as the "time I go to bed", then going by averages on the usual "time I go to bed" one might actually say it's my bedtime right about now.

Ha ha!  Why is that? I certainly would cope better with more sleep than I get, yet every night Mr BE & I declare we shall be having an early night, only to find ourselves up past our bedtime... again?  Well tonight I'm doing the solo night owl... but I betchya if I rang him right now there's a fairly high chance he's still up too!!

On that note... I really must get to bed... Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

[in the kitchen] peanut butter squares

 Mini Man is a huge fan of peanut butter.  He loves it on toast every morning and will often have for his lunch sandwiches as well.  A while back we let him have a cheeky spoonful while we made his toast and created a MONSTER!!  Every time we get out the jar he now expects to eat it in much the same fashion one would normally consume yoghurt!!

I have mentioned before he's a big eater but a terribly fussy one when it comes to broadening the menu to incorporate new things.  I love to cook and it breaks my heart that so many of the meals I attempt to dish up to him get sent back to the kitchen!  We are still battling to get him to move on to proper evening meals... but that's a whole other post.  The point being, every so often I manage to get him to try something new & when I saw this recipe in a local parenting info magazine I thought I'd hazzard an attempt to make him a snack that incorporated one of his favourite flavours...

These were a massive hit, we are onto our third batch now, I think they'll stay on the menu for a while.  They are definitely a treat, but at least I know what's in them and we can have fun making them together.  I'm also thinking now that we have the base for this one we can start playing with different dry ingredients for a little variety.  But for now we'll stick to the following...

I cut this one out when I saw it, so I don't have original credit details to offer.

What's in it...
  • 4 tbs peanut butter
    original recipe called for crunchy, I only buy smooth & it worked fine
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup powedered milk
  • 2/3 cup dessicated coconut
  • 3/4 cup sesame seeds
 Put it all together...
  1. Line a 20cm slice tin with baking paper.
  2. Combine the peanut butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl & microwave on high for 50 seconds or until a smooth runny consistency.
    this can be done on the stovetop if prefered
  3. Add the remaining ingredients & mix well to combine.
  4. Turn the mixture out into the lined tray & press down.  Let it cool & refrigerate.
  5. When cooled cut into squares.  Best kept refrigerated.
The Visuals...
make it up
the finished product

Friday, June 1, 2012

[in the kitchen] Apple Tea Cake

Note: There's a novel before the recipe... if you just want to bake the cake... skip to the end!

So my Mini Man is something of a fussy eater... we're getting better but it's a slow progression.  Every morning he has 1x wheet bix with banana, yoghurt & sultanas, followed by 1 or 2 slices of toast with peanut butter or vegemite... he's a big eater, just a creature of habit - he's not up for trying new foods to readily.

I hear you ask... what on earth does this information have to do with Apple Tea Cake?  Trust me... there is a connection... there is a point... there usually is with most of my stories, just sometimes takes a journey to get to the point (it's the McGarry genes, I was born with this amazing ability, thanks Dad!)

So... here it is, the connection between Luka's breakfast & Apple Tea Cake...

One morning recently we had run out of bananas and had no other fruit in the house, except crunchy pink lady apples, which just wouldn't have cut it on cereal for "Captain Fussy-bum Toddler Pants"... I searched the pantry for the emergency can of pears or peaches that we normally stock in the BE Hive to find Queen BE (that's me) had neglected to restock after the last emergency use of these items... but I did find a can of pie apples and thought to self that these would cut it: they're sweet, they're soft, he'll LOVE it... fast forward to Luka sitting in his high chair ready to eat breakfast & you guessed it... pie apples REJECTED.

We moved on Mini Man was sufficiently fed breakfast less fruit and we merrily went about our day, we had Grandma (Mr BEs beautiful Mamma) visiting to keep me company and help with the boys while Mr BE was away for work, so there were lots of wonderful adventures to be had.

A little while later I was trying to think of the best way to use up those pie apples, waste not want not & all that.   I thought of doing a crumble but this would make a large desert that Grandma & I wouldn't get through... then I decided I could make a simple vanilla/butter cake & chuck the apples on top, ala, Apple Tea Cake!! This would be perfect, a cake doesn't need to be eaten in one sitting.

I don't have a lot of cakes in my baking repertoire, so I turned to the internet to find a basic recipe for inspiration, and this is the result...

(original recipe credit: bestrecipes.com.au Quick Apple Tea Cake)

What's in it...
  • 1 heaped cup SR flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1 can pie apples
  • nutmeg, sugar & cinnamon (to sprinkle on top)
Put it all together...
this part is SO easy... to me it feels just as easy as whipping up a packet mix cake, without all the additives that may be lurking in there.
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
    you could grease & flour, but I choose baking paper always to avoid ever sticking to the tin... I'm lazy like that, plus it is easier to get the apple covered cake out neatly!
  3. Place all ingredients in a bowl in the order stated.
  4. Mix well for 2 mins with an electric mixer.
    I have a cheap little hand mixer that can be a bit messy on start up, so I give the beaters a good stir by hand to wet down the flour etc before I turn them on, this helps avoid the big dust cloud of flour being thrown up.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin.
  6. Place the tin of pie apples evenly over the top of the batter.
  7. Sprinkle with nutmeg, cinnamon & sugar.
  8. Cook for 45mins or until skewer comes out clean & the top looks lightly golden.
This cake is great served warm from the oven with a little drizzle of cream (ooh wicked!) or simply cooled and cut up with a cuppa at morning tea.

It was a hit with Grandma, and we were both surprised it kept well for several days.


the steps
putting it together...
out of the oven
... out of the oven ...
on my plate
... on my plate... yummm!

Allergy Tips:
  • EGGS  The first time I made it this cake, I neglected to put the egg in (I blame the children distracting me, it's a good excuse & I'm sticking to it!!) and realised just as I had the whole shebang ready to pop in the oven... so I cooked it anyway & hoped for the best - it worked out fine, so if you don't have one or can't for allergy reasons, leave it out!  
  • GLUTEN  I have made this one Gluten Free, it works out well with a straight swap for GF SR flour.  I just found I needed to add a little more flour (less than 1/4 cup) to make the batter slightly thicker - test by beating up with standard measurements first & then add a little more if the batter seems too runny.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Introducing B4, aka Mylo

Yesterday, 23 March 2012 @ 6:32pm Mylo William (aka B4) officially joined the BE Hive!!

Today Mini Man met his little brother for the first time... after the initial confusion subsided curiosity took over... I think our boys are going to be great mates :)

My heart sings to think of all that is to come for our little family... Looking forward to lots of adventures ahead as they grow & play together. Daddy BE is going to be in his element racing around with our energetic little boys :)

My 3 boys!
Curiosity takes over :)
Just hours after birth, exhausted from a speedy exit!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

On humidity, moisture, rain & MOULD... "Rain, Rain Go Away!"

So the BE Hive is currently getting it's first real taste of tropical wet weather. After 3.5 years of living in the dry desert climate of Alice Springs, the rain... it's not so bad... it's the symptoms of the rain that have me, well, LOSING MY MIND!

I'm 38.5 weeks pregnant. So over the last 2 weeks I have been busily nesting & preparing for the imminent arrival of B4. This has involved cleaning, washing, folding, organising, sorting and setting up our 'nursery' space. I was feeling quite good about being relatively prepared for our new arrival.

For the past week or more we have been experiencing some pretty steady downpours. Our pool is overflowing, the gardens are overgrown, the grass is long, the yard looks like a swampland. There is moisture EVERYWHERE. Earlier in the week I noticed a little mould on a couple of things in the bottom of our walk in robe and made a note to purchase a few more of those 'damp rid' moisture absorber thingos, to help prevent further infestation. Well... I had a couple of outings & forgot to get them, until today, I finally remembered them today. I was feeling pretty good about getting that sorted!

I had also in the process of cleaning & sorting for B4's arrival, found a number of our baskets and other storage bits had become covered with mould. I'd dealt with these, treating them with 'oil of clove' to kill the mould spores and cleaning them.

This afternoon after successfully stocking up on 'damp rid' thingos, I decided we should get them in place doing their job in the walk in robe. Upon taking a closer inspection of the clothes in the robe, shoes at the bottom and a few other items in our room I found that the small amount of mould had now multiplied into a ridiculous infestation. Too late with the 'damp rid' thingos :(

Almost EVERYTHING in our walk in robe had some amount of mould growing on it. Then on further investigation of the rest of our room I found mould EVERYWHERE: on hats hanging on hooks on the bedroom door, on my nappy bad also hung on the door, on suitcases stored in another robe in the room... then I looked in the 'sunroom' beside the robe, which is going to be our 'nursery' space for the first few months and I found the bassinet starting to grow mould, the recliner growing mould, the baskets with baby clothes in them growing mould... pretty much mould everywhere. All. My. Hard. Work. WASTED. Then I looked further through the house & found the car seat I washed last week also covered in mould. Mould growing on the fabric of our dining chairs. The baskets I'd treated last week growing new mould. Pretty much mould growing on almost everything in every corner of the house.

How did I react? Tears. Lots of tears. I blame hormones (100%).

Did the tears help? A little, but now I think there's mould growing on the moisture in my eyelashes!

So, a good portion of the afternoon spent cleaning. Lots more cleaning to do tomorrow. Thankfully Mr BE is a good helper/doer of things that need to get done. With teamwork we should get this mould issue under control before B4 arrives... I'm just a little concerned that the forecast isn't going to help much with the drying of stuff that can't be put in the dryer... please "Rain, Rain, Go AWAY"!!!

iPhone PWAU Lite... I seriously don't like what you have to say!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

[in the kitchen] Banana Cake

This Banana Cake is quick & easy, a great way to use up any bananas that have passed their prime.

My original recipe inspiration comes from a fantastic Family Circle Kids' Cookbook I was given for Xmas when I was around 13. A lot of my baking & desserts originate from this book, because they are quick & easy to make AND they are simple but delicious tastes... but with most of them I've "pimped" them to suit my tastes, or more adult flavours or just because I like messing around with recipes to see what I can concoct!

What's in it...
  • 100g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup SR white flour*
  • 1 cup SR wholemeal flour*
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sultanas (optional)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed

    *note: I have successfully substituted gluten free flour in this recipe, it still works fabulously
Put it together...
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Grease & flour a small loaf tin, or line with baking paper.
  3. Melt the butter in microwave safe mixing bowl.
  4. Add sugar, vanilla & egg, beating well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  5. Sift in flours, don't stir yet.
  6. Add milk, mashed banana & sultanas, stir until just combined.
  7. Spread evenly in tin & bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through & golden on top.

The visuals...
Steps 1 to 6
Step 7
I have adapted this from the original recipe over the years, mainly adding sultanas or other fruit/nuts, reducing the sugar by 1/2, and substituting 1/2 the flour for wholemeal. Sometimes I will use honey instead of sugar, depending on my mood - the amount of honey I use also depends on my mood & whether I have added sultanas (which increase the sweetness).
I have also recently become a fan of baking cakes in loaf tins, it makes cutting up & storing slices a lot easier than round tins.  It's also a lot easier to cut a 'small slither' than it is to cut a small wedge.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

MayBE BayBE Today, Tomorrow, Next Week? Soon, Definitely Soon...!

Today B4 is 38 weeks plus 1 day...

I remember being at the same stage of my pregnancy with Mini Man.  I had myself convinced he would come early.  In preparation I had finished work 4 weeks before my due date.  After 2 weeks off work I was happily taking in some 'free' time after having set up the nursery and done most other bits & pieces one tries to achieve before the life altering arrival of your first born.  Then I waited... and I waited... and I waited and Mini Man stayed put!!  Eventually arriving 11 days after his ETA, having had to be induced.

Now that we're at the 38 weeks mark second time round I just don't know what to expect.  Everyone has a theory, apparently 2nd/subsequent babies come earlier.  Furthermore according to several people I've spoken to in the last week I'm either still carrying high or I'm now carrying low?  It should be noted that these 'experts' are either people I have not seen or met prior to that statement being made or people I've barely spent time with during my pregnancy and are not members of the medical profession specialising in anything to do with pregnancy or babies!  I do know this much, labor will start when baby is good and ready, or when B4 is over baked enough that the 'establishment' decide it's time to entice baby out...

I've been experiencing braxton hicks for the past week or so.  I am definitely experiencing them with greater intensity the past few days.  Each time I feel one, I wonder if the real thing is about to kick in.  I know when they aren't the 'real deal' my memory of my first labor is still there... but at the same time you still question, is this it, is it starting?

Up until a few days ago the braxton hicks were TERRIFYING me.... I was quite happy for B4 to stay snug in the womb.  I was feeling anxious about coping with the changing dynamic in the BE Hive.  I was feeling worried for Mini Man and how he is going to cope with the 'competition' for our attention and how we were going to manage that, making the transition as easy on him as we can.  I was feeling fears for how Mr BE and I would navigate our days with sleep deprivation (the memory of newborn days with Mini Man are vivid!) and the demands of not one but TWO little people who will be relying on us for their everything.  I was worried for Mr BE and how he'll cope after his paternity leave is up & he has to return to the office somehow manage to productively get through each day in a demanding job.  I was worried for myself on how I'll cope when he's not home to help all day!  And I was worried for how our relationship will be affected by even less time to give to each other.

Now?  Well now, I can't wait to meet this new little person we have made.  I know that we already love B4 unconditionally and that our hearts have room for both Mini Man and B4.  We are not the first couple to have a second child, it can be done, many have done this before us and survived.  But it is the first time we've had a second child, so it's both scary and exciting all at once.  I know my fears are natural and I know that we will be OK, we will do the very best we can for B4 and Mini Man.  They will both know they are loved and wanted.  My fears will drive me to the best I can.

I also know that Mr BE & I will do the very best we can for each other.  I know that, because it's what we always do.  Mr BE is my rock, as I've said before, without him I wouldn't be on this motherhood journey, I am on this journey because I chose to do it with him, you can read more about that here.  I know that each day I watch him with Mini Man and have him by my side and somehow I love him a little more than I did yesterday or maybe it is just that each day I am reminded that I love him and why.

So, come on out B4... we're ready*.  The BE Hive needs it's fourth.  Your clothes are washed & folded.  Your nappies are stocked.   Your room is ready.  Your bed is made.  Your brother is excited to meet you... although to be honest, he may not yet have fully grasped the reality of all this baby talk, but he will & he's going to love you SO MUCH.  Mummy & Daddy can't wait to see you, to hold your little hands, to touch your little feet, to stare at your little face and to get to know you.

And of course we can't wait for the answer: Are you Mini Man's little brother or are you his little sister?

*Although, it would be awesome if you could refrain from making your grand entrance in the wee hours of the night... since the BE Hive is so far from family, it's friends we will be relying on to look after your brother, AND it'd be super if we didn't have to A) call & wake them AND B) wake him and drop him to them confused & unsettled in the middle of the night.... ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

[in the kitchen] Roasted Sweet Potato, Pumpkin & Feta Quiche

As I have said previously, I do love to cook. I enjoy both making meals and baking. Recently I discovered just how easy quiche is - for some reason I had not ever made an 'authentic' quiche, only savoury impossible pie (which is also good of course, but that's another post!).

A few weeks ago I wanted to make a light meal that used up the contents of our crisper and also used a some feta that I'd bought and managed not to use for it's 'intended' purpose. I also had some cream that had been purchased for another use that hadn't eventuated. After a quick google to find the basics for a quiche filling, a check of the freezer to confirm there was some shortcrust pastry laying in waiting and confirmation of sufficient supply of eggs I had whipped up: Roasted Sweet Potato, Pumpkin & Feta Quiche for a scrumptious Sunday dinner. It came out of the oven looking pretty special... and the first bite was bliss... one of those smug cooking moments where you just can't believe how delicious this 'invention' of yours is! Backed up by approval from the belly of B2, it was a hit!

Since that maiden quiche adventure we have now enjoyed many quiche meals over the past few weeks... deciding it will remain a regular fixture for enjoying with a salad on these hot summer nights. The leftovers are also fabulous for lunches either cold or reheated, so this one's a winner in our book.

What's in it...
  • 100g sweet potato, cubed
  • 100g pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 1/2 sheets shortcrust pastry
  • 3 eggs
  • 250mL (1 cup) milk
  • 330mL cream
  • 2/3 cup (50g) grated cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 50g feta, cubed
Put it together...
  1. Preheat oven 220C
  2. Place cubed sweet potato & pumpkin on a tray & roast in the oven for approx 25 minutes.
  3. Grease pie dish and line with shortcrust pastry & 'blind bake' for approx 15 minutes - while vegetables are roasting.
  4. Spread the roasted vegetables & feta over the shortcrust base & sprinkle with grated cheese & chives/shallots.
  5. Whisk the eggs, add the milk, cream nutmeg & salt & pepper to taste & whisk until mixed.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the filling in the shortcrust base.
  7. Place in the oven & bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  8. Remove from oven & allow to cool slightly
    On first removing from oven the filling will be high in the base, the egg mixture will 'settle' back down into the base after a few minutes.
  9. Serve with a fresh salad... YUM :)
Steps 1 - 3

Steps 4 - 8
  • I try to roast extra vegetables to freeze/store for our next quiche or for tossing over a salad later, saves a bit of time for the next meal
    AND saves energy as you don't need to turn the oven on for as long next time ;)
  • Use alternative fillings (eg. whatever you have lurking in the fridge) with the same egg mixture ratio to make any variation of quiche!
  • I keep a supply of long life cream & milk tetra packs (available in the 'grocery milk' aisle of the supermarket) in our pantry to use for quiche when I don't happen to have the fresh dairy in the fridge.

Friday, March 2, 2012

On Father Son Relations...

Mini Man has the best Daddy in the whole wide world.

My {heart} lives here.

My son & his Daddy have an amazing bond.  From the first days in the hospital with Mini Man I have been in awe of of Daddy BE.  Watching him with our son while we where both overwhelmed with the emotions of welcoming our little guy into the world (and I was overloaded with the happy love hormones coursing through my veins) confirmed what I already knew, he was going to be the best Daddy in the Whole. Wide. World.

Now of course, he's not perfect, no one is.  He stumbles sometimes, doesn't get all the stuff right.  Is hopeless at things like: packing appropriate lunch for an outing; remembering all the right things to pack into a bag for an outing; putting singlets on the right way round.. the really super important sort of stuff that generally ends up the expertise of Mummies.  But all of that aside: he is heavily involved in the daily routine and what Daddy brings to the table is so much more important than matching outfits!

Breakfast is Father Son time, while Mummy gets to sleep an extra 30mins, or sometimes more... I am spoilt!  Every morning Mini Man 'helps' Daddy reverse the car out before he heads to work.  All day I answer questions about 'where Daddy gone?' and am repeatedly confirming that yes, 'Daddy gone work'... and as the day draws to a close  I am constantly asked 'when Daddy home?'... it is incredibly cute and it makes my heart sing to know that he loves his Daddy so :)

When Mini Man hears the garage door open, his face lights up with delight, coupled with a squeal of 'DADDY' and a run at high speed to the front door where he waits (im)patiently until Mummy says it's ok to run to the carport (after Daddy has stopped the car).  Regardless of the time of day, Mini Man gets a period of uninterrupted time with Daddy from the minute that car door opens.  They will take the dog for a walk, have a ride on the scooter, take the trike out for a spin, have a swim in the pool or go and look for 'shishies' (aka, fishies) in the creek behind our house... Time permitting, there is often a combination of these.

Last weekend Daddy BE & Mini Man had an expedition to the local tackle shop to buy a fishing rod and several attempts over the weekend to land the big one went unsuccessful, much to Daddy BE's dismay.  They tried the beaches and had a go down at the small creek behind the house.  Tonight... SUCCESS... they caught their very first fish!  Daddy BE took Mini Man down to the creek for a Friday evening adventure as soon as he arrived home.  It was a joy to see the smile on Mini Man's face as they came home & hear the garbled story in toddler speak of the one that didn't get away.

Ok, so Mini Man is a little short on smiles here... but when telling the story there were definite smiles!
I think seeing his first live fish on a hook was a little confronting ;)
Mini Man gets so much from this time with Daddy, but I know too that Daddy BE revels in the simplicity of this time with his son after a hard slog at the office... and besides who doesn't feel great basking in the glow such adoration!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On Finding the Rhythm of Posting

I have so much I want to write about, to record and to share. I've got a big list of posts I've started to be tweaked & finished, I just need to figure out which ones to work on first!

I am also mulling over how much I want to share and what is appropriate to write... it's a tricky business, but I think for now my benchmark for deciding will be to ask 'would I be happy if my Nanna read/knew this'!!

I do feel like I'm starting this blogging thing quite slowly and am really keen to find a rhythm of regular posting... I think I'm in this place because I leapt out of the gates with my first few posts but hadn't thought beyond that as to how I wanted to keep the blog posts rolling out!

I'm also keenly aware that the looming arrival of B4 will impact on my time available for me to play with posts... however this will be compensated with much material for new and interesting posts on the topic of growing the BE Hive and adjusting to the new dynamic of BE x4!!

So for now, if you've joined me here, welcome and thanks for your patience as I warm up & find my footing... hopefully you'll enjoy the posts as they start rolling out with more frequency :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[in the kitchen] Baked Moroccan Chicken & Rice

This dish is a firm favourite on the regular rotation for the BE Hive. It came to us by a chance sighting on taste.com.au, and over time I have tweaked it into something a little different and perfected it to our preferences.

It works well for us to provide left overs for lunches the following day. It also freezes well to store a meal for those days that there are no left overs from the previous night for Mr BE to take to work. It is also a great dish to prepare when having guests over, it's easy to prepare, doesn't necessarily look too flash on the plate but the flavours are always a hit.

What's in it...
  • 1 cup basmatti rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 green capsicum, diced
  • 2 med tomatoes, diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 500g chicken thighs, 2cm slices
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons moroccan seasoning
  • 1 generous teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
The original recipe included peas in the vegetable layer - the BEs hate peas... so I omit those... I have done versions that included beans, carrots & snow peas in the vegetable layer, this is handy for meals where you just want to serve the whole thing from one dish and forgo the steaming of veggies on the side.

Put it together...
  1. Preheat oven to 220C.
  2. Spread basmatti rice evenly in the base of a baking dish.
  3. Spread diced onion, capsicum & tomatoes over the rice.
  4. Combine the lemon juice & chicken stock, pour over the rice/vegetable mixture.
  5. Combine the apricot jam, moroccan seasoning, garlic & olive oil in a bowl to make a glaze.
  6. Coat the chicken strips with the glaze and lay on top of the rice/vegetable mixture in the baking dish. Spread any remaining glaze mixture on top of the chicken.
  7. Place in the oven, uncovered for 35-40 mins or until chicken is cooked & rice has absorbed the liquid. Serve with steamed vegetables.

Putting it all together
Out of the oven & onto my plate... Mmmm

Monday, February 13, 2012

On Living A Dream... one you didn't know you dreamt

Most of the time I am in awe of where I am now.  I say "most" only because it would be dishonest to say everything is always perfect, but definitely most days are, and I guess every day has it's moments that can be put in that "perfect" category.

I was the girl who swore black & blue that she was never, NEVER, EVER having babies.  Seriously... you can ask my Mamma, she will concur that I swore it would never happen, it was not on my agenda, no way, YUCK... just not happening.  Mind you probably quite a good thing to be feeling this way at 15, no?!

By my mid 20's not only was I still swearing off babies, I was also the girl who swore she was never, NEVER, EVER getting married.  Seriously, you ask my Mamma, again she will concur!  Also my girlfriend's can also back this one up... A couple of unhappy relationships had landed me in a steadfast mindset that I didn't need nor want a man in my life.  It is my belief that although those unhappy relationships had ended as the result of negative things my exes had done, I needed to get over the fact that I had enabled them to treat me that way, I needed to get over myself, not them.

So began a period of self imposed 'singledom', a choice to give myself time to be me and to heal the wounds I'd allowed myself to be inflicted.  It was a good time, also a bad time, but an interesting chapter in my life.  Definitely a period of forging some fantastic friendships with solid gold girls who I will always hold dear (you know who you are girls).

Then somewhere along the way, as my late 20's were approaching, my mindset began to shift to a state of feeling that it might not be so bad to have a man in my life.  Nothing so serious as marriage of course, but a date or two, maybe a boyfriend, maybe that would be ok?  Not a necessity, not a NEED, but something that would be alright if it happened upon my path.

Sometime after that change of heart I found myself falling... into a whole new world.  One were I had a few dates, then a little while later person with whom said dates occurred became defined as my 'boyfriend'.  Within 12 months of that first date we were engaged, packing up our separate lives & heading from Brisbane to Alice Springs on an "adventure" together.  Less than 12 months after that there was a big fat wedding... where I wore the dress I never thought I'd wear... seriously, I tried that one on for a laugh thinking it would be a hoot to see myself all 'toilet roll dolly' style - next thing I new I HAD TO HAVE THAT DRESS!  It was a whirlwind, but there was no point in the whirling that I felt like I needed to get off the ride... it just felt right in a way I can't describe in words.

Fast forward a little over 3 years on from that day, I am a wife, and Mamma to one cheeky little Mini Man (22 months) and we are 6 weeks out from Mini Man becoming a big brother.

There have been so many fantastic experiences in the last 5 years and I know there a many more adventures to come.  I can't imagine my life any other way now.  I really have met my soul mate.

It's a dream come true.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

[in the kitchen] Madras Curry

I love to cook.  I get a great deal of pleasure out of filling the bellies of the BEs (including my own - I love to eat) with tasty, wholesome goodness!  I also love to share meals with friends and family.  I love to share recipes and to try new ones.  In light of these things, many of my posts will revolve around my kitchen...

I discovered this recipe a few years ago, after previously having only prepared curry using prepackaged sauces or curry pastes, I was delighted to discover not only just how easy it was to prepare the paste from the raw' spices, but also how exceptionally tasty it is!  I recommend giving it a go, it really isn't that much work...

Ever since the first time we had this Madras Curry it has remained a favourite on our 'regular rotation'.  The original recipe was made using beef, but in recent discussions with B2 (whilst eating a beef version) it was revealed that he wasn't a huge fan of the beef... so I decided to have a got at lamb instead... I think this will be a regular substitution, it was delish :)

(original recipe credit: Taste.com.au Madras Beef Curry)

What's in it...
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil (approx)
  • 1kg diced lamb
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • steamed basmati rice,  steamed vegetables & poppadoms to serve
Put it together...
  1. Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, chilli, garlic, ginger & lemon juice in a bowl to form a paste, set aside.
  2. Heat oil in saucepan over high heat.  Add half the lamb.  Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned.  Transfer to a bowl.  Repeat with remaining lamb.
  3. Reduce heat to medium.  Add spice paste.  Cook for 1 minute, to release the aroma of the spices.  Return lamb to saucepan.  Cook, stirring, until meat is coated with paste.  Add tomato paste & stock.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover.  Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until meat is tender.
  4. Remove lid.  Cook, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes, or until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.  Serve with rice, vegetables & poppadoms.
Step 1
Steps 2 & 3
Step 4

Friday, February 3, 2012

First Contact from the BE Hive

So, here I type.  I've been contemplating blogging for a long time now.  I have spent a little time here and there playing with ideas and considering names, content and all that jazz.  I've had a few people suggest I might just be good at it (time shall tell!).  I am definitely addicted to reading blogs, they are my alternative to glossy magazines, I love that the 'articles' I read while stealing a moment with a cuppa come from real people on real issues that speak to me and my own experiences in this life.

I am also admittedly addicted to Facebook.  I manage to convincingly (even if the only person convinced is me) pass my Facebook use off as a necessary tool in maintaining contact with friends and family who live far far away, especially my Mamma who revels in this modern tool for seeing regular updates of her grandchildren.  (Welcome Mamma, maybe you'll be my only follower?! xx )

My husband says I am a social media addict... so... hey... why not let him be right and up the ante with a little blog posting as well!

What is the BE Hive?  It is my world, my little family, my everything.  It travels with us wherever we go, it is not the 4 walls we live in but the bonds that tie us together: Me (Queen BE, Mrs BE, Mummy BE, B1), my Spunky Husband (Mr BE, Daddy BE, B2), our Mini Man (Dudie, B3) and The Bump (B4) who is due to join us all on the outside in T-8wks (27th March).

What will I blog about?  Life, my life, the big, the little, the everyday things.

This will be a safe place that I can tell the everyday stories from the BE Hive and share them with my family and friends... and maybe a few new friends will drop in along the way...