Cookies!

We are big cookie fans in our house, they are my absolute favourite homemade treat as well as Reece’s most requested lunch box snack. I usually make up double batches of everything and then freeze them so there’s always some on hand. Reece actually loves eating them frozen, and I love warming them up so the chocolate goes all melty (because chocolate is pretty much mandatory in any cookie for me).

My dad is a huge Anzac biscuit fan and for many years they’ve been his Father’s Day present from me or my sister. He doesn’t want or need much else, but a big batch of homemade Anzacs always makes him feel  loved.

So in honour of Father’s day this weekend, I thought I’d share two of our favourite cookie (or biscuit) recipes here.

The first are I think the best cookies I’ve ever had the joy of eating – 5 ingredient peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from one of my favourite food blogs, Pinch of Yum (See recipe on their site here). The cookie dough is grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free but you’d never even know it. The peanut butter gives them the most amazing soft and gooey texture, something you’d expect from a cookie with a lot of butter. So here they are, with some photos of a batch I made, fresh out of the oven.

5 Ingredient peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups coconut sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt (totally doesn’t count as one of the 5 ingredients)

1 & 1/4 cups natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 cup chocolate chips (or chunks of dark chocolate – I use 70% or over so the cookies are still dairy free).

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the coconut sugar and eggs and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in the vanilla and salt.

Add the peanut butter and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. It will start to become very thick. Add the chocolate and stir until evenly spread through the batter.

Bake for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are just golden at the edges.  Let the cookies rest on the hot baking tray for 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

These cookies keep well at room temperature for about 4 days, and freeze well for up to 3 months.

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Now for the Anzacs. This recipe is one I’ve been using since I was a kid from the Women’s Weekly cookbook that my mum has had in her cupboard since the dawn of time. I don’t eat these kind of biscuits anymore because they have a few ingredients that I try to avoid. But I still make them often for my family and can guarantee by how quickly they get eaten that this recipe is a winner.

Anzac Biscuits

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup plain flour

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

125 g butter, chopped

2 tbsp golden syrup

1 & 1/2 tbsp water

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Method:

Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper

Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.

Place butter, syrup and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in bicarbonate of soda. Then stir this mixture into dry ingredients until well incorporated.

Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place 5cm apart on trays and flatten slightly. (They will expand quite a bit.) Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, cool on trays.

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Whether you want to try one of these recipes out as a Father’s day gift or just to eat yourself, I hope they are enjoyed! And a big Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful men in our lives. xx

May June 2018

Well hello! Here I am again to update you on our past couple of months, and they have been interesting ones…

First of all (let’s get the nasty stuff out of the way) Reece, Archer & I have been walloped with what’s felt like about 10 bouts of various sicknesses.
Anyone else had that this winter? So horrible! The hardest part was seeing Arch so miserable and really not himself for somewhere in the vicinity of 4-5 weeks.
That had me really down at some points because it seemed like every time he was almost well, he’d get hit with something else, and I felt like we’d never see the end of it.
Not to mention toddlers are significantly more whiney, cranky and difficult when they are not feeling well. My heart absolutely went out to him. But I was in much need of a holiday some days.
One of my sicknesses also came in the form of the morning kind… if you catch my drift.
We are expecting our second little babe to arrive early next year.
We found out in May and I have made my way through the draining first trimester and am now around 16 weeks. We are so looking forward to meeting this little one and having our family and our hearts expand all the more.
I am really thankful that I haven’t been overly sick with either of my pregnancies. I’ve been pretty queasy at times but food has always helped to settle my stomach so I just make sure I have food on hand wherever I go (which is kind of my dream come true).
The tiredness though, I don’t think you can get away with not feeling that. I am in bed (or passed out on the couch) before 9’o clock most nights.
The question we are getting asked the most with this pregnancy (or should I say the number one question asked of anyone who has ever been pregnant since the invention of the ultrasound) is “are you going to find out what you’re having?” And the answer is…. YES. I can be happily patient with a lot of things if needed, but for us personally, we don’t see much point in waiting for this. Meeting and getting used to a new baby is surprise enough on it’s own for us. We’ll find out if it’s a boy or a girl in a few weeks and we won’t be keeping it a secret.
Bit by bit, Arch seems to be getting his head around the idea of a baby joining our family.
We have been showing him a lot of photos and videos of him when he was a baby which he thinks are hilarious. And he seems to be grasping the concept that we all start out pretty small and just keep getting bigger, or “big and big” as he says. Context: “Look mum, now I am big and big!”
My growing belly is making things a bit more real for him now that he can see something is happening there. He likes to say hello to the baby, tell it he’s it’s big brother and give it kisses and high fives. (High five for the baby = slap on the stomach for me. Great.)
Arch has also recently started going to a family day care, which he loved, and then really didn’t like (during that nasty, never-ending sickness phase) and now loves again (yesss).
It’s so great to see him making friends and learning lots of new things. Equally as great is the time it affords me to do things like grocery shop in peace and be a tired pregnant lady. Win. Win. Win.
Oh and I mentioned I needed a holiday above. Well it’s happening. Reece and I are being
sensible, house-saving, budgeting grown ups most of the time. But around the time we found out we were having another babe, we decided a tropical-baby-moon getaway was definitely something we needed before plunging into parenthood round two. Regardless of the budget.
Maybe it’s like this for everyone, but we’ve felt like it’s taken such a big toll on our marriage- just figuring out how to be parents and how to manage our time and priorities so that we still have a healthy relationship. Things we once took for granted like having a proper uninterrupted conversation and going out for dinner are now so precious and rare! So holiday time it is, in less than two weeks. Arch will be staying with both our parents while we’re away and we’ll miss him like crazy, but we know the quality time together will be so worth it.
It’s wayyyyy past my bed time guys, so I’m signing off and hoping you enjoy these images below from our wonderful May and June. Thanks for stopping by xx

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March April 2017

Autumn! I think our time in Christchurch has left me loving and appreciating this season more than I ever have before. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually hanging out for the cool change of winter, and even missing those frosty, misty, Canterbury mornings (although I’m sure they are a lot more romantic in my memory than the cruel, hard reality of scraping the ice off your windshield before you leave for work…)

Our last couple of months have held lots of magic little moments… and plenty food that was apparently special enough to be photographed!

Below you’ll see, amongst other things, Arch jamming on the xylophone at our local farmer’s market, a late afternoon at our new favourite swimming spot, a night sky – shot by my little brother, great job Davey 😉 A weekend away with my Reece – so needed and so good for the soul. And a morning the Currumbin Eco Village. This was a special day… no agendas, just hanging out with our boy and taking his lead on what interested him the most.

You’ll notice a few photos of me in this post. Sometimes Reece likes to turn the camera on me which I think is a good thing… if he didn’t, we’d have a lifetime of family memories recorded without me in them. In a couple I look a bit more put together which is great, & in a couple of others… not so much. But the latter are the photos that matter to me more. A full heart, playing with my boys & appreciating the simple things in life. I don’t want my appearance to matter to me so much that it keeps me from loving a photo of me at my happiest, or my realest. I still see imperfections in each one of these photos, but I don’t want to be about perfection. I really don’t.

As time goes on, I want to see less photos of me where I’ve got my makeup & hair sorted (this is a rarity anyway) and the lighting and the angle are just right..
and more photos where I’m being kind, filled with joy, and loving people. That’s worth so much more to me than a split second of appearing perfect…

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January February 2018

Here’s a little bit of what the rest of our summer looked like… feat. my sister’s bridal shower/picnic (special mention to the incredibly delicious grazing table and ever jaw-dropping Christchurch scenery. And! my now married sister!), Byron farmer’s market, an Archer Dylan visits Bangalow photographic essay, multiple trips to the ocean, a real classy family photo. And a wallaby. All in all I think it’s safe to say we had a great couple of months. Hope you did too! x104105106107108109110111112113114115116118119120121122123124125126127128129130131132134135136137138139140141142143145

November December 2017

Although every season has it’s wonderful and not as wonderful bits, summer is generally our favourite… lots of time at the beach and outdoors in general, celebrating Christmas with the ones we love most, the best fresh mangoes, stone fruit and berries, (to name a few) and time off work to just be a family and enjoy eachother. It’s good for the soul and comes just when you need it the most. Here’s what parts of some of our days looked like… (And can we just pretend November is summer because it felt like summer to me!)12345678910111213141516171820212223252627282930313233343536373839404142434445464748

September October 2017

So this page has really turned into a bi-monthly highlight reel…. which is fine by me, I like a bit of order in my life! And it takes me that long to get around to posting anything with this busy little two year old around. (I don’t need to re-iterate the word ‘highlight’ do I? This is just the fun, semi-photogenic stuff. There’s so much mess and lots of tears behind the scenes that doesn’t get posted. But generally, life is GOOD, so let’s celebrate that!)

So here are our September/October highlights, feat. lots of Arch running around in his little palm tree swimmers, roaming the garden, and his 2nd birthday! It was a bittersweet thing having that day come around in what felt like a blink. But we are so proud of our boy and loved celebrating him reaching this milestone. Reece are pretty minimal in our approach to many aspects of our lives, so although we had a party for Arch, it was very low-key with a family backyard barbecue, home made cake and pretty much no decorations.

We totally went overboard with the presents though. With all the families gifts’ combined it was too much to give him in one day. We’ve learned from this though and will be way more minimal in future. Kids love the simple things in life! And to be honest, our morning out at the beach before the gifts and festivities was probably his most favourite part of the day. Oh and his cake… this boy is a BIG cake fan. It was one of his earliest words and he has been very passionate about it ever since!

Anyway, so we are applying the ‘less is more’ philosophy to gifts this Christmas… we have bought Arch ONE toy, a couple of books and a few items of clothing that he needed. We are trying to be more sustainably minded with our purchases, buying less in general, and more of things we know will get used time and time again until they’re worn out, or that will last to be passed on to someone else. (it’s totally a work in progress though!) Because we have waaaayyyyy too much stuff in this world! Something I could go on about but I will leave it at that for now, because IT’S CHRISTMAS! And you didn’t come here to hear me rant about consumerism, so MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Wishing you and yours a Christmas season filled with peace and joy, and THE BEST New year yet! xx104105106107108109110111112113114115116117118119120121122123124125126127128129130131132133

July August 2017

So it’s October apparently! And when I look through these photos, July & August already feel like a long time ago. Arch still had his little baby face then, but it has disappeared in the last two months and now we’re parents to someone who looks very much like a little boy.

It has been a challenging few months in some ways. I know it may not look like it, with all the photos of smiley faces and trips to the beach, but I feel like I’m still figuring a lot out when it comes to parenting. And to doing life well.
A constant lesson for me at the moment is learning to slow down and enjoy life, rather than thinking about what needs to get done and what I need to plan for ahead. When you are so used to busyness and the satisfaction of getting things ticked off the to-do list, sometimes stopping and playing with a two year old isn’t the most stimulating way to spend your time. I never imagined I would feel that way as a mum and it’s not something I’m super proud of. But I’m on the journey of letting go of my agendas more often to enjoy his, and finding that there is real joy in that when I am wholehearted and present.
This is something I actually have to make a conscious effort to change on a daily basis. Because it’s so easy to get caught up in stress and not see your way out of it. So now, if I feel I’m getting caught up and tense, or a bit snappy at Arch because he’s disrupting what I’m trying to get done, I try to remember that he is the most important part of my day, and stuff will get done, even if not right now. Of course, I still take the stress train way too far sometimes! Ha! but I’m ok with that because it’s a process and I know getting upset about my mistakes isn’t going to do Arch or I any favours.
This is such a special time and I don’t want to spend it constantly distracted or look back on it when our boy has left home and wish I had paid more attention. When I put it in perspective, it’s something I can’t not work on. It’s just too precious.
Another challenging part of this season has been having Reece living away from us during the week for work. We just miss him so much! And I certainly feel the pressure of parenting more when he is away. But it’s another thing that is helping me to remember to make the most of the time I have with the ones I love most, and to be thankful and focus on the good stuff!
I hope you enjoy these photos x

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