15 Jul 2014

I heart Baking

Baking is only something that I have tackled after becoming a mother.  I don't know why.  It's not like I had more time or anything.  I just needed something, an escape, a hobby, a challenge that didn't involve keeping a tiny human alive.  Pre-Mushroom my hobbies included playing angry birds or reading whilst smoking cigarettes and drinking vodka.... I know.  I was pretty productive.

Banana Bread
Even though I had an aversion to doing much of anything really, I did, do, love to cook. Even more so after finding the Juffin, as there's nothing better than cooking for an appreciative audience.  I also enjoy eating, which is why I'm in the peak physical condition that I'm in today, and eating savoury food has always taken precedence over cakes or biscuits.  I'm just a salt lovin' gal!
Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Anyway, the urge to bake came after the Mushroom.  Creating tasty, yummy, home made treats for my little boy and challenging myself by creating decadent cupcakes has become one of my favourite things to do.  And to set the record straight, it doesn't take up that much time!!  Honestly!  

Apple & Cinnamon Muffins
I am blessed with a pretty happy little man.  He will play independently quite happily for an hour or so if he has his trucks, trains and planes.  He loves playdough, and food, and running laps around the house.  Sometimes when I'm baking, the Mushroom will 'help' and sit on the bench and make a mess.  It's cute.  I can't wait until he's a little bit older and can help me knead dough or measure out flour.

I choose recipes that are quite easy to put together and don't require too much prep work.  Muffins, Banana Bread, Cheese Scones, Zucchini Slice... all these things usually only require one bowl and a mix of wet ingredients, add the dry and away you go.  I can usually get muffins prepped and in the oven in 20 minutes.

Lamb, Roasted Pumpkin & Feta Salad
I usually don't start dinner until Justin gets home, or I may start a little earlier and chop things while the Mushroom pulls everything out of the 2nd drawer (utensil drawer) and makes enough noise to breech the sound barrier.  Sometimes I will be really organised and get something into the slow cooker before work but this doesn't happen very often.  One of my favourite cooking appliances is my pressure cooker.  I can whip up a melty beef strog in under an hour with it's help and the flavour is so amazing, you'd think it had been cooking all day!  

Evenings are when I usually frost and decorate cupcakes and make things like pizza scrolls as they tend to take a bit longer to put together.  This way I can fully concentrate on what I'm doing and the chances of stuffing up are greatly reduced.

Here are some of my favourite recipe sites if not for the recipes but the inspiration!


Pizza Scrolls
Oat and Currant Cookies
Some of these sites have recipes that I have used and twerked to suit myself and some I have never used but have bookmarked because they look and sound so delicious.  I also frequent sites like Taste.com.au and allrecipes.com. If you're in a jam at dinner time and want something quick and relatively easy, then you can't go past Jamie Oliver.  He may be a complete twat and let's not talk about that whole Woolworths thing but he is passionate about good food and that getting it into our kids belly's. 
Zucchini Slice 

After building a little confidence, I now feel equipped to use recipes as a guide only and do my own thing.  It's taken a lot to get me here and I still bake mostly to the recipe but feel like I can adequately substitute ingredients for others without too much hassle.  Lately I have been replacing milk with things like yoghurt, or coconut milk and it's given old favourites a new lightness.  I have also been substituting sugar for rice syrup in some recipes with great success.  My Apple & Cinnamon Muffins are now almost entirely sugar free!

The point of this post is this: Yes.  I love to bake.  And I do quite often.  But I'm not a professional.  Nor do I spend hours in the kitchen (ok, sometimes I do, but not on a regular basis).  I also have disasters every now and then.  Tonight we had a pretty average dinner consisting of a fabulous pork chop but accompanied by a truly terrible soggy vegie stir fry and cluggy rice.  I didn't instagram that one did I?!


13 Jul 2014


My weekends used to be all about drinking vodka, hanging out with friends, sleeping and watching copious amounts of television.

Post Mushroom my weekends are spent in a flurry of activity trying to get the shit that I didn't get done during the week all done in two days.

Somewhere between trying to fill my fridge, washing and folding thousands of items of clothes and keeping some sort of hygienic standard around my house, I'm also trying to spend 'quality' time with my son and my fiance.  Most of the time I feel like I'm a total failure on that last part... this weekend though, this weekend I feel like I achieved both!

Jess' List of Awesome Achievements
Total fridge clean out
Mowed Lawns
Floors vacuummed and mopped
Fans defuzzed
5 loads of washing dried, folded, and put away
Farmers Market
Teddy Bears Picnic
Grocery Shopping
Became fun police*

All achieved whilst battling a nasty head cold!  I feel sick and totally awesome all at the same time.  Go me!

On the jumping castle at the Teddy Bears Picnic 

*My neighbours had a rocking partay last night.  We were not invited.  Obviously not cool enough.  Anywho, they were rocking on until well past 1am and the tunes were getting louder and louder.  When Disturbed, at 1.45am, I lay there staring at the walls listening to the window vibrating and thought fuck it.  So I put on a jumper and my uggs and went next door and politely asked them to turn the tunes down. Of course, oh my god, so sorry, right away... Everyone was so apologetic and ridiculous that I felt a little bad!  Like they hadn't been keeping the whole street up for hours!  I went back to bed and lay down again and I couldn't hear a damn thing.  I just wanted them to turn it down a notch, not break up the whole party.  I nearly put my uggs back on and went back over there but I felt too sick and tired to move.  So I didn't.  I'm so embarrassed that I'm the old person next door telling people to shut up.  Before Mushroom that would NEVER have happened.

It is prudent to add that Mushroom and Juffin were both sleeping soundly like there was no rock concert going on 5 metres outside their bedroom windows.  Annoying!  

1 Jul 2014

Playing with the Plane

Moments like these make it all worth it... did you see that?!  He knows the damn plane has two wheels!!  Amazing!  I'm taking full credit for the whole she-bang.  I made that little person.... well Juffin and I made that little person, but hey, it was mostly me, and clearly he is fricking awesome.  Woo!  Maybe I'm not a totally shite parent...

Quiet in the peanut gallery!