Saturday, 8 February 2014

In My Kitchen: February 2014 - lunchbox, heatwave and fun

In my kitchen this month is lunchboxes and too much heat.  And you know what they say.  If you can't stand the heat, turn on the air conditioner!  Seems like only yesterday I was enjoying the milk days of summer.  Well they are but a pleasant memory.  With the heat and the start of school, there are some changes in the kitchen.

Above is the one photo I have of Sylvia's lunchbox.  School mornings are too hectic to allow much time for taking pictures.  The above lunchbox is crackers, cherry tomatoes, swiss cheese, leftover boiled potato, chickpeas (hidden from view under another box), choc chip cookies and plums.  I have also given her sushi, cheeseymite scrolls cherries, apple and ANZAC biscuits.  She still comes home from school starving.  Maybe one day I will find a bento box to replace the tubs.

With the heat I have been off porridge.  Porridge is for winter.  Fruit and yoghurt is for summer.  We have had a whirlwind love affair with this five:am vanilla bean yoghurt.  So creamy and pleasantly sweet.  Then suddenly I am onto toast and cashew cheese spread for breakfast.  Yes, I am fickle.

Here is the cashew cheese spread.  It comes from a company called Botanical Cuisine.  It is super smooth with subtle spicy garlic undertones.  Sometimes I have it spread on toast with relish on top.  E sometimes tops his with jam.  Other recent health food store purchases include some very refreshing raspberry passion kombucha from Mojo and some coconut butter from Artisana.  I am a little unsure how to use the coconut butter but the label is very pretty, so at least it look pleasing when cluttering up my kitchen.

Another recipe health food store purchase is Stevia.  I have been trying it in recipes.  In small doses it can work for me but I find I don't like the taste if there is too much.  I can see how people can find the amount that suits them and get used to it.  I still prefer other sweeteners.

I have been recipe testing for Ricki Heller.  It is a great privilege and joy to try out some of her wonderful recipes.  I have been in the kitchen a lot and eating lots of great healthy food.  Her cookbook is due out in late 2014 and I can't wait.  You can see some of the tester photos on her Candida Cookbook Recipes Pinterest Board

After a cool start to summer, January has brought the heat and it is refusing to go away.  Today it is forecast to be 40 C.  Yet another wilting weekend.  I have been keeping the freezer well stocked with ice blocks.  We love these cat shaped ice blocks.

Here is a peek into a heatwave kitchen.  Watermelon, ice blocks and fruit flavored ice blocks help keep us hot.  Sadly chocolate is best kept in the fridge or it ends up looking like this.

January also brought out some patriotic food for Australia Day.  I wondered if this is why this packet included macadamias.  I quite liked the dark chocolate covered macadamias.  Sylvia preferred the yoghurt covered cranberries.  E loved both.

This packet of Pringles was a Down Under Limited Edition.  I assume it was for Australia Day.  The Pringles are just plain.  Shame they couldn't have been more creative with an Australian flavour.  Bush tomato and wattleseed perhaps?

I was all prepared to buy the BBQ shapes for Australia Day until I saw the flavour was meat lovers.  Instead I bought these Shapes which were Sweet Chilli and Sour Cream.  It is a flavour combination I used to buy more.  I don't know if they have changed the flavouring but I found it really strong and addictive - in an unhealthy sort of way.  I don't think I will buy these again in a hurry.

Summer means lots of stone fruit.  I am loving nectarines, cherries and peaches.  Sylvia loves bananas - in smoothies and pancakes.  We even tried some icy poles made of banana and cocoa.  They were quite good.

Finally, here is a bit of dinner time fun.A house made with some tempeh bacon from recipe testing and a garden of vegies and cheese for Sylvia.

I am sending to this Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her In the Kitchen event.

25 comments:

  1. I'm really not looking forward to this week but at least Monday is supposed to be 26. Love your food art! I'm with you on stevia, sometimes I find it has a bitter aftertaste for me.

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    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - today was 24 C - great for baking!

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  2. Hopefully you stay cool this weekend with lots of frozen treats! Thanks for the peek into your kitchen :)

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    1. Thanks tandy - we have been having lots of frozen treats over the weekend

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  3. I love your creative fruit and vegetable designs! The cat ice blocks are great too and you have reminded me that I really need to remember to use my ice blocks - there are many hot days when an ice cube would be great but I don't always have ice made up. Sylvia's lunch boxes sound excellent and I love the collection of little boxes :)

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    1. Thanks Kari - a lot of the year we don't have much in the way of ice blocks but when it gets cold I keep them flowing - I used to have cold water in the fridge but don't have much room for it and find it easier to have ice blocks on hand.

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  4. You have some fun stuff in your kitchen. Sylvia's lunch looks quite tasty and healthy. I was always starving when I cam home from school too. I usually eat either porridge with berries or yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, as that agrees with me. I recently tried the paleo egg and salmon etc but I found it upset my stomach.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I don't remember being starving when I came home from school - just the sandwiches and the lunchboxes and the fun of frozen cordial in the first week of school each year when it was really hot. I love fruit for breakfast - if I have porridge I often have berries on it too.

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  5. I've been having yogurt for breakfast also!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - I go on and off yoghurt but am quite into it at the moment

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  6. Heat... I remember heat.... (I'm sitting here with a fan heater blasting on me in an attempt to warm up!) :) I'd urge you to source a Bento box, they really are fantastic and saves the children from having to open lots of lids. Your kitchen always looks so active and fun! :)

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth - love your bento boxes - would save me having to go chasing up little tubs left at school - good luck keeping warm in the cold

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  7. Sylvia's lunch box! Oh my Johanna it's hard to imagine that she is old enough to go to school! She sure does have quite an assortment to nibble on though. I always came home from school hungry too. I wish someone would have told me to stay away from those mayonnaise sandwiches though:) (it was the 60's mayo was a "good" thing then:)

    I'm really surprised at those Pringles. Normally, I wouldn't know if Pringles came in any flavors but Marion has taken quite a liking to them. It seems to me they sure could have come up with more of an authentic Australian flavor.

    You sure have quite an assortment of healthy goodness stashed away. I know the summer is probably as relentless there as our Winter is here. We must have really gotten Mother Nature pretty perturbed these last few years. Hopefully she will get back on track soon. Brrrr....it's freezing here, literally:)

    Thanks for sharing, Johanna...

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    1. Thanks Louise - mayonnaise sandwiches is something I never encountered as a kid - I loved vegemite and walnuts. I agree that Pringles could have made more of an effort with the flavour for the aussie edition. E quite enjoys them but I try and keep them for a treat rather than as a regular item. It does seem that there is a lot of crazy weather on both sides of the equator at the moment - would love it to settle down. We had lots of bushfires yesterday which is one of the worst consequences of the heat.

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  8. Johanna, what a great mum you are, Sylvia's lunch box is so full of good food! Puts Vegemite sandwiches to shame! :) I'm sorry it's been so hot for you - we've gotten off easy this year in Sydney. Love the cat icecube tray! :)

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    1. Thanks Celia - I wish I could convince sylvia to eat sandwiches but she is not keen - though I do wonder if she might have the occasional vegemite sandwich. I thought you had some terrible heat in sydney but earlier than us - it took a while for summer to warm up but now it has with an intensity

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  9. I find it so crazy that you've got a heatwave over there. We've got flooding and crazy wind instead!
    A lot of fun things in your kitchen, Sylvia's very lucky to have all your cute creations.
    Coconut butter is one of my favourite things ever! I can eat it melted with a spoon! I love it on pancakes too.

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    1. Thanks Emma - there seems to be lots of crazy weather about - we had lots of bushfires in the state yesterday - but flooding and winds sound like no fun. Hopefully will get into the coconut butter - the idea of eating it from the spoon is not my sort of thing but good to hear how much you love it so I feel better about my purchase

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  10. I would love to trade…it’s super cold, snowy and icy here in Oregon! I need that cashew cheese spread in my life….I love spicy garlic undertones! That kitty ice mold looks soooo adorable - where did you find it? I <3 it! Nice food art in the end of the post…ahhh I want palm trees now!

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  11. Sylvia's lunch box looks very familiar :) I hope you post more about her lunch boxes so I can get some ideas!! The cashew cheese looks yum, would love to try it. Stevia is also something I keep meaning to try baking with. Love your food art too :)

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    1. Thanks Kate - I think I will try and post about lunchboxes - though at the moment I don't find them that exciting but am focusing more on nutrition and something Sylvia will eat - chopped up some nori with her sushi rice bear and rabbit shapes today :-)

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  12. I have so many friends who need that cat ice cube tray.

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  13. G'day Johanna GGG...love your creativity!
    Your cat ice cubes cooled me today too and thanks for this month's kitchen view!
    Cheers! Joanne

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  14. Johanna, your "food art" is appealing, not just for Sylvia, but for us. ;) Loved that palm tree banana! Hoping you get some relief from the heat soon, but your kitty shaped ice cubes look like a fun way to cool down. Happy Valentine's Day!

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