Silverbeet and Feta Frittata

One of my ‘go-to’ weekly meals is omething whipped up with eggs.  Quiche, omelette and frittatas are all good, easy options. Now that Miss A is no longer allergic to eggs, I can happily use this versatile ingredient. Recently I made this Silverbeet & Feta frittata and it was a hit! The girls demolished it and I got to feel extra smug knowing the silver beet was home grown :-) I  dedicated much time to my veggie patch recently, but thankfully this hearty green seems to grow without much assistance.

Ingredients

8-10 large eggs

150ml cream

50g marinated feta

50g grated cheddar cheese

1 massive  bunch of silver beet (approx 20 stalks), finely chopped, stalks removed

2 cloves garlic, finely diced or minced

30g butter

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Method

1. Preheat grill to medium/high setting or, oven to 180˚C.

2. In a bowl, combine the eggs, cream and cheese, and season to taste.

3. Place a large, ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter and cook silverbeet with garlic for approximately 2 minutes until wilted.

4. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and gently shake pan to evenly distribute the mixture and cook for approx. 8 minutes until the bottom is set.

5. At this stage, add the marinated feta and gently press under the surface. When the frittata is starting to firm up around the edges, scatter parmesan cheese over the top.

6. Transfer the frying pan to the oven and cook under grill for a further 5 minutes until golden. Keep your eye on the frittata as oven/grill times vary greatly. You want it to be nicely coloured on top.

7. To serve, slide frittata onto a chopping board and cut into slices or serve directly from the pan at the table.

 Serve with a nice green salad, a side of veggies, and a glass of your favourite plonk! Enjoy.

6 things I’ll miss about pregnancy (and 6 things I won’t)

A strong heart beat and a tiny blob on a screen confirmed my pregnancy. Although I had done a pregnancy test a few weeks earlier, I couldn’t actually believe it was true. My obstetrician handed me an ultrasound photo and a few hours later I was on a plane for work with my precious cargo. As I took my seat, I looked at my scan and remember feeling like I wasn’t alone. I had company. At just nine weeks pregnant, my news wasn’t visible. It was my secret – the best secret imaginable. I had a grin from ear to ear the entire flight to Japan.

I’ve been pregnant three times now, barely catching my breath between pregnancies. My “baby” is now 2½ and while I will always swoon for a newborn, I think it’s time to bow out of the baby-making game. As I contemplate that decision, I find myself reliving the joys along with the not-so-joyous moments of pregnancy. While there are certainly things I’ll miss about pregnancy, there are also many things I’ll be glad never to experience again.

Things I will miss 

  1. The anticipation

There are few things in life that elicit quite the same level of excitement than the impending arrival of a new baby. Approaching this life-changing event is sacred, buoyed by love, hope and possibility. Pregnancy gently prompts a contemplation of life and family values.

  1. The little and not-so-little kicks

When I first saw the two telling blue lines my hands instinctively reached for my tummy. And they returned to that spot every day for my entire pregnancy. I loved touching my rounded belly and feeling the air bubbles turn into butterflies and then later into Olympic-style acrobatics. A prodding elbow here and a foot kick there; “waves” of physical anticipation and evidence of the miracle growing inside.

  1. The way people treat you

People tend to treat pregnant women with a greater level of care. I enjoyed the many smiles from strangers, offers of help from family and friends, and the kindness from people I had never met. But I especially embraced my husband’s gentleness and tender touch. And pregnancy impelled me to regard myself with extra kindness too. I felt a greater appreciation and respect for my body and I rewarded its hard work with suitable pampering.

  1. The baby name game

I loved the hunt for the “perfect” name. I would write hundreds of baby names down in a book, observing the response and emotion stir within me. I would look at each individual name and then as a collection of names, overcome by an innate sense of pride in someone I had not yet met.

  1. The physical “perks”

I fully embraced my rounded shape. No more sucking in the gut was a major advantage. Pregnancy also gave me a natural boob job for nine plus months, long fingernails for the first time in my life and a genuine glow.

  1. The scans

While there’s something special about the first time, each time you see your baby through an ultrasound is a moving experience. Convincing yourself they are waving at you is part of the fun. Hearing the sound of a heartbeat and the flood of relief and excitement is one of life’s extraordinary moments.

Things I won’t miss

  1. Veins

There are veins and there are veins. And I’ve had them all – and in very unfortunate places! Vulvar varicosities is the medical term, or as I call it: “elephantitis of the vulva”. Swollen. Veins. Vulva. A collection of words you never want to hear. It’s not pretty and there’s no treatment.

  1. Alcohol abstinence

It’s really not normal to have that many AFDs in a year. Perhaps giving up alcohol isn’t hard for everyone, but for others, like me, it’s a very long time between drinks. My husband reaped the rewards by having a designated driver for a good three years. That charitable act of mine is now over.

  1. A catalogue of side effects

No one gets through pregnancy unscathed. I was spared morning sickness but endured crippling headaches throughout my entire pregnancies, along with insomnia, restless leg syndrome, heartburn and those aforementioned veins.

  1. Body heat

Suffering through the two hottest summers on record with no air-con at home was a lowlight of pregnancy. I remember laying on the cold bathroom tiles for some relief, wishing I had planned for winter pregnancies! I slept with a bucket of ice water by my bed and washer to cool off during the night.

  1. Fielding questions

Having to respond to intrusive and ridiculous questions like “Was it planned?”, “Are you sure you’re not having twins?” and “Any movement yet?” The latter enquiry becomes particularly tedious if your babies are a little reluctant to enter the world (like each of my three), and you receive about a dozen text messages about movement every day!

  1. The swab

The self-administered one! AKA LVS – lower vaginal swab. Particularly undignified with an audience (at an inconvenient height), questioning why you are putting that thing up there?!

Did you enjoy your pregnancies? What would you add to this list? 

*First published on Essential Baby

Wordless Wednesday: a little taste of slow

It’s been school holidays in Australia and although my little ones are not at school, it’s meant a break from preschool, occasional care and the girls’ activities. So we’ve had two weeks of moving at a slower pace and it’s been lovely. Here’s a little snapshot of some slow moments.

A few days of sand, sun, sea and salty air….

Spring has sprung in the garden at home….

Some quiet moments at home

Time for spontaneous cuddles….

And every girl needs to spin like no one is watching (or in her case, an audience is preferable!)

Not another slippery dip is now on Instagram. Follow @notanotherslipperydip for images of play, beauty and creativity. Hope you will join me!

16 parenting truths you won’t find in the baby books

There is nothing that can prepare you for becoming a parent. It is life altering and unpredictable. And it’s not just the early days of parenting that are challenging. The really hard parts to navigate are the stuff they leave out of the baby manuals. I am five years into this parenting gig and I’ve learnt that sleepless nights and changing dirty nappies are child’s play. Here are 16 things you really need to know, and it’s the stuff you learn on the job:

1. You will become intimately acquainted with Murphy’s Law. Seasoned parents can virtually predict when Murphy will strike with maddening precision. Your baby who always has a day sleep will refuse to go to bed on the one day of the year you have a hangover. Your child who never gets sick will come down with gastro the night you have a date night with hubby; a date that has been in the calendar for six months.

2. It’s a well-known parental law that when kids are quiet they’re up to mischief. But the more experienced parent will trade the unauthorised wall mural for an extra 15 minutes of sleep. Every time.

3. Never, EVER utter these words out loud: “My child has never…(insert vomited in the car, had conjunctivitis, broken an arm etc.)” In fact, it’s best not to even think it as your child is GUARANTEED to make a liar out of you. Similarly, children never appear sick when they’re in the doctor’s surgery. On the contrary they will appear the healthiest and happiest child in the world and make you look like an over-anxious parent!

4. In between swimming lessons and kids’ birthday parties you will most likely be found at Bunnings, IKEA, or the local pharmacist, who knows you and your kids on first name basis.

5. Double standards. Parenting is littered with hypocrisy. Ever found yourself shouting “STOP SHOUTING AT ME AND COME AND TELL ME IN A QUIET VOICE.” Yep, me too. And did you mother ever say: “Do as I say, not as I do”? Yep, mine too.

6. You will cram your entire adult life between the time your kid goes down and you go to sleep. On the upside, it’s amazing what you can accomplish in those 90 minutes!

7. Parenting is revealing, VERY revealing. You will find your faults reflected back at you. But they do say imitation is the best form of flattery!

8. Attempting to maintain a showroom of a house is inviting stress to steamroll over you. Learn to live with the mess and chaos, the clutter and the craft, and the bright COLOURS that inhabit your home. You can buy beautiful handcrafted wooden objects d’art from Etsy and timber toys that don’t make noise, but your kids will unfailingly favour the plastic over the timber, and multi-colours over neutral.

9. Parenting is all about tactics, white lies, and thinking on your feet. For example: You child enquires after her latest craft project that she was hoping would take centre stage on the dining room table. Quick as a flash you say: “Your dad took that one to work, he was so proud of it.” A word of warning here, manipulating the truth may result in cross-examination if you have a particularly suspicious child, or if they like to poke around in the recycling bin!

10. What you resist persists. Parenting is a lot about surrendering, and the more voluntarily you surrender, the easier your parenting pathway will be. Surrender swiftly to sleep, privacy, fatigue, chaos, bedlam, noise and eating anything with spice or flavour again!

11. A “break with kids” is an oxymoron. It’s more an exercise in how well you can move your domestic bedlam and still entertain your children without the “props” of home.

12. Being a parent is a lifelong exercise in self-restraint. Think about it. When was the last time you dropped an F-bomb that you didn’t immediately have to cover up with, “I said Duck. Yes, Duck. DUCK, I SAID!”

13. What goes up must come down. Your happy toddler at the party smiling and playing with delight will come crashing down at the worst possible time (usually during witching hour). It’s a simple equation: Parties + sugar + excitement = an overtired, overemotional, overstimulated and overbearing child approximately 45 seconds after leaving the party.

14. Being a parent involves mastering stealth and patience, often both at once. Every parent on the planet has crept silently out of their baby’s room, after patting the baby to sleep, cleverly avoiding the creaky floorboards, and turning the bedroom doorhandle with surgical precision, pleading or perhaps praying to a higher power to keep the baby asleep!

15. Parenting is hard on a good day. It really is. I reckon every parenting manual should be prefaced with those words so we can happily accept our perfect parenting imperfections.

16. Young children have an inexhaustible supply of energy, determination and ego. Luckily they have an inexhaustible supply of cuteness too. And joy. And love.

Which one of these do you relate to the most? What else would you add to the list?

*First published on Essential Baby

Creamy mushroom & zucchini linguine

Everyone needs a quick and easy meal that can be whipped up mid week. It’s even better if you can include a few veggies in it, too. Look no further. The following recipe is guaranteed to please, possibly because it’s creamy and kids will eat anything drenched in cream. This is how I get my girls to eat vegetables and it’s delicious. If you want to make a healthier version of this recipe simply reduce the amount of cream you add, and increase the amount of stock. If I am not cooking this for the kids, I add a splash of wine after sautéing the mushrooms and reduce. You can also add a dash of  grainy mustard for extra flavour. (more…)

What makes kids happy?

We  all want our kids to be healthy, strong, kind and capable.  Mostly, though, we want them to be happy. And yet in our quest to raise happy children we often overlook the simplest ingredients of a happy childhood. So, what makes kids happy? It’s not the latest gadget or digital device. It doesn’t cost money and it can’t be downloaded. It is pure and it is instinctive. Happiness is found in play.

Here is a list of 15 innate  things that, all the world over, kids enjoy. (more…)

A Garden-themed birthday party for a 4-year-old girl

Four years ago, on the thirteenth day in September, as nature burst into new life and the Jasmine flowers bloomed, my “Miss J” was born. It wasn’t a lovely labour – you can read about it here – but when she was placed in my arms I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Another girl. Another healthy baby. Another life full of possibility. A sister for Miss A. A second daughter for us and a tribe of cousins ready to meet her.

We had shortlisted our girl names but hadn’t yet decided on the “the one.” It’s tempting to say we wanted to wait to see her to name her, but the truth is we simply couldn’t make up our minds. We liked three girls’ names equally. It was my husband who named her shortly after her arrival. “I think she looks like a J,” he said. He was right. She was small, delicate and oh-so-pretty. That she should be named after a Spring flower, the scent of which makes me happy, seemed perfect. And so, “Miss J” she became. (more…)