The Mary Poppins Drawer of Possibility (+ a little giveaway)

Does this look familiar?…

{note the naughty puppy photo-bombing on the bottom right, joyfully attacking my plant}

{note the naughty puppy photo-bombing on the bottom right, joyfully attacking my plant}

Yes. It’s that one drawer in your house that is the family’s dumping ground. Need a hair elastic? A Panadol? An allen key to put together your new Ikea furniture? This is where you’ll find one.

I like to call it: The Mary Poppins Drawer of Fun.

I think I am a reasonably organised person, but for some reason The Mary Poppins Drawer of Fun is completely UNorganised – mostly with take away menus that have been tried (or the intention to try). And as we have moved house 3 times in the last 4 years, we have quite the impressive collection of Melbourne’s finest (and not so fine) take-away menus. Continue reading

3 things no.3! || nanas, love & mandarins

Time for another edition of everyone’s favourite game – 3 things!

3 things I learnt/realised/randomly thought about this week || no.3

#1 Nana’s can be cruel

You know it’s time to book an emergency hair appointment when your 90 something glasses-wearing-nana says:

“Oh look at those roots Anna. Are you growing your hair out to go back to your natural colour?”

Touché Nana. Touché.

This is my Nana. See? I told you she wore glasses.

This is my Nana. See? I told you she wore glasses.

#2 That I quite possibly have had too many failed relationships

‘Nuff said really. Or if you now find yourself more intrigued read this for a laugh: The Tragically Failed Relationships Mix Tape.

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#3 Mandarins are a sometimes food

It’s mandarin season in Australia. I would like to warn everyone though that a mandarin is no substitute for chocolate during a craving. No matter what anyone tells you. (Stupid Nutritionists).

In fact, I think they should actually be eaten like this.

Friends for life (and in ma belly)

Friends for life (and in ma belly) … (Green & Blacks Organic & Fair trade Chocolate)

How about you? What things have you learnt/realised/randomly thought about this week?

x anna 

3 things no.2! || boobies, coconuts, birth

Did you like our first 3 things?

Well then let’s not stop now. Here’s edition no.2!

3 things I learnt/realised/randomly thought about this week || no.2

#1 LITTLE KIDS ARE funny HILARIOUS

I spent the weekend on the Sunshine Coast (Queensland) visiting my 3 nieces and nephew and apart from an education in Frozen, I came away with some gold-nugget quotes that are still making me laugh.

This is perhaps my favourite – from my 4 year-old nephew who I guess has had a lesson or two at Kindy on God recently:

“God is in your heart. Your heart is in the middle of your boobies”

 Fair enough.

My nephew. Always smiling (and always happy to entertain a crowd ie. the future Hugh Jackman?)

My nephew. Always smiling (and always happy to entertain a crowd ie. the future Hugh Jackman?)

#2 I WISH I INVESTED IN A COCONUT TREE PLANTATION 10 YEARS AGO

Actually, also a Chia Seed farm, Quinoa farm, Cacao farm… I would be a bazillionaire right now.

AND have wonderful skin.

In addition to a coconut plantation, I would also have my very own personal coconut opener. This guy I met in Fiji collects the nuts from local farms, pays them a fee, then sells them roadside for weary travellers!

In addition to a coconut plantation, I would also have my very own human-coconut opener. This guy I met in Fiji collects the nuts from local farms, pays them a fee, then sells them roadside for weary travellers. Makes a motza he does.

#3 AN AUSSIE BABY IS BORN EVERY 2 MINUTES

That means that in the time taken to eat my lunch, 5 brilliant women have been to hell and back. 

Just holding my sanga to my mouth is often a hard enough physical challenge for me some days. Nice work ladies.

the sorella baby. THE cutest.  Her mother is lucky she didn't get put in my handbag after shooting to bring home with me.

The sorella baby. THE cutest. Her mother is lucky she didn’t get put in my handbag after shooting the catalogue to bring home with me.

And that’s a wrap for another exciting instalment of 3 things!

I would love to hear what you have learnt/realised/randomly though about this week?

~ anna x

Think. Eat. Save.

It’s World Environment Day!

world environment day

A stunning butterfly I found hanging out by my vegie patch

Celebrated every year on June 5th, World Environment Day is a campaign run under the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) aiming to raise awareness and bring about positive environmental action.

This year, the campaign’s theme is Think. Eat. Save which encourages us to be more aware of our food choices, and the carbon footprint we are creating through such choices and waste.

The UNEP provides a couple of great ideas to easily get started:

“Purposefully select foods that have less of an environmental impact, such as organic foods that do not use chemicals in the production process. Choosing to buy locally can also mean that foods are not flown halfway across the world and therefore limit emissions.”   

We all know that we love organics at sorella & me! (Organic sleepwear anyone? Yes please!)

Our environment is clearly something we are all responsible for.  And every little bit helps.  On World Environment Day last year, we posted 10 really easy things you can start doing today to help the environment – check them out here.

So now to add to that list with this years theme, we are going to be more mindful about the food choices we make and what we waste more broadly – Think before you eat and help save our environment!”.

I already try to buy organic food when possible, but I am going to try and understand more about seasonal fruits and vegetables too.  There is no point in buying a product that has been flown in from the other side of the world – even if it is organic. It’s easy to pop that item in your basket without thinking about it – but from now, let’s stop, think, and make an alternative selection if need be.

And my other goal is to finally start the compost I have been talking about doing for the past 2 years. Living in rental properties has stopped me from setting one up but it’s so important and can make such a difference. So these are my new goals.

For more ideas on greening your lifestyle, check out this great A-Z list from the UNEP.

And don’t forget to check out our friends at Sustainable Table, who have a heap of resources (and a couple of great cookbooks!) on how our food choices can impact our environment.

Do you have any green-tips you’d like to share with the sorella-hood? Perhaps you only shop locally?  Maybe you only buy seasonal fruit and vege? Whatever it is, we’d love to add it to our list!

 ~ anna

Get your velvet on – beetroot style!

Did you see Alisha’s post on the sorella & me facebook page yesterday in all its sugary goodness?

Alisha's delicious cup cake

Alisha’s perfect and delicious cup cake…. jealous much?

Right at 3pm – in all our dropped blood-sugar states – she thought she’d share a photo of a delicious cupcake.

What a bi-atch.

In my opinion, not only was it rude because it was at a time when a cup cake would have gone down quite nicely (I am cranky when I am hungry), but also rude because there are many of us who are trying really really hard to convert to a sugar-free lifestyle – and succeeding or not, we don’t need a reminder of what we are missing out on!

So I hit Sarah Wilson’s latest sugar free cookbook for some inspiration to compete with my now very real and very present sweet cravings. I have unapologetically pushed my love for Sarah on you numerous times – see here and here for examples – and it’s crises like these that support my reason why.

And whoalah! I found an option I knew would come close to providing some sort of cake relief – and I just happened to have a couple of beautiful organic beets in the fridge ready for the taking. Now…. be open minded to a vegetable based cake. No one likes a vege-ist.  And anyway, you like carrot cake right?

I present:

Beetroot Red Velvet Cupcakes – from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar – Chocolate Cookbook

(And double bonus – they can also be gluten and dairy free if you need…..)

Ingredients (all organic where possible peeps!)

  • 2 large beetroot – grated
  • 1 & 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder*
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder**
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup***
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (Gluten free)
  • Pinch of Salt

For the icing – if you aren’t sugar free, you could do a normal icing.  If you aren’t dairy free you could do a philly cream cheese icing (aka banana or carrot cake).  If you are sugar and dairy free you could do a coconut cream or cashew cream icing (these recipes are also in Sarah’s book).

My variations:*

* You can never have enough chocolatey goodness – Call me crazy but I added an extra couple of tablespoons of cacao.  This meant I also needed to up the wet ingredients so added a touch more oil

** I can’t justify having vanilla powder in my cupboard – but open to invest in the future as many of Sarah’s recipes include it. So in this instance, it was a teaspoon of vanilla extract for me.

*** Taste the batter before you commit to the oven! If it’s not sweet enough add some more rice malt syrup. Everyone’s tastebuds are different and especially with the earthiness of the beets, you might want to up the sweet stuff to more easily convince friends afraid of a sugarless lifestyle and wary of your vegetables moonlighting as cup cakes.

The red-redness of the beetroot make this cake mix look more like a science experiment... but a delicious one.

The super pretty redness of the beetroot make this cake mix look more like a science experiment… but a delicious one.

Method:

Preheat oven to 170degs and grease a 12 cupcake tin. Blend together in a blender (or go crazy with a stick-blender, thermomix, food-processer…. whatever floats your boat), until nice and smooth.  Divide between the 12 cake tin and pop into the oven.

Sarah suggests baking for 40 mins (my non-fan-forced oven meant 160degs for me for just 25 minutes. BAM! That’s chocolate goodness in less time than an episode of Bold and the Beautiful…. I can’t believe Liam didn’t choose Hope by the way. Idiot.)

My little baby in all its red-guilt-free-glory:Sugar free Red Velvet cup cakesEnjoy!

~ anna

I quite fancy the idea of being Nigella Lawson’s sister!

Nigella Lawsons new Book Nigellissima

Nigella Lawson’s new Book Nigellissima

It was my birthday yesterday, and my fiancé had no chance of winning the gift giving competition when my friend handed me a copy of Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook signed by the Queen of Cookery herself.

I LOVE being Nigella's 'sorella' (sister)

I quite fancy the idea of being Nigella’s ‘sorella’ (sister).

The message was as sweet as I expect her Nutella chocolate cheesecake will be (page 175).

There has been alot of discussion about the inevitable demise of physical books from our lives. Page-turning is a dying pastime and instead, more and more of us are finding ourselves giving up and joining the masses in tablet reading.  Even my future mother-in-law has recently acquired an iPad – and this paper-page turning aficionado has confessed that she loves it. It will only be a matter of time before we see a Kindle in her hands. Continue reading

Kids in the Kitchen: Chewy Cornflake Slice

There’s nothing new about this slice but it’s such a winner for busy Mums on the go! Plus, it’s a brilliant recipe for kids who love ‘helping’ in the kitchen. My daughter loves making this because apart from the chopping and chocolate melting, she can do most herself. Her favourite step in her words: “mixing the gooey and chewy part!”

As long as you have the flour, cornflakes and the condensed milk the rest you can substitute from your pantry with any dried fruit or nuts, coconut is great, dried apricots and even oats – whatever your kids love!  We usually to make a different version each time.

CHEWY CORNFLAKE SLICE

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups corn flakes

¼ cup organic sultanas

¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries

¼ cup plain flour

80g pistachios

1 can sweetened condensed milk

A row (or 2!) of Chocolate

METHOD:

 1. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Chop or Blend the dry ingredients to own desirable size, and combine in a bowl.

3. Add sweet condensed milk.  Mix until gooey and chewy goodness is combined!

4. Smooth mixture into prepared tray and bake 180 degrees 25 minutes

5. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Set aside to cool slightly.

6. When slice cooled, add chocolate to the top in lined pattern using a fork and refrigerate to set.

7. Cut into squares to serve and fight your children for a piece!!!

Do you have a quick and easy never-fail recipe you make with your kids?

~ alisha