Italian Minestrone With Cotechino!

Italian Minestrone With Cotechino!

I made this a few years ago, I bought Cotechino from an Italian deli in far north Queensland (having no idea how to cook it) and I asked my husbands Nonno how to cook it, and he showed me how to make the stock, which he recommended goes especially well for a base for a minestrone soup.

Oh, how right he was.

So what is Cotechino?

It is a large fresh sausage made from pork fatback, and pork rind. Cotechino dates back to around 1511 to Gavello, where, whilst besieged the people had to find a way to preserve meat and use the less tender cuts.  

It breaks down to an almost a bacony-pork-mince which blends into the soup.  The flavour of the stock is the best I have ever tasted, I plan to create some more recipes using this stock.

You can make this in a slow cooker, or a thermie, to even a big pot on the stove.  All you need to do is place the Cotechino in icy cold water in your pot/ slow cooker/ thermomix, then let the water in the heat up, let it simmer for 2 hours or so. Make sure the water JUST covers the Cotechino when you cook it.  Once cooked, I then take it out, peel the skin off and slice it down the middle to get a hurry on with all that bacon goodness into the stock.  

My husband loves soup.  He pretends he doesn’t as he think’s its not terribly manly, but when he had this he just about licked the bowl clean, its a GREAT way to get those veggies into your kids and partner and it freezes well (leave out the pasta though, just add it in with some stock when you heat on the stove).

If you don’t have Cotechino, use bacon.  I would say at least half a kilo.  


Veggies, I’m not going to to say what veggies to buy – because the italian way is to just use what is in season (and generally what was grown in the back garden) but this is what I used –

2 large diced zucchinis

1 diced red capsicum

1 carrot diced

2 brown onions (already diced browned in some good olive oil, very important to brown the onion beforehand)

3 sticks of celery diced

 1 & 1/2 cups of mushrooms

The sauce –

Into the stock add, 1 large 370g jar of passata (of you don’t make your own, I highly recommend the Leggos brand – it’s a little bit more expensive but definetly the best for this dish)

2 tins of 400g crushed tomatoes 

2 tablespoons of garlic

3 tablespoons of dried italian herbs

1 teaspoon of salt (just remember this makes enough for about 8-10 meals)

1 teaspoon of sugar

3 tablespoons of worchestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1/2 cup of roughly chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup of red wine

1 teaspoon of pepper

1 cup of pasta (try to use pasta shells, risoni… small pasta)



Add your passata, tinned tomatoes, veggies, tomato paste, garlic, sugar, red wine, salt, pepper, worchestershire and herbs.  

Cook for as many hours as you desire.  For me, I slow cook for about 4-6 hours.  Just be careful to not cook the veggies so much that they become mushy.  If the cotechino doesn’t break down enough, take it out and slice it up and put back in the soup.  

Add your pasta into the dish 30 minutes before serving.

I serve with fresh sour dough or crunchy olive bread.


This Recipe was created by Jess Steel from Jess Steel Diaries.

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No Bake Mini Milo Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Milo Cheesecakes

Milo and Cheesecake?


Its unreal!  When I made this, I took it around to my in-laws to test, and my SIL doesn’t like milo (ooppss)… then she ate half the cheesecake.  It’s THAT good.

And none of this ‘you can just taste the milo’ business, oh no, you can taste it – like a little bomb of delicious creamy milo goodness going off in your mouth with each bite.

Plus you don’t have to bake it – WIN. 

This recipe made 14 mini cheesecakes.



80g of milo

500g of cream cheese (I buy the Coles cooking brand, its really good for cheesecakes and at $2.80 a pop its cheap too)

1 teaspoon of gelatin melted in 40g of hot water

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

2 teaspoons of icing sugar

250g of chocolate biscuits

70g of melted butter



Crush your chocolate biscuits to the desired texture (I like mine quite crunchy so I just put them in a snap lock bag and give it a few good whacks with the rolling pin).  Melt the butter and combine. 

Spray the muffin pan with olive oil spray and then add 1-2 tablespoons of the butter and biscuit mixture in the bottom of each muffin hole.  Set aside.

In a large bowl mix the rest of the ingredients well.

Spoon the mixture over the biscuit bases and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Pop them out of the muffin tray (I use a large spoon and a butter knife to remove them gently) and then add a good dollop of whipped cream on top!

You can dust with a little milo and stick a blueberry on top! 


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Grandma’s Curry Puffs!

Grandma’s Curry Puffs!

My grandma made these when I was growing up and we all LOVED them, there is nothing like the smell of curry simmering and pastry baking.  I make these about once a month and freeze half into little snap lock bag for easy lunches – or unexpected visitors. 

This is another great alternative to a sanga in the lunchbox, it’s also cheap to make and a great way of using up all those leftover (slightly sad looking) vegetables in your fridge).  This recipe does make quite a bit, I think from memory about 18 all up (they wont last long though!).



500g of beef mince

250grams of diced bacon

2 teaspoons of garlic

1 tablespoon of Vindaloo paste

1-2 teaspoons of curry powder

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 brown onion

1 can of peas (drained)

1 can of diced tomatoes

Vegetables (I use whatever I have left in the fridge, this batch pictured has a finely diced red capsicum,1  zucchini, 11/2 a sweet potato and some leftover beans)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 pack of frozen puff pastry (or you can make your own)

2 eggs (beaten)



Brown the onion, then add bacon and diced vegetables and sauté in a teaspoon of good quality olive oil.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Put the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for a few hours – going to back to stir occasionally.  If the mixture becomes to wet then remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce.

Let the mixture cool.

On a flat surface, place your defrosted pastry sheets out and cut in half, paint the edges in beaten egg, then add the mixture and fold the pastry over.  Using a fork, press the corners down until the pastry is sealed with the mixture inside.  Paint the whole puff with the beaten egg.  Lay a sheet of baking paper on your oven tray for your curry parcels and cook on 180-200 for 15-20 minutes – check on them in 15, and pull them out of the oven once they are golden.


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Easy Corn & Zucchini Fritters!

Easy Corn & Zucchini Fritters!

These easy Corn and zucchini fritters are a great alternative to taking sandwhichs to work or school. The best thing about them is you really can add anything you like to them, provided the mixture is not to moist they always work well.


2 zucchini (grated)

100g of tasty cheese (grated)

1 can of corn kernels (drained)

1 small onion or shallots  (finely diced)

A good handful of roughly chopped coriander

3 eggs

1 cup of bread crumbs

Salt and Pepper


The thermomix version, is to pretty much put all of these ingredients (barr corn and eggs) into the bowl and turbo for 4 seconds. Then add the corn kernels and eggs, and mix together.  Fry on low in some good quality olive oil and allow to cool on some paper towel.

The non- thermie version is to grate (or blend) all of the ingredients bar corn and eggs and once all mixed together throw the rest of the ingredients in and fry in some good quality olive oil.

Squeeze some of the water out of the zucchini – to do this, pop it into a clean tea towel and squeeze the excess water out over the sink.

I served these for breakfast with some crispy bacon OR when all the males are asleep you can sneak off and have the last two for lunch with a smidge of sweet chill, just a smidge.

This recipe makes about 10.


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Simple Beetroot Salad!

Simple Beetroot Salad!

Before Christmas I went looking for a few different salad recipes, we normally do the standard Greek salad and rice salad at holiday events but I really wanted to try something different, I came across this beetroot salad and it was a real hit on Christmas day so thought we would share it.


1 Large tin of Beetroot, not sliced you want it in ball form so it can be diced easily.

1 Cup Walnuts roughly crushed

200 grams crushed Fetta

3 Eggs boiled and sliced in half

Your favourite herbs

1/2 Lemon juice

1 Tablespoon Good quality Olive Oil



Dice beetroot into cubes and place on a serving plate.

Sprinkle crushed fetta over the top.

Add the walnuts across the salad evenly.

Place the boiled eggs across the salad scattered.

Add the Lemon juice and olive oil to a cup and then sprinkle  over the salad, it doesn't need to drench the salad just enhance the flavour.

Top with your favourite herbs.

Serves 6 as a side or 2 s a meal.


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Audiences young and old will be all smiles and flying high next winter when Bonnie Lythgoe Productions tours Australia. THE ADVENTURES OF PETER PAN & TINKER BELL will have its WORLD PREMIERE at the Gold Coast Arts Centre from 23 June to 1 July.  Peter Pan will then continue his magical journey landing at Sydney’s State Theatre from 7 to 16 July then up and away to Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from 21 to 30 July 2017.

This enchanting story will feature top Australian performers, sumptuous glittering sets, spectacular effects, gorgeous fairytale costumes, fantastic song and dance numbers, infectious and riotous comedy, magic and bags of audience participation. 

Bonnie Lythgoe Productions is Australia’s biggest family musical pantomime producer.  PETER PAN will be the fourth panto produced by Bonnie Lythgoe after the success of Snow White Winter Family Musical in 2014 followed by Aladdin and His Wondrous Lamp in 2015 and Cinderella in 2016.  Bonnie has been staging pantos in the USA and UK for a number of years.  Well known for her creativity and involvement in global television hits ‘American Idol’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and most recently ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’, Bonnie is dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across Australia by presenting fun, musical theatre that the whole family from the age of 3 to 103 can enjoy.  


“Those who have never been to a Panto will have a glorious introduction 

to the form.” Los Angeles Times


“Watching Cinderella was like stepping into a wonderful world of magic where your inner child could run engaging and charming show…full of colour and splendour…a real joy to watch and experience.” AU Review


“The audience cheered, booed and ‘warmed’ to this fast paced and rumbustious ‘new-age’ production…with all the fun, fantasy and frivolity of the timeless classic.” MiSociety


“Inspired! Wonderful! Engaging!”  Broadway World


“Fifty Shades of ... Fabulous!” Angela Bishop (Ch 10 Entertainment Reporter)



VENUE:                     Gold Coast Arts Centre 

DATES:                     23 June – 1 July 2017

PRICES:                   Adult $61.50 / Concession $56 / Student/Child $40.50 

Groups 6+ $51 / Family of 4 (2 adults + 2 children) $178

BOOKINGS:   or 07 5588 4000 


VENUE:                     State Theatre, Sydney

DATES:                     7  - 16 July 2017 

PRICES:                   A Reserve Adult $77.75 / Child $62.75 / Concession $67.75

                                    Family of 4 (2 adults + 2 children) $261.00

                                    B Reserve Adult $67.75 / Child $52.75 / Concession $57.75

                                    Family of 4 (2 adults + 2 children) $221.00

BOOKINGS:   or 1300 139 588


VENUE:                     Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 

DATES:                     21 – 30 July 

PRICES:                   A Reserve $79.95 / B Reserve $59.95

BOOKINGS:   or 1300 11 10 11


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Spicy Dahl with Roast Pumpkin

Spicy Dahl with Roast Pumpkin

I held a dinner party last night (to some italians and greeks no less!) and I cooked up an indian feast, the Dahl was just the starter, but let me assure you – you could easily have this for dinner and not want for more.  You could also serve this as a side to some meat.  It tastes as good as it looks, I assure you!

This is most defiantly not a hot dish, its got full flavour and spice – but no real heat, so absolutely ok to give the kids.

You can also prepare this in advance and just heat up before serving, this is great for when you are doing a three course meal.



500g of pumpkin (sliced and roasted in olive oil, salt, balsamic and dried coriander)

2 x cans of lentils (drained)

1 small onion

1/2 teaspoon of curry powder

1 & 1/2 teaspoons of garam masala

1 x 400g tin of crushed tomatoes

2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

2 teaspoons of crushed ginger

1 cup of natural yoghurt

1/2 cup of fresh coriander leaves

1 brown onion (finely diced)



In a pan, brown your onion in olive oil.  Once brown, add the rest of the ingredients except for the yoghurt, pumpkin and coriander.  Cook on low for an hour.  You really want those lentils to cook and take on the flavours.

Place the lentils in a dish, then add the pumpkin, coriander and yoghurt on top.

If you want to be real fancy, then sprinkle some sesame seeds over the whole dish.



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4 Ingredient Banana Cupcakes!

4 Ingredient Banana Cupcakes!

These 4 Ingredient cupcakes are really quick and easy to make and perfect for afternoon and morning tea. This is a recipe that is really easy for the kids to make as well!


  • 3 Ripe bananas mashed
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups Self raising flour


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Beat the eggs and sugar together.

Add the mashed banana and mix well.

Stir in the flour until combined well.

Line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.

Cook for approx. 35 minutes until the tops are golden.

Slice and enjoy!

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Win A Family Pass To See WIND IN THE WILLOWS!


Sydney’s favourite family entertainment returns for its 17th year anniversary



"You'll love this production - no matter what age you are" – The Sun Herald
"Pure charm for adults and children alike" – The Age

Sydney’s favourite family entertainment The Wind in the Willows continues its well-loved summer tradition returning to the beautiful surrounds of Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, playing from Friday 5 to Sunday 28 January 2018.

Kenneth Grahame’s immortal story of life on the riverbank is a rollicking yet gentle adventure, starring the pompous, arrogant, vain, hilarious Toad – a favourite with children everywhere. Toad, along with his better-behaved friends, Ratty, Mole, Otter and Badger, as well as the rascally Weasel, have come to life every summer for the past 15 years providing enchanting and lively entertainment for all the family.

This critically acclaimed outdoor theatre production delivers music, songs and laughs. There is fun for young and old as the Head Chief Rabbit transforms the audience into rabbits with a waggle of the ears and a wiggle of the nose. The young ‘rabbits’ are encouraged to get involved in the action, and are given every opportunity to scream out loud, sing along and become part of the adventure. With laughs and surprises for children and adults, this is interactive theatre at its best.

Over the years tens of thousands have delighted in the simple pleasures of this rollicking promenade production… so this summer pack a picnic, pack the kids... and head on down to the riverbank.

DATES: Friday 5 January to Sunday 28 January 2018

WHEN: 10.30am & 6pm Tuesday to Sunday (no show 26 Jan)

WHERE: The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

Enter via any gate and make your way to the Harbour side of the Main Pond

PRICES: Midweek $25 Single, Family x 4 $90; Saturdays $30 Single, Family x 4 $110

BOOKINGS: or 9011 7704

Tickets can be purchased on site one hour before
show time (cash only).

Competition details: To win a family pass to see WIND IN THE WILLOWS on Sunday 6th January at 10.30am at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, please let us now why you would like to see The Wind in the Willows and competiton closes 15th December - email entries to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Win A Double Pass To See Treasures Of A Nation: Chinese New Year Concert!

Win A Double Pass To See Treasures Of A Nation: Chinese New Year Concert!

The prestigious Chinese Music Orchestra will make its return Australian tour with the very special musical event, Treasures of A Nation: Chinese New Year Concert 2017.

With a history of over 50 years, the China National Opera and Dance Theatre’s renowned national-level orchestra led by conductor Hong Xia and principal gaohu soloist Bai Miao performs music that merges traditional Chinese style with contemporary music. The orchestra has a unique artistic style that is composed of over 50 musicians many of whom have taken part in national and international instrumental music competitions and received many prizes.

Treasures of A Nation promises to be a transcendent experience that merges ancient and modern art form, showcasing China’s diverse musical heritage and introducing audiences to a new world of music, stunning visuals and virtuosity. Soaring melodies from both traditional Chinese style and contemporary music are guaranteed to ring in the year of the Rooster in breathtaking cultural style.

The Orchestra use a combination of western and eastern instruments including the sheng, an ancient flute, the liuqin mandolin, and the gaohu and erhu, sometimes referred to as “the Chinese fiddle”.

The Orchestra has performed in India, South Africa and Canada. This is their second visit to Australia, following a successful Chinese New Year 2016 Concert.

Venues & Dates:

Sydney City Recital Hall, 6 Feb 7:30pm
Host by China Cultural Centre in Sydney
Book at or call 02 8256 2222

Melbourne Recital Centre, 9 Feb 7:30pm
Book at or call 03 9699 3333

Brisbane QPAC Concert Hall, 12 Feb 7:30pm
Book at or call 07 3846 4444

Hobart Federation Concert Hall, 14 Feb 7:00pm
Book at or call 03 6232 4450

Canberra ANU Llewellyn Hall, 16 Feb 7:30pm
Book at or call 132 849

To win a double pass to see Treasures of a Nation: Chinese New Year Concert on Monday 6 February, 7:30pm at the City Recital Hall, Sydney please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Support A Great Cause This Christmas And Shop With Red Nose!

Support A Great Cause This Christmas And Shop With Red Nose!

ABC Baby Card proudly supports Australian charity Red Nose by donating from card sales. Red Nose raises funds for research, advocacy and education to create a future where no baby or child dies suddenly and unexpectedly. Support this great cause by shopping with Red Nose. ABC Card holders get 15% off most items in Shop Red Nose, just use the code: rednoseABC

There are some great products to choose from, check out this silver photo-frame money box: was $29.95 now $12.72 (with rednoseABC code).

Also the new animated movie BALLERINA opens in Australian Cinemas January 12. Use rednoseABC at the checkout to get a free Ballerina Movie activity book and a 2-1 movie ticket voucher with your money-box purchase. Every dollar helps save little lives.


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Check Out The Brilliant Holiday Shows Coming To The Sydney Opera House This Summer!

Check Out The Brilliant Holiday Shows Coming To The Sydney Opera House This Summer!

Looking for activities to keep the kids entertained these school holidays? Then head to the Sydney opera house to see one or all of these brilliant holiday shows!


Room on the Broom – 9-23 December

How the cat purred and how the witch grinned,
As they sat on their broomstick and flew through the wind…

The witch and her cat are flying happily on their broomstick – until a stormy wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow and wand.

A helpful dog, bird and frog find the witch’s lost things, and they all hop on the broom for a ride. But this broomstick’s not meant for five and – CRACK – the broom snaps in two!

When a hungry dragon appears, who will save the poor witch? And will there ever be room on the broom for everyone?

After a sold-out 2013 season Room on the Broom returns to Sydney Opera House this summer with songs, laughs and scary fun from the team behind The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child. 


Georges Marvellous Medicine – 17-25 January (why not book as part of the Junior Adventure?)

Roald Dahl's legendary book, George's Marvellous Medicine , leaps off the page to become a spectacular new live show this summer. Set to completely lift the roof, it's packed (to the rafters) with mischief, magic and giant laughs. Just remember - do not try this at home!   

Emily Brown and the Thing – 4-15 January

With beautiful puppetry, original music and lots of laughs for the whole family, award-winning duo Cressida Cowell (author of How to Train Your Dragon ) and Neal Layton's tale of Emily Brown comes to life on stage!

Join intrepid explorer Emily Brown and her side-kick bunny Stanley on a colourful adventure to find everything the Thing needs for a good night's sleep. 


The Funatorium: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – 7-22 January

Hats on! Tea Poured! Silly faces at the ready!  

You're invited to the best tea party in town - with the biggest tricks, the largest characters and the catchiest tunes, guaranteed to have each and every party guest calling for more.  

It's a show full of acrobatics, circus, singing, dancing and roller skates! It's an immersive party experience brought to you by the best artists from the world of circus and cabaret - and it's made just for kids!  

Inspired by Lewis Carroll's classic tale, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you'll be whisked into a weird and wonderful world where you'll meet all your favourite characters and discover incredible talents far beyond the pages of the book.   

If you believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast, you'll love what we've packed into a single show - have your rounds of applause ready, The Funatorium is here!

Recommended for ages 5 and up.


Deadly 60: Pole to Pole – 7-8 January

Following his sold out 2016 Australian tour, Steve Backshall, star of one of the most popular children's shows on the planet, is returning to Australia with a new show based on the hit BBC series, Deadly 60 Pole to Pole.

Join Steve on a theatrical journey of wild discovery and dangerous entertainment as he shares his experiences travelling from the South Pole to the North Pole. Live on stage this January, don't miss Steve and his gripping encounters with deadly creatures from all corners of the globe. 

Please note: live animals on stage do not form part of this show.

Operation Ouch – 9-10 January

The hit ABC children's television series, Operation Ouch! is coming to Australia. Don't miss Dr Chris and Dr Xand in their first ever live stage show!

Packed with incredible stunts, crazy experiments and amazing facts, the doctors will explore the fascinating world of biology and show you the awesome things your body can do. Plus they'll share their favourite bits from the TV show. 

What does it look like inside of Dr Xand's head? How can germs be good for you? What can you do with a month's worth of farts? How does sneezing work? What exactly happens to the food you eat? All these questions and more will be answered when TV's favourite identical twins take to the stage.


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CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus Is Coming To Sydney And You Wont Want To Miss It!

CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus Is Coming To Sydney And You Wont Want To Miss It!

In a world-premiere event, the producers of the biggest-selling magic show internationally (The Illusionists) team up with the award-winning puppeteers of War Horse to present a thrilling turn-of-the-century circus spectacular, with a jaw-dropping twist.


Deploying sensational puppetry on a never-before-seen scale, CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus puts pachyderms back in the ring. The largest-ever performing African elephant (and her calf) lead a unique cast of the world’s most amazing and dangerous acts, including a cycle artist from Germany, jugglers from France, a rola-bola artist from Russia, Ukrainian acrobats, Mexican high-wire artists and a Brazilian knife thrower.


Building on the huge success of The Illusionists 1903, which captured Sydney’s imagination during its holiday run last summer, CIRCUS 1903 will take audiences of all ages back to the golden age of circus during its eleven-day, 18-show premiere season in the Opera House Concert Hall in December. After its Australian debut, CIRCUS 1903 transfers direct to Los Angeles and New York.


The award-winning team of puppeteers and model makers who created the National Theatre’s War Horse will bring to life two stunningly beautiful elephants for CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus. Featuring groundbreaking advances in design and expression, the puppets feature throughout the show as the mother teachers her calf the tricks of the trade.


Produced by Simon Painter and Tim Lawson, the duo behind Le Grand Cirque, Le Noir, Cirque Adrenaline and The Illusionists, which have travelled to more than 250 cities globally, CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus is set in an extraordinary and decadent circus tent, designed by Todd Ivins.


Costumes are by Angela Aaron, whose impeccable recreations of original turn-of-the-century circus costumes are inspired by photographic collections, historical museum pieces and discussions with experts and historians.


No circus would be complete without music, and the soundtrack of CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus encapsulates the time period and accentuates the thrill and danger of the acts.


It is composed by Evan Jolly, composer of many of Painter and Lawson’s international hits.


This is a truly captivating circus extravaganza that is perfect for audiences of all ages.




 Sunday 18 December 3pm & 7pm


Tuesday 20 December 3pm & 7pm


Wednesday 21 December 3pm & 7pm


Thursday 22 December 3pm & 7pm


Friday 23 December 3pm & 7pm


Monday 26 December 3pm & 7pm


Tuesday 27 December 3pm & 7pm


Wednesday 28 December 3pm & 7pm


Thursday 29 December 3pm & 7pm


Where: Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House


Tickets: Standard from $74.90*


Child from $48.90*


*Transaction fee of $5 - $8.50 applies per order, except Insiders members.


Booking: (02) 9250 7777 or


More Info:



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Keeping kids Healthy On A Budget

Keeping kids Healthy On A Budget


Let’s be honest, areas with a high amount of ‘child traffic’ are usually breeding grounds for common illnesses. Schools, preschools, public pools, and parks, are all full of germs that children pick up easily. All it takes is one common cold to wipe out an entire cohort.

As a parent it can be tough trying to keep your children away from these risky environments, and medical care can be expensive. So here are 6 top tips for keeping kids healthy on a budget:

1. Draw up an allowance

Creating a budget or an allowance to put towards child expenses is always a good idea. There can be many costly items that crop up unexpectedly so it’s important that you closely monitor your expenses each month. In terms of budgeting for your child’s health, set aside a certain amount of money regularly for fees such as doctors’ appointments or prescription medications. This will save you the stress of dipping into your savings when an emergency arises.

2. Watch their diet

Fruit and vegetables can be expensive but they are a very important part of keeping your children’s diets nutritionally balanced. Feeding them nutrient-rich meals packed with antioxidants will help their immune systems fight off whatever bugs come their way. But there are smart ways to do this, for example, buying seasonal produce. Fruit, such as raspberries and blueberries, can be extremely expensive when it’s not the peak time of year. You’ll notice that around spring and summer the prices tend to drop on certain fruits because that’s when they’re more abundant. The same goes for most products that are grown in the ground. Buy the veggies that are in season, and you’ll save yourself stacks of money in the long run.

3. Map out meals

Planning meals ahead of time is one way to keep across what your kids eat. If you map out your meals on a weekend for the week ahead, you’ll be able to tally up costs and see where you can make sacrifices or switch products for alternatives that cost less. Taking your budget into account, you should be able to recognise which products you can buy in bulk. A lot of healthy meals don’t tend to be very expensive (such as a stir fry or casserole) when you cook in large batches.

4. Vaccinations

This is definitely something that is down to parental preference but you can prevent many diseases for free by getting your kids immunised against them and most vaccinations are government funded for kids under a certain age. The immune system of a child is usually a bit weaker than an adult’s so it’s a good idea to look into this because a) it’s usually free and b) can prevent a huge range of nasty illnesses such as whooping cough or influenza.

5. Cover your kids

Investing in health insurance can be a money saver in the long run, especially if your children happen to be prone to illnesses or accidents. Health insurance policies for families tend to be the best option when you have kids, as you can cover everyone under the same policy and receive the most benefits at once. It also means that if you all happen to get sick and are wiped out by the same illness, you should be covered for many of the treatments available. Even the simpler things such as physiotherapy or dental cover can help you later on.

6. Get them out and about!

Exercise is one of the best possible ways to not only keep children healthy and maintain their weight, but also to boost and regulate their metabolisms and endorphins. If kids have been kept inside for too long, they can get a little manic so the endorphins help them to be calmer and happier, as well as getting their blood pumping. Worth it!

Budgeting and keeping kids healthy at the same time doesn’t have to be scary. With just a few simple lifestyle changes, you can ensure your kids get a healthy upbringing, without breaking the bank. Enjoy!



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Christmas Rum balls!

Christmas Rum balls!

Do you have any Christmas traditions at your house? One of ours is to make these glazed Cherry Rum balls. We make them normally around the 23rd of December, then we go and look at the Christmas lights and once home we have 1 or 2 or 3 of these with a cup of tea! What a way to end a night hey?



1 Packet Arrowroot Biscuits

395 grams condensed milk

1/2 cup glazed cherries

1/4 cup Cadbury Cocoa

1 tablespoon Rum

1 Cup coconut

Coconut for rolling

1 drop green food dye

1 drop red food dye



Pop the cherries in a bowl with the rum and set aside.

Pop the arrowroot biscuits and coconut into a food processor and blitz well.

Add the cocoa and the cherries and run and blitz

add the condensed mil and combine until well mixed.

Add coconut and red dye to a zip lock bag and shake, repeat with the green dye in another bag.

Roll the mixture into approx 1 and 1/2 inch balls.

Mix the red and green coconut together and roll balls in them.

Makes approx 30 balls.

Tip: You don't have to colour the coconut this is something we just do because it is Christmas. if you want them to be more vibrant in colour add more red and green dye. You can also add more run if you like!

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Baileys & Tim Tam Ice cream Slice

Baileys & Tim Tam Ice cream Slice

Ok so this dessert is pretty naughty but since it's the silly season we think the calories can be excused ha! < I have heard if you eat it with your eyes closed that the calories don't go to your hips lol

This dessert is absolute adult indulgence, not only is it delicious but you don't have to share it with the kids due to alcohol in it < win win!



1 Litre good quality vanilla ice cream.

1 packet of Tim Tams crushed

250 mils of Baileys

1/2 Block Cadbury Chocolate melted.



Line a 30cm tray with baking paper.

Let the ice cream sit out of the freezer until just starting to melt, then pop it into a large mixing bowl.

Add the Baileys and mix with a mix master until just combined, it's important that the ice cream is soft not fully melted.

Add the Tim Tams and stir through, you want it to be quite rustic.

Add the melted chocolate and stir through, you want it to be streaky through the ice cream so you get full on flavour hits, you don't want the ice cream to turn to chocolate, you want chocolate pieces through it. make sure the chocolate is not hot when you pour it in.

Pop mixture onto the tray and press firmly so that each corner is filled and it is levelled.

add another piece of baking paper onto the top and press down, so that it doesn't get icicles on it.

Pop in the freezer and let set for approx 6 hours.

Slice and enjoy!

pour more Bailey's over it if you wish.

Serves 12

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No Bake Nutella Cheesecake!

No Bake Nutella Cheesecake!

This dessert is always well received, mainly because it is a cheesecake and has Nutella in it so what is not to love? You can top it with your favourite chocolates and berries are also good!



1 Packet Chocolate Ripple biscuits

80 Grams unsalted butter

400 Grams Nutella

500 Grams cream cheese

1/2 Cup icing sugar

Fererro Rocher's

1/4 cup hazel nuts.



Line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper. 

Blitz the chocolate ripple biscuits and add to a bowl.

Melt the butter in microwave until just melted and stir into the biscuit mixture.

Pop the biscuit mixture into the pan and press firmly so that the mixture is even across the bottom of the tin.

Pop in the fridge for 25 mins to set.

In a large bowl add the Cream cheeese and icing sugar and mix on high with a mixer.

Add the nutella and combine well.

Pop the mixture over the base and spread evenly.

Top with the hazel nuts and Ferrero's

Pop in the fridge to set for approx 4 hours

Slice and enjoy

Serves 10

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Chocolate Bounty Balls

Chocolate Bounty Balls

Do you love the Bounty Chocolate bars? Then these are for you! These balls are rich and delicious and will curb any sweet craving. Warning it is hard to stop at one!


You will need:

1 Cup Desicated coconut

3 Bounty bars

1/2 Block Cadbury chocolate

1 Tbs coconut oil

1 Cup Almond meal

Coconut for rolling < optional


Lets Put them together

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl on high for approx. a minute until just melted.

Add the Bounty bars almond meal and coconut to a food processor and blitz until a fine crumb.

Add the melted chocolate to the mixture and combine well.

Roll into approx. 1 1/2 inch balls.

Coat in coconut and pop in the fridge to set. You don't have to roll in coconut, we didn't for these ones.

Makes approx. 25 good size balls!


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Easy Omelette Muffins

Easy Omelette Muffins

I love these omelette muffins! They’re quick easy and oh so tasty! Best bit is that they’re great hot or cold and on the run! They’re packed with protein and healthy veggies and I also love them as a snack after a gym work out. They just satisfy that void!



 8 Eggs

¼ cup of Milk

2 Handfuls of Baby Spinach, chopped finely

1 Tomato, diced

4 Rashes of Short Cut Bacon

½ Red Onion, finely diced

½ Red Capsicum, finely diced

¼ Block of Smooth Fetta (optional)

 1 tbsp of Basil

 Salt and Pepper, to your taste



Preheat oven to 160 degrees (fan forced) and grease a 12 cup muffin tray.

Wash, chop and dice all ingredients, except eggs. 

Whisk eggs, milk salt and pepper until combine. Once combine add in all ingredients and mix well.

Using a soup ladle, scoop mixture into a muffin tin.  Fill them until their about ¾ full and if you’re using fetta, crumble it on the top.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden on top.

NB: Cooking time will depend on your oven.

Makes 12


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Easy Chocolate & Beetroot Cake!

Easy Chocolate & Beetroot Cake!

It may sound a bit weird putting beetroot in a cake especially with chocolate, but let me tell you the combination is so good, sweet, tart and so moist. Give it a go you wont be disappointed!


250g Cooked and Pureed Beetroot

3 Eggs

½ teaspoon of Vanilla Bean Paste

250ml Olive Oil

1 ½ cup of Apple Sauce

1 cup & 2 tablespoons of Plain Flour

6 tablespoons of Cacao Powder

1 ½ teaspoons of Bicarbonate Soda

¼ teaspoon of Salt

Cocoa for dusting



Preheat the oven to 180oC.  Grease and flour one 20 x 30cm or similar tin.

Using a large bowl, combine pureed beetroot, eggs, vanilla, oil and apple puree and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, bicarbonate soda, salt and cacao. Add to the beetroot mixture, beat well. Once combined pour in to the baking tray.

Bake for 25-30 mins until cooked.  Insert a skewer to test. When it comes out clean it’s done.

Serves 8




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