Almost-vegan mac and cheese

And I’m back after a lovely weekend! We went to church on Saturday and then had a bowling night with the church group – terrorizing the bowling alley with our kids (8 between the lot of us)! Aw nah, they were all pretty good.

And today we had a quiet day at home, which is exactly what I pictured for Mother’s Day. I just wanted to be able to catch up on some things at home – weed my veggie patch, get through my numerous loads of laundry and sort through the kids’ clothes because Jacob’s now into size 3 and Jared is into size 0, so lots of phasing out to do!

Anyway, today (or rather, tomorrow) I’m meant to post a favourite recipe, so I’ll share with you this “almost-vegan mac and cheese” recipe that seems to be a go to – it works well in the veggie-smuggling front and has been well-received by vegan and meat-eating friends alike!

I actually don’t like macaroni and cheese. I remember once when I was little, I had mac and cheese and it made me spew – it was just way too cheesy and rich for me! Thank goodness now I’ve found a recipe that’s not as rich but just really tasty (and actually a bit healthy too!)

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I decided to make this recipe today – partly because I needed pictures, and also because it’s yummy! Included in my prep above is my favourite hot chocolate from Aldi that is awesome on a rainy autumn night such as this! I wish I could show you a picture of Jacob savouring it but unfortunately he wasn’t in the mood tonight. Failed the toddler test tonight, sob!

I got the original recipe HERE and just made a few changes here and there. It probably is fine fully vegan as well, but I just like to sprinkle it with a bit of cheese before baking for a bit of a yummy kick to it!

Ingredients

1 500g packet of macaroni
2 potatoes peeled/diced
1 carrot peeled/diced
1/2 chopped onion
3/4 cup water (preferably from pot of boiled veggies)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder or garlic paste
1 pinch paprika
salt and pepper to taste
grated cheese, to top it off (optional)
frozen peas and corn (optional)

Method

  1. Soak the cashews in warm water for 30 minutes before starting the sauce.
  2. Cook macaroni al dente, according to package instructions (usually requires boiling for 6-8 minutes in salted water), drain, and set aside.
  3. Bring some water to boil in a small pot. Place chopped potatoes, carrots, and onion in the boiling water, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and soft enough to blend. Cooking time will vary slightly, based on how small you have chopped your veggies.
  4. When veggies are soft enough to blend, take them out of the water, and place them in your blender. Add ¾ cup of that cooking water to your blender, along with your remaining ingredients except for the cheese, peas and corn.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Or, place macaroni and sauce in a baking dish and mix through with the frozen peas and corn, sprinkle with cheese, and bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese browns on top.

If you’re a meat eater like me, you can also add things like chicken, tuna, beef mince, etc. but trust me, it’s awesome just as is!

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Anyway, I feel that I didn’t quite do the last challenge justice as I only posted one pic of the town (suburb) I live in. So here’s another shot:

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That isn’t my house – this is just opposite the reserve close to our home. This picture is pretty close to my heart as this is the day before Jacob was born – I had lost my mucous plug already (sorry if TMI) and was already having light contractions. I took my dog for a walk as I figured I wouldn’t be sure when I’d be next up to walking her. It was a lovely spring day – it had rained in the morning and now a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky. I felt excited, scared, but a great sense of calm as well. 8am the next morning, my life would be changed forever.

Today, I celebrated Mother’s Day as a mother of two! We actually celebrated last weekend (breakfast in the Barossa) but I still had a luxurious breakfast – chocolate croissants, strawberries and a hot chocolate! Yummy! Did I mention I was on a diet? Oops.

To all the mums I know, and particularly to my mum and mum-in-law, I hope you have had a beautiful Mother’s Day! Thank you for all the ways you have been a blessing in my life! Sending love from my two lovely boys.

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What did you do for Mother’s Day?

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Thoughts on Mother’s Day

I meant to post this yesterday but never got down to it. Came home from Malaysia sick and I think the extreme change in temperature just made things worse! But I’m sure to be better in time…

Lucky for me that today was Mother’s Day so I got to relax! 🙂  I wasn’t feeling like much food so didn’t really bother with the whole breakfast in bed (I can’t taste anyway) but I was surprised with some lovely gifts in the morning:

mom dayJacob sorta blew the surprise by shouting “Shoe! Shoe!”

Feeling very blessed – and feeling a bit bad because I didn’t have all my Mother’s Day gifts ready for particular people I wanted to give them to. I was planning to get things wrapped and cards written after I got back but that didn’t really happen as I was pretty much in bed the whole time. But I will get organised, I promise!

This year I was very blessed to almost spend Mother’s Day with my mum. I’ve been overseas since 2009 so it’s been quite different – we haven’t shared as many milestones as we’d have liked, but I also find that when we’re together, we put in more effort to get along (or at least we try)! It was good to see her again in the course of my travels and I’m sure there’ll be more of it in years to come.

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It was a bonus to see my grandma this trip as well – my parents flew her over so I got to spend some time with her. When I was growing up, we used to visit them at least a couple of times a year (they lived in a different state so we’d have to fly over there) and it was wonderful. Nowadays, we still write letters to each other – probably the only snail mail I get aside from bills!

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Things wouldn’t be the same without my mum-in-law here in Adelaide. Before you get married, you hear all these scary things about horror mothers-in-law who can be overbearing, pushy or sometimes crazy! But my mum-in-law is nothing like that – she’s as nice as they come and welcomed me into the family with open arms. The same can be said about my sister-in-law, who’s really down to earth and has set a wonderful parenting example for me with her three lovely munchkins.

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But behind every great mother is a great father, which my husband truly is! He’s always been the “fun” one from day one and Jacob is well aware of that (and always runs to him when I’m being strict/mean).

baby

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Thanks for helping me get through the day; for doing all the little things that add up to big things in the end. Thanks for taking the reins when I have to put them down and for being there through it all. 🙂

But I would not be a mum if not for my wonderful son, who in about 3 months’ time will be turning 2. Two years! Can you believe it? How time flies.

20150430_193505I’ve been made a better person by him – even if it doesn’t seem that way sometimes! Parenthood is such a steep learning curve but he’s taught me to trust my instincts. And no matter what challenges we have along the way, he’ll always come up with something sweet like talking about “mama” in his sleep or giving me cuddles and kisses when I need it the most.

I hope that all of you mums out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

My first Mother’s Day’s been going pretty well so far! 🙂 My awesome little man wished me Happy Mother’s Day with this cute card.

ImageSo, we had a lovely hot breakfast and I have been told that I can choose to go to dinner anywhere – but where should I go? I’m not really thinking of someplace fancy; I’m over steaks from Daniel’s birthday and over schnitzels since I’ve just learned how to cook the perfect schnitzel at home! I kinda feel like eating Asian… (what an Asian thing to say, sigh!). I do feel like Korean BBQ but we’ll probably smoke Jacob out, so that’s a no… what should I do???

I wrote an article/opinion piece a while back about Mother’s Day and it’s been published today! Read it here and do let me know what you think!

On a separate note, Messy Church was fantastic and I think everyone had lots of fun! More on it later as I’m waiting for the photos, but I can tell you that we’ll probably be having it again in the future.

Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day everybody and hope you have a wonderful day!