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July 7, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
0 comments

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

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When I was in my twenties I had a love affair with Thai food. I fell head over heels for the delicate balance of flavours. Not just eating Thai food- I loved to cook it. I would visit our pokey little Asian grocery, over powered by strange smells and fascinated by all the bottles and jars. I’d load up with unreasonably cheap meat, herbs and veg, dreaming of the culinary creations to come.

I don’t make Thai nearly as often these days. Some might argue that kids can eat bold flavours and spices, and I don’t disagree with them. I’ve just been very slow to offer them to my already quite fussy kiddos. Perhaps Thai food will unlock the secret to their taste buds!

Our family dinner table sees a lot of meat and three veg, casseroles, pastas…. meat and three veg. Did I say that already? I do look forward to Friday nights though. For some reason I always seem to need a special meal on a Friday night. Something that says “Hello Weekend! Pleased to see you!”. It might be homemade gourmet pizzas or a rich pasta dish that we enjoy with a glass of wine (not the kids, obvs!). Lately, though, I’ve been firing up my wok and getting back to that fresh, hot, spicy, sour, sweet and delicate Thai flavour.

Last week I made these spicy chicken noodles and they really hit the spot. I love a big bowl of steaming noodles with a kick to them. This week I reinvented an old favourite. Years ago I used to make a rich, creamy Tom Ka Gai (Thai Chicken Soup) almost weekly. It was slightly sour at the back of the throat with a big punch of lime. Delish! I wanted to find that flavour again but ease up on the creaminess while bulking up the veg content. This is what I came up with.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

500g chicken breast
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2cm knob of ginger, crushed
1 stalk of lemongrass, bashed but left whole
5 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 small red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
2 bok choy, thinly sliced
5 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 large red chillies, thinly sliced (optional)
1.25 litres of chicken stock
270ml coconut milk
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar
the juice and zest from 1 lime
fresh coriander leaves

Method:

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Fry off the garlic and ginger until fragrant, then add in the lemongrass, lime leaves and vegetables and cook until just starting to soften.
  • Pour in the stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce and palm sugar and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Throw in the chicken breasts and simmer until just cooked through, approximately 15 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.
  • Add in the lime juice and zest, taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Remove the chicken breasts, shred the meat and return it to the pot.
    Serve with fresh coriander leaves.
  • This soup is packed full of flavour, but is still mild enough to offer to kids. The two chillies I used had hardly any heat, however if you’re concerned about the chilli just leave it out.

    What kind of food do you love to cook? Or do you prefer to dial for your food?

shoes

June 30, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
16 Comments

Finding My Style – From the Inside Out

Finding My Style - From the Inside Out

Now for another update on how I’m going with the Make It Look Easy girls, Nat and Tatum. You can catch up on my previous posts here:

In the past month I’ve been focusing a lot more on my health, with amazing support from Tatum, my personal health coach. Like many women in my age and stage of life I’m battling with a little extra weight around the middle. To be honest, I’ve always battled the bulge a little, I’ve tried every diet that ever was. Seriously. I’ve jumped on every dieting bandwagon that was rolling past. You know what? Diets. Don’t. Work. Yes, you lose weight. But the weight ALWAYS comes back. I’m so very over that game. It’s time for something new.

Over to Make It Look Easy and Tatum. When Nat and Tatum visited me as a part of the MILE High First Class Personal Package Tatum went through my pantry and helped me figure out what might help keep me healthy and which stuff needed rethinking and replacing with an alternative. She also asked me about what kinds of meals we’re eating, which foods my kids like, what exercise I am able to fit in and enjoy and what my health goals are. Then Tatum went away and worked her magic and came back to me with a very individual plan. We keep in regular contact about how I’m going and adjust the plan as we need to.

I’m taking things very slowly. I don’t want to crash diet, lose 15kg and then gain it all back again. I’m doing this very simple thing called eating healthy and exercising. No food is off limits, but I’m much more conscious of what I’m eating and why I’m eating it. Emotional eating is a big problem for me (tell me I’m not alone, right?!). I’m trying hard to stop that, and …. mostly… I’m succeeding. I’m still human. And that’s ok.

The best part for me is that I’m really enjoying exercise again. I’m actually looking forward to it some days, and get really disappointed if I can’t fit it in. Sure, there are days where it’s really hard to get going, but mostly I just want to move my body and feel that strength, tone, and energy improve every time. I always feel AWESOME after a good workout and it helps to keep me focused on eating right for the rest of the day.

Focusing more on my insides has also helped me enjoy the outside more. I’m feeling GREAT in clothes that I used to feel uncomfortable in and I’m stepping outside my fashion comfort zone more and more. I can’t wait to share more with you about that and how Nat has transformed the way I get dressed every day.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned about improving my health and fitness, without dieting. I hope they help you too.

How to Stop Dieting and Get Healthy!

  • Avoid the scales. They just mess with your head.
  • Find healthy foods that you LOVE and can’t wait to eat. Fill up on those and listen to your tongue and tummy sing. My favourites at the moment are juicy nashi pears, spicy tuna salad (I ate this one ten days straight! YUM!), healthy banana muffins and sweet herbal tea. You can find more yummy recipes from Make It Look Easy on Pinterest.
  • Stop. Think. Then eat. One of my biggest hurdles is stopping to think about whether I’m hungry or really need that extra row of chocolate before I eat it. One way that I’ve overcome this is to keep a photo journal of my food. You don’t even have to write it down, just snap a pic before you eat. It helps me to listen to what my body needs.
  • Keep busy. This might sound ridiculous, because most of us are already super busy. But sometimes food finds it’s way into my hands when I’m procrastinating about one of the 157 things I should be doing. Make a list of stuff that needs doing or that you want to do and instead of reaching for the fridge, go a get something done. Not only will you avoid eating unnecessarily but you’ll get stuff crossed of your list and feel good for it. I love a good session of list completion.
  • Move more. This was really hard for me to start doing. I have gone from doing NO exercise to exercising at least three times a week. Give yourself two weeks to get into it. It will be hard at first but soon you’ll be loving it. Or at the very least you’ll be loving how it makes you feel. Some of the ways that I’ve found ways to move more are going for a walk with the kids, using our much neglected treadmill, trying out a few classes at the local gym and following along with exercise videos on You Tube. My aim is to get huffy puffy. If I’m not huffing and puffing then I push harder until I am.
  • Be kind to yourself. I’ve spent many years being really, really good at beating myself up. This might sound naff, but lately when I hear that mean, nasty voice as I walk past the mirror, I stop and find something positive to tell myself instead. It feels a bit silly at first but I’m happy to say that it’s coming more naturally.

Would you like to join the Make It Look Easy club and start feeling and looking good? For just $9.95 per month you’ll get the latest MILE ebook delivery straight to your inbox, packed full of all you need to know about fashion, health and making it look easy. You’ll also get access to the closed MILE Facebook Group where you’ll find the most welcoming group of women to chat fashion, health, life and brioche tummies. It’s all completely private, only members can see the messages posted there. I can’t recommend this enough, it’s just the best.

What’s your favourite way to get moving and stay fit?

June 23, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
0 comments

Balloon Squishies

Balloon Squishies

We’ve been having some cold, wet, loooong days lately. We love getting outside and splashing in puddles, but there’s only so much washing I can cope with before I start losing. my. mind. I am a big fan of finding stuff to make and do using the things lying around the house and that takes very little effort, and this week has been no exception. I’ve always got a bag of balloons in the cupboard because balloons = awesome. Play dough is another staple play ingredient in this house. Put em together and you get balloon squishies!

These little guys and gals are fun to squish and squeeze, to add to pretend play or to role play different emotions with kids. Pebble decorated her own balloon squishies and named them after everyone in our family. To make your own just push some play dough inside a balloon, tie a knot and draw on a face with a sharpie. Instant fun!

Tip: to get the balloon into the play dough make several small, grape sized balls of dough the stretch out the balloon using two hands while your little person throws the dough into the balloon. I managed to fill a few on my own too, using my index fingers to stretch out the balloon and my other fingers to grab the dough and push it into the balloon. Yep, I was impressed with me too.

Want more ideas for preschoolers? Check out the Three to Five: Playful Preschool ebook, it’s packed full of fun stuff to do.

What would you use these balloon squishies for?

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June 16, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
9 Comments

These days

So, I’m back :) I’ve enjoyed my two week bloggy break, it’s really whizzed by. It’s given me a little time and space to be with my little ones, work on some big deadlines at school and figure out a few of our battles (ugh, kids and food!). The time away has also allowed me to think about the blog a bit. I was interested to see flashbacks thanks to a little app called Time Hop, have you seen it? It’s kind of nifty, it pings you with reminders of what you were up to this time last year, the year before, the year before that, according to what you shared on social media. Aside from showing me just how many typos I make, it’s reminded me of the blog posts I started out writing, when Pebble was a baby. They were simple bits and pieces about our days, the small moments from our lives. I still love sharing activities and recipes and ideas, but I do miss keeping a record of the goings on, to look back on and remember when. You might see a few more of those sneaking in to the blog. Things might be slow to ramp around here though – my laptop is currently in a coma. I know! I could just cry. While I figure out if it’s able to come back to life I’m suffering with sharing hubby’s ancient laptop or using apps on my mobile. This is not ideal! But it’s not the worst thing that could happen. While I sort out that little problem here’s a peek at one of our wintery days out and about. 20140616-135523-50123142.jpg 20140616-135522-50122202.jpg 20140616-135522-50122738.jpg What kinds of blog posts do you like to read?

June 2, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
3 Comments

Taking a break

Sh. I'm in my quiet place.
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I’m going to take a wee little break from this blog for a couple of weeks. I have a lot on my plate right now and need a little breathing room. Besides, all the bloggy experts say that taking a break is one of the best things you can do for your blog. And who am I to argue?

I’ll be keeping myself occupied with writing school reports, trying to get this almost 15 month old boy to sleep and eat properly (don’t even ask) and focusing on loved ones. Next week would have been Ryan’s 30th birthday, and that’s kinda hitting me where it hurts (don’t worry, I’m ok).

I will be back on 16 June. Until then x

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