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Busting those wintery cooking woes

Busting those wintery cooking woes

**A Sponsored Post from Asko Induction Cooktops

By far, the hardest part of returning to work for me has not actually been work itself, but coming home at night and cooking dinner. Winter is the season of comfort food. No matter what type of food that means to you, it will most likely be warm and tasty. It’s so hard to cook things after coming home from work that not only taste great, but are nutritionally good for you and your children. Cooking in the winter tends to bring out a different recipe book that you would normally not utilise during the other months of the year. Winter almost forces people into a sense of hibernation; we crave thick foods that fill both the stomach and the soul with warm deliciousness. I don’t know about you, but I crave home cooking in the winter months, and yet it feels like I don’t have the energy. After renovating our home however, I’ve developed a keen eye towards appliances that help you cook with ease, and look stylish!

Here are some tips to perfect your winter cooking, and if you are like me, keep you sane as you try to juggle work and a family .

Slow Cooker

I’ve been told by everyone to invest in one of these! Honestly, since returning to work, it’s bee so hard to plan our meals and ensure that we eat properly when we get home late. I’ve been assured that slow cookers are my answer. Apparently, Slow cookers are not only energy efficient, but they’re also time efficient. You can prepare your meal in advance, then keep the cooker on while you are at work. The comfort of returning home on a cold evening to a house already filled with the aromas of dinner waiting will soothe you instantly. Slow cookers are perfect for hearty stews, deep pasta dishes, and anything else you can think of. While the advance preparation does not yield immediate reward, the effort you put in early will surely pay off when you return home and have nothing more to prepare for your family’s dinner. A slow cooker forces you to be organised with your meals ahead of time; this helps you to also cut down on buying last minute ingredients or takeaway meals that offer little nutritional value.

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Wok
Possibly my favourite style of cooking, if you have time to pre cut your ingredients!  Similar to a slow cooker, a wok allows you time to prepare your meal then let it simmer for a little while. Cooking with a wok allows you to cook your meals more evenly because of the high sides and small base area. When you return home on a winter day, the last thing you want to do sometimes is cook. A wok is helpful because it lets you prepare healthy meals in a short amount of time. Because it disperses heat evenly, it can hold many ingredients at once, eliminating the need for multiple pots and pans to wash up afterwards. Woks are perfect for creating fresh stir-fry. They also work great for steaming, frying, or sautéing, depending on your preference.

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Induction Cooktop

Induction cooktops are an energy-efficient solution for cooking without gas. During the winter months, your gas usage might increase considerably, and an induction cooktop will provide you a way to ease this. Many people are now considering investing in an induction cooktop as a backup to the gas stove they already use in the winter months. Energy-efficient induction cooktops, like those offered by www.asko.com.au are both easy to clean and safe to use. Many induction cooktops turn off after a certain amount of time or at a maximum temperature; this can ease your mind if you ever find yourself wondering if you forgot to turn the stove off. Induction cooktops are made with a flat glass surface that makes the after-cooking clean-up quicker and less painstaking.

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Cooking in the winter months tends to change once the temperature starts dropping. It’s hard to find the time and energy to cook well, especially if you are working and come home late. There are so many options to help you do this, and some of these ideas may just save your sanity!

kate*All images are copyright free and sourced from Creative Commons

 

Remembering Didda

Remembering Didda

To my dearest Ella & Hudson

I’m writing this now, for you to read in many years to come. Right now, you are too young to understand. Too little to comprehend what it means to have someone close to you pass away. Yesterday we said goodbye to your beloved Didda. It’s hard to find the right words we can use to explain what has happened, where he is now, and why he has gone. Last week he passed away, and right now, all I want to do is keep his memory alive for you, to treasure in your hearts.

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Whilst I cannot help you to understand right now, I CAN help you in years to come, to look back and see how much he loved you. For you to know that your Didda was so incredibly proud of you, and how happy you made him. There are so many memories, many of which you won’t remember. However there are so many little things that we will miss, that I want you to know:

We will miss how he called you his little Champions.

We will miss how we smiled from ear to ear and clapped as your smiled at him.

We will miss his constant fear that you would knock your heads on the coffee table.

We will miss him always telling you not to touch the cactuses.

We will miss him calling you his little ‘Strutca’ – affectionately known as ‘Little Bread / Little One’ in Slovenian.

We will miss him hiding the torch for you to climb up and find behind the couch.

We will miss his love of ‘Deal or no deal’, and the way that Ella would exclaim ‘no deal’ with him

We will miss him eating pancakes with you

We will miss him trying to beat you in a race to finish your chicken soup

We will miss him teaching you words from his home land

We will miss him tinkering in his garage, and you helping him to water the concrete and plants

We will miss him at Rosebud

We will miss the arguments we had over saving the purple Jacaranda, and his annoyance over the mess it makes when it drops its leaves

We will miss seeing his slippers at the back door

We will miss seeing him lift you up to touch the Christmas decorations that hung from the ceiling

We will miss the walks to the shops that he had with you

We will miss the look of love that he had for you, and the way in which he held you in his arms

We will miss the way you yelled ‘Didda’ with such love and adoration.

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Ella and Hudson, you were so blessed to have your Didda in your lives. We will all miss him. He loved you dearly and was truly at his happiest when you were with him. In  the years to come, I want you to know that each time we talk about him, or look at a photo, he brought you so much happiness.

These memories will love in our hearts forever.

Love Mum  & Dad xx

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A Merry Korber Christmas

A Merry Korber Christmas

I can’t believe it’s here again. Christmas 2014. Seriously, how did that happen? This year, it is every so joyful in our house, as Hudson celebrates his first Christmas. Ella is of the age where this time of year is truly magical, and she is becoming a bit of a Christmas nut, just like me. We are also so incredibly excited to be celebrating our first Christmas in our newly renovated home. With the tree up, decorations hung and stockings dangling above our new fireplace, the scene is set for what we know will be a wonderful couple of weeks.

Each year, I bring out the old favourites, and add to my collection with a new few friends. Christmas in my house is all about memory. Each decoration, or ornament has special meaning. As we place them around the house, they remind me of happy times, and also people who have left us. It’s a time that I truly become a child again, as I remember all of the things that make this time special. Growing up in a large family, this meant getting our real tree decorated, watching Christmas cartoons, making gingerbread houses and chocolate trees and playing Christmas carols.

Here are a few snaps of my home…

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All I wish for at this time of year, is health and happiness for my family and friends. This week has been an incredibly hard one in Australia, and I simply hope that the following week can bring some happiness back into homes across our beautiful country. It’s time to enjoy the simple things with family, and truly appreciate the magical smiles on our children as they anticipate the arrival of the man in red! Tonight we’ll take our kids to the Boulevard in Ivanhoe to walk along and admire the lights that have traditionally been held for decades. On Christmas Eve, we’ll spend the night with Dan’s family – an Eastern European tradition. Christmas morning will be just us, fun with our beautiful children, and then we’ll head to my family’s home for a day in the sun, and hopefully a swim in the pool. There is nothing like Christmas in Australia.

So whether you are celebrating in summer, or having a white Christmas, I wish you all, a safe, happy and joyous time. I’ll be taking a break from the blog for a few weeks, but will be back, bigger and better in 2015! Our print store will also be closed until early January as we take a family break!

So until then, here is our annual Christmas Card! Click on the image below to see the animation!

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Merry Christmas and thanks for all your support this year!

kate

Family fun in Fiji

Family fun in Fiji

Last week we enjoyed our first family holiday since our little man was born. All four of us packed up for a week of fun in the sun, as we jet setted off to the family friendly Fiji. I must admit, I was a little nervous, not of the destination, but of the challenge of just getting there! I was determined to pack light, but this concept is almost impossible when you need to take a week’s supply of nappies x 2, swimming nappies x 2, formula, bottles, snacks etc. etc. That said, I was pretty stoked to get everything loaded into three suitcases, and given the fact that our hotel was providing us with a portacot, we were in fact, pretty lucky. Given the fact that Ella is now two and a half, she had her own seat, and this helped immensely. We’ve always been pretty lucky that she travels really well on planes (thankyou Steve Jobs for the iPad), and we were hoping that our little man would be the same. After  a five hour flight we arrived, and an hour car ride later (with Ella in the back seat, and Dan holding Hudson in the the baby Bjorn!?!), we arrived at our hotel – the Shangri La Resort.

I’ve been asked loads of questions about our trip since returning, so I thought I’d share some of the highlights. This hotel is definitely family friendly. Everything is catered towards families. If you have kids four years and above, the Kids Club is wonderful. Ella was too young to go along, but we could see the other children having heaps of fun. The hotel is huge. Literally huge. It is situated on it’s own island on the Coral Coast. It is very far away from anything else (apart from other resorts), so this kind of holiday is the one where you stay put. The people would have to be the best part of Fiji. Absolutely beautiful, greeting you with a friendly ‘Bula’ each and every time they pass. They volunteer to take care of your children for you if you are struggling to get through a meal (as we were on our first night). You can hire baby sitters if you want some alone time, we thought we would do this before we went, but in fact, we just had such a nice time with the kids that we didn’t end up getting them!

All in all, it was a wonderful week. Let’s face it, no matter where you go, it is just great to have your family together.

Here are some happy snaps showcasing the beautiful holiday…

Island paradise…

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The Shangri La has it’s own private beach on the coral coast…

 

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Blue skies, blue water…

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mastering ‘floaties’ for the first time!

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baby’s first swim in the ocean…

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he came home with two teeth…

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she got her hair braided….clearly loved it!

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the view from our room….

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our little island princess.

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My boys…

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Celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary with the loves of our lives…Screenshot 2014-11-18 09.16.57

It was a wonderful week. To check out the Shangri La and deals they may have, visit their website here. 

Until next time, Bula!!!

kate

Friday Finds: Healthy Mumma

Friday Finds: Healthy Mumma

Screenshot 2014-06-05 08.46.14As you know, I’m passionate about supporting local Mums and Dads who have found their calling and create fabulous products and experiences to keep parents and kids happy and healthy. I am sent products all the time for review, and only share those that I believe may help in some way. There is nothing more satisfying than sharing success stories of people who have made a difference and taken a leap of faith to pursue something they are passionate about. It gives me great pleasure this week to share the story of my cousin, Lisa who has recently created her own brand ‘Healthy Mumma‘.

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Healthy Mumma is a new brand bringing delicious, tasty and healthy food to mums and their families. It was established in 2014 by Lisa, who has always loved food and has a passion for health and well-being since becoming a mumma to her 2 children. She believes strongly that a happy, healthy mum leads to a happy, healthy family.

Like many women, Lisa started looking more closely at what she was eating when she was planning to start a family. Learning about clean foods and the health and lifestyle benefits they provide during conception, pregnancy, for young children and busy parents had Lisa interested. But, when she started looking into recipe ideas, she found the options out there were too focused on healthy eating, and not enough about enjoying good food. And this is where Healthy Mumma was born!

Healthy Mumma is here to show you that healthy food need not be bland and boring food. All her recipes are designed to be healthy AND delicious. Healthy Mumma is not a diet. She aims to provide easy to access healthy nutritional products, recipes, information and other tools to help you make some changes. All so that you too can build a sustainable lifestyle around providing delicious, tasty and healthy meals for you and your family.

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Lisa’s e-cook book has recently been launched to great success. Incorporated is range of healthy, quick and simple recipes for families, this book has already proved to be a hit as samples of yummy dinners are shared across Instagram and Facebook. Her tips are really practical as she also helps you plan ahead for your busy week.

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The e-book provides fantastic recipes that cater for all dietary requirements, including; gluten free, sugar free, vegan, dairy free, nut free and full paleo eating plan. It is divided into simple sections covering:

  • breakfast
  • smoothies
  • entrees and soups
  • salads
  • mains
  • sides
  • sweets
  • condiments and treats

Lisa also produces a range of clean eating products; including sauces and pastes, healthy treats, nut mixes, pantry staples, spice mixes and superfoods. Created from nutritional ingredients, these products make your cooking even easier as you simply use them to create your yummy meals. My favourite has to be the Laksa paste and Morocan spice mix! 

Moroccan Spic Mix - $10
Moroccan Spic Mix – $10

Subscribing to her website also keeps you in the know of all the latest advice, tips and ideas for clean eating for your family.

As  an every day Mum, Lisa has inspired so many Mums that I know to take better care of themselves and their families. Healthy Mumma can help you do this!

Follow Healthy Mumma on the web, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can download her Healthy e Book by clicking the image below. It is a bargain at $14.99!

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Best of all, Lisa is offering Happy Ella After readers the chance to win your own copy of her Healthy Mumma e-cook book! Stay tuned for details of this great giveaway on Monday!

It’s always a great idea to support local, and this Mum deserves it!

kate

And then there were four!

And then there were four!

Well it has been a hectic couple of weeks in the Korber household. Four weeks early, Hudson James Korber just couldn’t wait anymore, and decided to make a grand and surprising entrance into our world. We are not sure if he simply wanted to meet his big sister early, or was eager to prove that he could beat our renovation deadline. Either way, we are completely thrilled and over the moon to welcome our little man to our growing family. Blessed with ‘one of each’ , like all parents do we just feel extremely lucky and grateful to have him here. Pure joy and love.

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Minutes old – Hudson James Korber

His entry into this world was an interesting one. A story that will indeed baffle many and surprise some. I gave birth to Ella on a 43 degree day. On that day, Daniel suggested we go out for dinner, and enjoy my ‘last supper’ of choice. Without hesitation, I chose Jacks Satay Bar. A favourite amongst Essendon folk, it has the best Malaysian food in Melbourne. It was one day before my due date, and as most 40 week pregnant ladies do, had been feeling quite uncomfortable in the days prior. That said, it was the height of summer and I just thought it was the heat. During dinner (after entrée) I had a ‘show’ and we immediately left the restaurant (after paying of course). The rest is history, and our Ella was born.

And then there were four...
And then there were four…

Last Friday I went for what I thought would also be one of my ‘last suppers’ with three of my best friends. We had all been blessed with the birth of our first children in the same year, and one of these girls was also expecting her second child, three weeks before me. Given the fact that I had four weeks to go, I was not at all worried about going out for dinner, on this occasion again to Jacks Satay Bar. A few sarcastic messages had been flying throughout the day from both my friends and family about being careful ‘returning to the scene of the crime’. I wasn’t fazed about going back to Jack’s Satay Bar, so close to being due, and given the fact that I love their food so much, I was prepared to travel to the ends of the earth for their infamous ‘roti rolls’.

So it was very surprising that during dinner, I started to feel my waters break. Joking with my friends, they googled possible symptoms during my frequent trips to the toilet. I wasn’t sure if ‘was or wasn’t’ something, as my waters never broke with Ella. I knew it had to be something to check out, but was both dismissive and in denial of the fact that I was going into labour four weeks early, at the SAME restaurant where I went into labour with Ella. Surely it couldn’t be happening again. Could it? Well four days later, after a stop, start labour, my question was answered. For some reason I went into labour early, and our beautiful little boy just wanted to meet us. A crazy coincidence, or was it something in their food? Needless to say, I’ll be making a phone call to let them know of their magical powers. Hopefully next time I’ll get through a meal without anything happening!

Our little man arrived a little small, and as I’ve come to know, as a premature baby he has some growing to do. He has had to remain in hospital after we came home, something that broke my heart. I felt strong and calm until we got into the lift, as I struggled with a mixture of emotions. I know it is the best thing for him, and he is is in the most amazing care. However there is something that feels so wrong about coming home without your baby. Each day we venture into the Freemasons Epworth Special Care Nursery for two feeds and time for cuddles. The nurses are so supportive and caring. They made my Mothers’ Day last weekend by creating the most beautiful card with his footprints. A small gesture that was appreciated so incredibly. It’s hard to juggle your emotions, and remain strong for both your partner and toddler. We are so conscious of Ella’s world being thrown into disarray. That said, we know how incredibly blessed we are to have such amazing support of family. We know it could be far worse. I have met so many families in the SCN who have been faced with months of special care and travel in and out of the hospital. It gives you a great sense of perspective, and I know that in the grand scheme of things we are very lucky.

The beautiful card given to me by the nurses in the Freemasons special care nursery.
The beautiful card given to me by the nurses in the Freemasons special care nursery.
Snug as a bug in a rug...
Snug as a bug in a rug…
His big sister, the big helper...
His big sister, the big helper…
Holding hands for the first time...
Holding hands for the first time…

So until we can bring him home, we will stay positive and just keep plugging away to help him do what he needs to do. We have received so much support from so many, and I’d like to thank you all for everything. The little messages help so much, and from one Mum to another, I am truly grateful.

I look forward to writing his welcome home post, and celebrating in style. Until then, give your babies a cuddle and keep them close to your heart.

kate

Family fun with the Australian Ballet

Family fun with the Australian Ballet

Screenshot 2014-03-17 09.05.13A week ago, I was lucky enough to be invited along to a beautiful night of dancing at the Telstra Ballet in the Bowl.  Telstra Ballet in the Bowl is a FREE evening of ballet under the stars. To celebrate 30 years of partnership between Telstra and The Australian Ballet, this year’s event featured excerpts from a range of favourite works, including The NutcrackerThe Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and more. Families were encouraged to bring bring a rug and a picnic, and enjoy a spectacular evening of ballet’s best, accompanied by Orchestra Victoria.

If Ella was a little older, I would have taken her myself, but I decided to take my life long friend, fellow Mummy and lover of all things Ballet..Laura. We were amazed (and a little excited) to take our seats near the front of the stage and take in the atmosphere. I was equally astonished at the sheer numbers of people who had come along, literally thousands, to enjoy such a beautiful evening. Families, children, teenagers and older couples. All having a great night out in Melbourne.

Here are a few snaps from our lovely night out..

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However the fun doesn’t end there. If you have children who love to dance, then the Australia Ballet offers a wide range of programs, public performances and workshops that would suit any family. Ballet Centre Tours allow you to gain an insight into the magical world of ballet, from the dancers to the costumes. Open to all from ages 6 and up, this would be a wonderful way to give your kids a unique glimpse into the world of Ballet.

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Have an aspiring Ballerina? Why not take them to an Australian Ballet class? Open from Ages 10 and up, this would also bring them closer to their idols and help them see how a life of ballet could indeed be their own. Similarly, if you have a boy who loves to dance, they might like to go along to the Boys Day and meet some of the male dancers! Bring your autograph book along to People’s Day, and meet the company, ask questions and feel the ballet love!

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And finally, I look forward to taking Ella along to Once Upon a Time – Story ballets are a wonderful introduction to the art form for children. This engaging 60-minute performance will feature fully staged excerpts from much-loved story balletThe Nutcracker, with narration by one of the central characters and live musical accompaniment. Once upon a time has been specially designed for families with children aged 4 and up and is the perfect activity for the September school holidays.

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So whether or not it is you, or your children who love to dance, be sure to stay tuned to the Australian Ballet for public programs family friendly events around Australia throughout 2014.

kate