Now that Juniordwarf goes to school, I only have one day a week at home with him.
What this means is that all the home/mum ‘stuff’ I used to do on two days I now only get one day to do. Last year we had organised activities on both days, so with getting ready, going to whatever it was, doing errands on the way home and whatever else we did, those activities ended up taking at least half of each day. By the time we got home from those activities, neither of us really ever felt like doing much for the rest of the day.
It also meant that I felt a lot less inclined to do any meal planning or cooking in preparation for lunches and morning teas, so basically I never did any of that.
Well this year it turns out that there is no organised activity anywhere that I'm aware of on our 'home' day, which is great. You know why? Because we don’t ‘have’ to be anywhere at all. We have the whole day to do whatever we want. If we have to do errands, we can finish them in an hour or so, and be back home before we know it, rather than have to extend the time we’re away from home when we go out to do something structured.
So I’ve decided that Tuesday is going to be our ‘preparation for the week’ day. We’ll do the shopping, bake some treats for morning tea, make anything we need for meals during the week, do the washing . . . and we’ll hang around, build forts, read books, tell stories, listen to music, go out into the garden . . . whatever we want to do. And we'll have time to do, if not all of it, then most of it.
Today was the first day of this, and it was fantastic.
I may have overestimated what I thought I could get done and it's true, I ended up still in the kitchen at 9pm cleaning everything up, but today Juniordwarf and I baked some ANZACs and some banana bread, we made savory toast for lunch, I made chicken stock, dinner and did the time-consuming stuff for tomorrow night’s dinner. We did the shopping, we went to the library, we had coffee (he had a babycino), we did two loads of washing and we played with the dog.
And you know what? Even doing all that stuff, I didn’t feel stressed, or tense or overwhelmed at all (except for the one time where everything had to come together at once at dinner time), and I had one of the best day’s I’ve had with Juniordwarf for ages. I didn’t waste time on the computer, and when I did go on it, I did what I had to do and got off, and I didn’t feel guilty.
It makes such a difference when we have no obligations whatsoever. Much as I’m glad we had the organised activities over the past four years, it’s nice right now for both of us to have a rest.
So in the spirit of the best cooking blogs, here are our recipes:
(Courtesy of the Central Cookery Book, by A.C. Irvine, 17th Edition, Published 1992 – the Tasmanian classic.)
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 cup flour (we use plain wholemeal)
pinch of salt
1 cup coconut
1 cup sugar (we use dark brown sugar)
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
2 tbsp boiling water
6 drops vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Grease 3 oven slides. (We use baking paper and we only need 2.)
3. Gently melt butter and golden syrup (do not boil or burn).
4. Sift flour and salt (I skip this step. Wholemeal flour doesn’t sift well.)
5. Add sugar, cocout, rolled oats and vanilla to flour and salt.
6. Dissolve bicarb soda in water.
7. Mix all ingredients together well.
8. Put out in small balls on oven tray, allowing room for biscuits to flatten and spread out during cooking. (Or in Juniordwarf’s case, squoosh some dough together and throw onto the oven tray.)
9. Bake in oven 10-15 minutes (I recommend watching them very closely after 10 minutes.)
10. Allow to rest on tray for ½ minute before lifting off with a spatula to cool on cake cooler.
(Courtesy of Superorganisermum. Except her recipe has blueberries and I didn’t include them.)
150g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ripe bananas, peeled, mashed (see notes)
2 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
butter, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Grease base and sides of a 7cm deep, 11cm x 21cm (base) loaf pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends
3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale.
4. Add egg, in 2 batches, beating well after each addition.
5. Stir in banana.
6. Sift flour and baking powder over banana mixture.
7. Add milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
8. Spoon mixture into loaf pan. Smooth surface.
9. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (Ours needed over an hour.)
10. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 10 even slices.