Saturday, 30 January 2016

A Real Crowd Pleaser - Home Made Potato Bake


Do you love potato bake? Who doesn't right! Well this delicious recipe is sure to keep everyone happy and coming back for more. It's super easy and great to take to the next BBQ or family dinner party. And it's even better the next day!

Serves 4-6 people

What you'll need:
- 1 oven proof baking dish
- Olive oil spray
- 5 medium sized potatoes
- 300 ML of light thickened cream
- 5-6 pieces of shortcut (rindless) bacon
- Dried parsley
- Ground Parprika
- Salt and pepper
- Italian herbs (optional)
- Garlic powder (option)

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees (fan forced)
2. Spray baking dish with olive oil
3. Peel potatoes, cut into cubes and place in baking dish
4. Cut up bacon into small pieces and scatter over potatoes
5. Poor 300 ml of light thickened cream over the potatoes and bacon
6. Sprinkle with garlic powder, paprika, Italian herbs, parsley, salt and pepper
7. Use a spoon and mix it all together to coat the potatoes
8. Cover with aluminum foil and place in over. Bake for 45 mins. Then take foil off and bake for another 10-15 mins until potatoes are cooked, but slightly firm

*hint it works best if served when potatoes are slightly firm, otherwise it goes a little bit mushy! 

**if you aren't allergic to onions, you could also add 1 chopped small onion to the mix

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Love at first sight?

Yesterday the 16th January 2016 was all about wagging tails, cute dogs and puppies and cheeky cats and kittens, all hoping to find their forever home at the RSPCA Adoption day at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Last year, a staggering 10,000 people attended the event and 270 animals were adopted. This year, they wanted it to be bigger and better. Within the first hour, 64 animals had been adopted. By the end of the day, over 415 animals had found their forever home.

The buzz, the excitement and the anticipation were all evident the minute you walked through the doors. We were greeted by the friendly RSPCA volunteer workers who were just as excited to be there as the people searching for their new best friend. There was plenty of laughter, chatter, smiles and the odd tear while you made your way through the aisles of cats and dogs.

I admit, I was one of the many people to shed a small tear.  I walked past one particular dog pen that had a sign saying “I am a special dog” and inside was a dog with 3 legs and the sweetest face you have ever seen. The dogs’ eyes told a thousand stories. When I was able to get a little closer, I then noticed another sign saying “I have been adopted” and inside the pen was this gorgeous special dog with its new family all giving plenty of cuddles. The wagging tail was enough to say that this particular dog couldn’t have been happier. And it was a magical moment to witness.

What I also found truly heart warming was the “I have been adopted” signs on a lot of the pens with older cats and dogs in them. Its no surprise that the cute, tiny, playful puppies  and kittens are quick to be snapped up, but it completely melted my heart seeing the older dogs and cats being adopted also because they too deserve all the happiness in the world.

Each animal had its own story and of course its own personality. I enjoyed a special moment with a beautiful black and white cat where he would stick his paw through his cage and try and grab my hand. I would move it quickly and tap the top of his paw. A few times he was quick enough to grab me and there was plenty of giggles around us as I battled it out with this cat. He was so incredibly playful and I hope that he was adopted.

I’ve seen some feedback about the disappointment of seeing a lot of empty pens as there was a bit of a time delay between animals being adopted and new ones being brought out to fill the pens.

Although I understand the frustration of wanting to find an animal to adopt, especially people who had travelled from the likes of the Gold Coast to attend the event,  I also appreciate the logistics of hosting such an event. The animals were transported from shelters all around Queensland and I can only imagine the amount of work involved to not only plan such an event but execute it also.

As a lover of all animals great and small, I wanted to thank the RSPCA from the bottom of my heart for hosting such an incredible event. Having 415 animals adopted into new homes last night was a fantastic achievement.

If you are looking to add a fur baby to your family, please take the time to check out an adoption shelter near you.

Here are some photos provided by people who were lucky enough to find that special pet.

This is Toby, falling asleep on the job. Picture courtesy of Fiona

Kittens at play. Photo courtesy of Angela

This is Lulu (formerly named Opal. Picture courtesy of Lauren

Picture courtesy of Angela

This is Tux, looking very happy! Picture courtesy of Sam

This is beautiful Bella. Picture courtesy of Kylie

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Breakfast in a wine glass? Yes please!

Now this is how I like my breakfast served! This delicious smoothie packed with all the essential vitamins and minerals to keep me healthy, not only tastes delicious BUT it keeps me full for hours. I wake up everyday really looking forward to my breakfast. And when it takes less than 20 seconds to make and can be consumed on the go (ok perhaps not in the wine glass), there really are no excuses for not starting your day with a healthy balanced breakfast.

But so many people out there are guilty of skipping the most important meal of the day. I've heard all the excuses "I don't have time", "I'd rather sleep in an extra ten minutes", "coffee is my breakfast". 

So why is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Well it refuels your glycogen (energy) levels, it kick starts your metabolism, provides you with energy to keep you going throughout the day and breaks the overnight fasting period (hence the name break-fast) just to name a few!

And did you know that eating breakfast is actually good for your waistline? Research shows those who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight and more likely to be within their ideal weight range compared with breakfast skippers. This is because if you skip breakfast, you are more likely to reach for foods that are high in sugar and fat. 

If you don't have time, get up earlier or choose a breakfast that is quick and easy  (ie smoothie). If you struggle to stomach breakfast, try introducing something small to change your habit (piece of fruit). Having breakfast everyday means incorporating it into your routine. Introduce it slowly and try different foods if you need to. 

I promise you that your body will thank you and you'll not only notice a difference in your energy levels but also your concentration. 

So do yourself a favor - stop making excuses and start having breakfast!