Archive for the ‘Kitchen’ Category

A Word with Sarah Webb

January 18, 2012

Sarah Webb is the talent and brains behind Vivenda, a fabulous service that frees up your time and feeds you and your family nutritious and delicious meals.

I asked her to share some insights into how she manages to keep on top of things, and sane, while running her business.  Here’s what she said…

Sarah, I know you have a lot “on your plate”, do you prefer a paper or electronic diary to keep track of all your appointments?  Both.  Electronic so that I get pop-up reminders, I use my iPhone; but also paper so that I can look at it if I’m making an appointment with someone while I’m on the phone.  I have to be very conscientious about keeping both updated.

I’ll bet!  What’s your favourite iPhone App? Urbanspoon. I can feel like an in-the-know local wherever I am by checking out the restaurant reviews.

Tell us about a favourite organising tool.  It would have to be Excel, I love a good spreadsheet!  I like to be quite systematic about things and keep good track of what is going on in the business and Excel lets me do this simply & effectively.  For example, looking at my favourite spreadsheet I can tell you that my most popular dishes are Chicken, Leek & Pancetta Pie and Meatballs Napoletana!

Yum!  And that is very organised.  How do you reward yourself for your achievements?  Usually it’s by buying myself a new tool or gadget for the kitchen, I got some beautiful new tart tins to celebrate my first 6 months in business.

I can see a theme there.  You are very passionate about food.  How do you spend your down time?  I hang out with my niece and nephews as much as I can. They live 3 minutes away so I manage to find an excuse to drop in on them very regularly!

Thanks for spending time with us, Sarah!


Someone’s in the Kitchen

January 16, 2012

Someone’s in the kitchen whipping up a delicious storm… and it isn’t me.

I want to introduce you to a fabulous service, launched by a clever and talented woman.  Vivenda is the brainchild of Sarah Webb, and is the answer to many a prayer.

The hardest work you will do is select from an extensive menu and provide a kitchen for Sarah to work in.  The rest is up to her.

So if meal planning and preparation is just too much, or you want to impress without the stress, this is something for you.

Ready Set Christmas – Say Yes Please

December 16, 2011

Are you hosting any meals or parties over the festive season?  Ever heard the phrase, “How can I help?”  And have you ever turned down the offer of help?

Are you crazy???

No seriously, I know it sometimes seems the polite option, or perhaps you’d rather have complete control.

Today I challenge you, when asked if you need help, to say “Yes please”.

And more than that, have a list of things you need doing or foods you’d like brought.

And if people don’t ask, go ahead and ask them!

or not 😉

Ready Set Christmas – Order Meats

December 5, 2011

The local butcher, fishmonger or providore is ready, willing and able to provide you with top quality meat for your festive meal.  I know it may seem easier to just go and buy a frozen turkey but here are some good reasons to order fresh meat from the butcher…

  • the quality is better
  • you can customise your order – stuffing or not, boned or not
  • no need to calculate defrosting time
  • no need to make room in the freezer
  • support local business in your community

So, make friends with your local butcher or other supplier, and order now for great quality meat on your dining table.

or not 😉

Friday Fun with Margarine Containers

November 11, 2011

Thanks to Peter Walsh for sharing this one on Facebook.

It’s so clever and beautiful.


A Word with Chris Owen

October 12, 2011

My friend, Chris Owen, has joined our “A Word with” series. I asked Chris about how her business Pink Apple got started, what keeps her organised so she can focus on that business, what she does when she’s not working, recipes that shorten time in the kitchen and even what her shoe collection looks like. So here’s a Word with Chris Owen…

The last 20 years of my previous career as a nurse were spent working with couples adjusting to new parenthood or coping with the traumas of IVF while grieving their infertility.  Both situations are extraordinarily stressful and impact on couples not just individuals. In the meantime, my husband and I were continuing to learn how to be married and happy.  While we’re still learning, it’s now 37 years so I guess we’ve got some practice under our belts!!  So for me when I studied education and counselling, relationships were really where my interests lay.  Hence why Pink Apple is focused on delivering resources to help couples have better and satisfying relationships.

Those who know me know I’m a shocking gadget queen!!!  I loves me the occasional toy!!!!  So there’s no question that my iPhone, iPad, and Outlook on my desktop, all synchronise using Google Sync.  And thanks to wireless and Google I don’t even have to do anything but enter appointments into one of them!  LOVE it!  Hated the heavy diary I used to lug around and struggled to sync the Palm Pilot I used to own!!

I’ve already confessed to my gadget fetish so I can smugly say I have about 8 pairs of shoes. But it’s not quite as frugal as it sounds.  Walking hospital corridors for all those years has meant my feet are ruined and constantly painful.  So I have shoes and orthotics to manage that.  None of the shoes are pretty and none have a heel any more.  Sigh!  But even at my worst it was only ever about 20 pairs.  My hubby thought that was an outrageous number, so I had to enlighten him about some women I know!!

The hardest thing about getting organised is overcoming that voice in my head that says “but I might need that”.  With Angela’s help I’m a lot more ruthless and I’ve got much better at throwing something out if I bring something in.  I also have more regular decluttering sessions in which I can actually be much more ruthless.  I once helped my sister declutter her kitchen when she was about to move house.  She’s never forgiven me for insisting that her “stupid fondue thingy” would never come back into fashion again!

After all these years of waiting for children to grow and leave home, my husband and I at last got to start travelling earlier this year.  And oh dear!  The travel bug has well and truly bitten us.  My dream travel location has always been Ireland.  I’ve always felt my ancestors calling me from there.  On our trip, we toured around Ireland for a couple of weeks, and there’s no doubt we’ll go back again to that magical place!  However, I also discovered Paris!  Need I say more?

One of my favourite throw-together meals uses stuff that we have in our pantries and fridges.  It’s essentially a flavoured Baked Potato without the oven!

Get a clean non-green potato per person (Or is it just me that finds the occasional potato gone green in the pantry?). Gather any of these ingredients or anything you wish to substitute.

  • Canned salmon
  • Canned baked beans
  • Butter/margarine
  • Garlic butter
  • Pesto
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Coleslaw
  • Thin sliced capsicum (raw or from jar of fire-roasted)
  • Sliced beetroot
  • Grated carrot/zucchini
  • Mushroom
  • Canned corn
  • Seeded mustard
  • Cooked bacon pieces (if you want to cook then chop and do in a bowl in microwave with some paper towel under and over)
  • And of course salt and pepper as desired.

Pierce potato with a skewer a few times and cook whole in the microwave.  They take somewhere between 1-4 mins per potato, depending on size and density/waxiness so do them one minute at a time and pierce to check!  When cooked cut through the centre and divide again (as many times as you wish) then place on a plate/ in pasta bowl and add any ingredients as desired.

Chris Owen of Pink Apple is a Relationship Coach/Advisor to people who fear that their relationship might not stand the test of time.  She helps them become skilled and confident at avoiding old destructive relationship behaviours.

She’s Melbourne-based but hangs out on the internet a lot!  You can subscribe to her blog or follow her on Facebook at

Lovely Leftovers

September 26, 2011

Are there leftovers from the weekend in your fridge?  What are you plans for them?

After a Sunday full of visitors and good food, here’s what’s happening at my house…

  • Half an avocado will provide an easy lunch (avocado on toast with some salt & pepper)
  • Leftover Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Bake will make 2 hot lunches or one evening meal
  • Extra steamed asparagus and roasted tomato will make a head start on tonight’s dinner
  • Extra upside-down berry cakes make a luscious treat or dessert, with enough to freeze in individual portions as well
  • the remains of a bottle of red wine will go into a spaghetti sauce

We’d love to hear about clever things you do with leftovers.

Lids with No Pots

September 22, 2011

My mother always used to say,

For every pot, there is a lid.

She was referring to love, meaning that for every person, there was a good match out there, someone who could “complete” them.

But let’s think about this literally for a moment.  Is there a lid for every pot in your kitchen?  Is there a pot for every lid?  Are there lidless pots and potless lids lurking in the deep corners of your cupboards?  Why are they still there?  And what are they waiting for?

If your kitchen has extra cupboard space you don’t need, and you have spare time to search through that space, then keeping extra lids or pots will work just fine for you.

But for the rest of us, who want to save space and time, let’s keep only those things which serve a purpose, ok?

Kids in the Kitchen

September 19, 2011

I am a big fan of family communication, as well as giving children responsibilities and some input into family life. And this applies to meal planning as well.

What would happen if you gave over the task of meal planning to the children of the family, just for one week?

Think about it, here’s an opportunity to introduce discussions about nutrition (making good choices), time management (selecting meals which are achievable), budgeting (they could even do research about costs) and consideration for others.

If this sounds too extreme, could you give over control for one day each week?

Remember, this is also an opportunity to delegate in the long term.

Home Delivery

August 29, 2011

Hands up who does NOT have a busy life?

Ok, so the rest of you… do you enjoy grocery shopping?  No?

One way to get the shopping done without trudging around the supermarket is to have it home delivered.

Check out these options for both fresh produce and full grocery options.

For all you need to know about Meal Planning there’s the Meal Planning Made Easy eWorkbookClick here to get yours.