A weekend away, and new family-favourite recipes

I’ve been away for a few days visiting my husband’s family on the mid-north NSW coast, in a tiny village near Taree. We stay in my husband’s childhood home where his dad still lives, a federation bungalow-style house on a huge block with perfectly mowed grass. It’s very hot and humid, and there’s no air-conditioning, just a few ceiling fans. But in the 11 years I’ve been visiting, it has grown on me: the appalling internet, the lack of Netflix provide a kind of forced ‘retreat’, in which time seems to slow down. I always end up watching interesting evening movies on SBS, that I otherwise would bypass. Last time it was No Country for Old Men (I have seen it twice now and still feel like I don’t quite get it). This time it was Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

I found it amusing, one night after dinner, to watch my two little boys sitting outside on the front verandah steps eating slices of watermelon to cool down, the juices running down their arms – a very Australian cliche. My husband tried to teach our boys to climb a tree, one that he climbed as a kid. He was unimpressed by our four year old’s reaction: “But there’s ANTS! And SLIME!” (moss), and now he is even keener for us to go camping, a prospect that I find… unappealing. :-/

Anyhow, now we are home to the busyness of everyday life, and I’m hoping to share a new recipe next weekend, if I can just find the time to photograph it before then! In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of recent recipes that we have enjoyed, by my IQS buddies, Elise (@healthyfamily5) and Rani (@youtotallygotthis).

Elise’s Ricotta and Spinach Pappardelle with Vegetable Sauce

Elise included this recipe as part of our IQS Instagram Takeover, and I made it the following week. We LOVED it. It’s veggie-packed, with 6 different vegetables, and my kids didn’t notice the extra hidden vegetables in the ‘tomato’ sauce (such as sweet potato!). Elise used pappardelle, but I’m aware her original plan was to stuff giant pasta shells – she just couldn’t find any at the time. It would be delicious as a lasagne too. Get the recipe here and find her on Instagram here.

Elise's (@healthyfamily5) Ricotta and Spinach Pappardelle with Vegetable Sauce

Elise’s (@healthyfamily5) Ricotta and Spinach Pappardelle with Vegetable Sauce (Photograph by Elise)

Rani’s Christmas Shortbread

I actually made this after Christmas, because I’m of the view that shortbread should not be restricted to only Christmas time! These almond-based shortbread biscuits were enjoyed by both sugar-quitters and non-sugar-quitters and were very easy to make, with only a few ingredients required. I used 2 tbsp stevia instead of the 3 suggested, as I have less of a sweet tooth than I used to. It was perfect with the 85% dark chocolate. Get the recipe here (and while you’re there check out her new berry yoghurt pops!), and find her on Instagram here.

Rani's (@healthtrendstested) Christmas Shortbread

Rani’s (@youtotallygotthis) Christmas Shortbread, topped with coconut, bee pollen and edible flowers

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