Parenting | Lifestyle | Food | No F--king Idea

Tag: lunch

Gnocchi Arrabiata, baby!

Gnocchi Arrabiata, baby!

Last week on my lunch break I was craving my usual chicken and salad banh mi with extra salad and no onion. This particular craving has lasted about six weeks so far with no end in sight. My friend and colleague Mika, on this particular […]

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Day Twelve: Christmas Table Setting Ideas

Do you love entertaining? Yes. Do you love Christmas decorations? Yes. Do you love food? Yes. THEN THIS IS THE POST FOR YOU. Combining all things festive and Christmas and food and hosting and entertaining and eating and being merry, today we will be looking […]

Day Eight: Christmas Traditions (and the ones I want to start)

Day Eight: Christmas Traditions (and the ones I want to start)

As I have mentioned in a few of these Christmas posts, my family has a few things that we do each and every year that make up our own little traditions. The visits from Santa, the morning trips to the cafe, the mojitos in the sun. All of these little moments are what make Christmas what it is for me, and what I want it to be for my son and my own little family. My family have a few other traditions as well, but there are also things that I have always wanted to make part of the Christmas season but haven’t felt like I was able to. As much fun as this time of year is, I am probably the one who gets most excited by Christmas. I am also the only one in my family who places this much emphasis and desire on making things a ‘tradition’. I have no idea where I got this from, but it’s who I am – my name is Leah Cwikel and I am a Christmas-aholic.

Like I mentioned in whatever post it was that I mentioned it in, every Christmas morning Mum, my brothers and I will wake up at the same time, step outside of our rooms and see what Santa has in store for us. After the initial hunting and gathering of presents, and a lot of hugging, Mum and I or my brother and I will head up to the café to make everyone coffees, fresh juice and to pick up whatever other supplies we may need for Christmas morning breakfast (like lemon for the pancakes, or bacon to go with the eggs). Once we arrive back, we will all sit down around the tree drinking our coffees and taking it in turns to give each other presents.

What I haven’t mentioned until now, is that every year we will do all of this donning Christmas hats. That is one of our most serious, steadfast traditions. In the lead up to Christmas every year, we will buy a new set of hats for each of us. There have been elf hats with ears attached, sequined Santa hats, baby pink Santa hats (mum’s choice) and reindeer headbands.

We have done this every year except one where, instead of the hats, my brothers and I went to Big W and bought each of us a ‘bad Christmas t-shirt’. We loved the idea of ugly Christmas sweaters but it is just too hot for that here in Australia (even though the last five or six Christmas’ have been grey and rainy).

It’s a lame tradition but I love it.

Another tradition that comes with our family’s Christmas is the breakfast menu:

–          Coffee (two or three)

–          Juice

–          Pancakes with maple syrup and lemon and sugar

–          Bacon, eggs, roast tomatoes and toast

We always have too much food – especially pancakes. Ever since Jack was little, pancakes have been his favourite. When he was about six, he ate a record eight pancakes and has been trying to beat it ever since. So far, eight is the record. Mum has always made the best pancakes, and I have always loved watching her make them; she has always had really strong, beautiful long nails (which thankfully, she passed on to me as well) and instead of flipping pancakes with a spatula or a knife, she would peel the edges up with her nails, pick the pancake up and flip it over. I was always mesmerised by how she did it and now, it’s how I flip my pancakes too.

Every Christmas Eve for the past five or so years, we all meet up at The Bayview, the pub in Gladesville where one of my brothers work. It has become the pub’s biggest night of the year and there is always EVERYONE you know there, and music, and festive humans (some too festive, really) and it’s close to home and makes for a good few hours of fun before collapsing into bed ready for the big day.

The only other tradition that I can think of is that whenever we crack Christmas bon-bons over lunch, we always read the jokes out to each other and wear the silly paper hats for as long as we can before they get too infuriating to bear.

I have thought about what traditions I want to share and pass on to my children and in my little family for years. I have added to the list of my desired traditions each and every year and, now that we are expecting a little man OH SO SOON, I can finally realise all of them. ALL OF THEM.

I will continue all of the traditions that I have grown up with – ESPECIALLY THE VISITS FROM SANTA – but in addition to them, the traditions I want to introduce are as follows:

 – I want to have a giant box or chest that becomes known as the Christmas Box. It will be where I keep all of our decorations and Christmas knick-knacks and, every time the box comes out, Bub will know that it’s Christmas time – TIME TO GET EXCITED.

 – I want to set up the tree on the same day every year, December first. Each year the Christmas Box will come out and the tree will go up and we will all decorate it, and the house, together.

 – Every December, I want to read Christmas books. I don’t even mind if I read the same ones each year; I find that every time you read a book, especially with big chunk of time in the middle, you get something different out of it.

 – Every December , I want to watch Christmas movies as a family.

 – During the second weekend in December, I want to drive to a road or street in Sydney that is illuminated brightly with Christmas lights; where there are lots of families wandering around, pointing out the different things they see.

 – I didn’t know whether or not I was going to jump on the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ band wagon.. but I am totally all for it. 100%. Couldn’t be more excited for it. Yes. Christmas and elves and yes.

None of the traditions are particularly special or out there or extravagant, but they are what I have always wanted to do in my childhood, teenage and adult years (my whole life) and all I feel is that it will bring my family closer and all I can think of is the happiness, surprise and joy it will bring my son. And that’s what this is all about now, it’s all for him.

Day Seven: Christmas Cocktails

Day Seven: Christmas Cocktails

YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. I have been so excited for this post! I may not be able to enjoy a stiff drink at the moment (and to be honest, I actually haven’t felt like one) but I can still appreciate one, or, the idea of one. I had planned […]

Day Three: Everything I Love About Christmas

Day Three: Everything I Love About Christmas

There is just so much to love about Christmas. So much. And it isn’t just the day itself that I love and look forward to – it is the entire build up to Christmas that I get inappropriately excited for! As it gets towards the […]

The (Oblivious) New Mama’s 25 Days of Christmas

The (Oblivious) New Mama’s 25 Days of Christmas

It’s December! It’s Summer! It’s the festive season! Our Christmas tree is up! Our cat has discovered a love of tearing baubles off the tree and waking us up at 5am by chasing them down the hallway!

Seriously though, I am so freaking excited that it is officially December and now I can let out all of my Christmas love and adoration. This is definitely my favourite time of year; the weather is warmer, the afternoon sky glows yellow with the promise of a summer storm, the promise of Christmas movies, the glow of Christmas lights that illuminate otherwise dark suburban streets, the excitement of buying your loved ones presents and the abundance of food, laughter, alcohol and joy that the festive season brings.

To acknowledge Christmas this year, as well as celebrating the pregnancy and the launch of The (Oblivious) New Mama, I thought that I would do a 25 Days of Christmas countdown. Each day leading up to December 25th there will be a Christmas-themed post. There will be recipes and cocktail ideas, do-it-yourself Christmas craft, gift ideas, movies, books and some more personal posts that will also revolve around Christmas.

Every now and then, as well as a Christmas post I will be punctuating my content with some regular blog posts as well. I have book reviews I need to publish and a baby shower to write about and a pregnancy that changes with each and every day as we edge ever closer to our due date. So, without giving too much away I am so happy to kickstart summer and the festive season of 2018 with The (Oblivious) New Mama’s 25 Days of Christmas!

Big love to you all x

Baby Shower List(s)

Baby Shower List(s)

Lists are my favourite. I have mentioned that several times. Lists give me direction. Lists allow me to plan. Lists let me know when I have achieved things. I have several notebooks that I use specifically for list-making. Planning a baby shower, it turns out, […]

Homemade Meat Pies

Homemade Meat Pies

Meat pies – one of the staples of the Australian way. Four n’ Twenty, Mrs. Mac’s Pies and Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, collectively as a nation, we appreciate the meat pie in all of its simple, wonderful glory. Me, as a pregnant woman and someone […]

Wholemeal Pasta Salad

Wholemeal Pasta Salad

Pete and I eat very differently when it comes to lunches throughout the week. At the moment, all his body wants and needs is carbs and protein which means a lot of rice and pasta and meat and big, hearty meals. I, on the other hand, need lighter meals with lots of vegetables and wholesomeness and goodness. Part of our new life routine is a big clean, a big shop and a big cook on Sundays. A really quick go-to meal of mine is my version of pasta salad (which is nothing like what you picture when you hear the words, pasta salad). It is great for pregnant mamas because you get healthy carbs from the pasta as well as a good dose of vegetables and it fills you up (for the standard twenty minutes before we must feast once more). And it’s great for un-pregnant people for the exact same reasons.



Warm Wholemeal Pasta and Vegetable Salad

Ingredients – 

wholemeal pasta (whatever kind you fancy, I like the tubey twisty ones)





pitted kalamata olives

grape tomatoes

semi-dried tomatoes

baby spinach

minced garlic

salt and pepper

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

tuna (if you’re into it)

Method – 

Cook the pasta and leave aside, it doesn’t matter if it gets cold as you will finish it off in the saucepan

Slice onion thinly and place in a large saucepan with a generous amount of olive oil tablespoon of minced garlic, salt and pepper and fresh basil

Dice eggplant and broccoli and add to the saucepan. Let this cook until the onions and broccoli start to soften and the eggplant starts to brown

Follow this by adding a big handful of uncut grape tomatoes, a handful of semi-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and a splash of balsamic vinegar

Continue to cook until grape tomatoes start to soften and eggplant starts to brown

Add the cooked wholemeal pasta and a bag of baby spinach and stir through (I also like to a small amount of water just to help soften and mix everything)

If you fancy some tuna, now is when you add it – GO GO GO