Baking With Mrs Bouw: Home Made Blueberry Muffins!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hello! I've been meaning to share my super easy recipe for home made blueberry muffins for a while now, always a fun one to make with the kids! My girl's and I have made them twice in the last couple of weeks and they love both making them and eating them! They are also a great way to use up any berries you may have in the fridge and I love that all of the ingredients are ones that you almost always have in your pantry and fridge. Yum yum yum!

Mrs Bouw's Home Made Blueberry Muffins


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for muffin tops
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup fresh blueberries


- Heat oven to 200 degrees C and line 8 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners.

- Combine flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder and the salt in a large bowl and stir until well combined.

- Place vegetable oil, egg, milk and vanilla essence in a separate bowl and whisk until combined.
- Add milk mixture to the bowl with flour and sugar then use a fork to combine.
- Using a spatula, gently fold the blueberries into the muffin batter.

- Divide batter between 8 muffin cups (the batter will come to the tops of the paper liners) and then sprinkle a little sugar on top of each muffin.

- Bake muffins 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are no longer wet and skewer comes out clean when tested.
- Transfer muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Enjoy!

Allegra's New Bedroom!

Monday, October 6, 2014

With Allegra's new room now 99% complete, I thought I would share some pics of her new space along with links of where I purchased most of the goodies (please note, some items were purchased for Allegra or Anya's old rooms in our previous homes so may no longer be available). I'm so happy with how it has all come together, it really is so fulfilling seeing your vision come to life! I think it's no secret that I love colour and pattern and include a lot of it in both our home and our wardrobes, so starting a room from scratch can be so hard when it comes to committing to a colour scheme! I don't like to limit myself too much so tend to go with a palette of about three to four main colours to give me room to play. My inspiration often stems from something as small as a cushion, rug or piece of art and in this case, it was the gorgeous, modern and vibrant 'Miss Allegra' cushions I had custom made through Tiny Prints!

My two favourite colours are yellow and pink so I was more than happy to incorporate lots of these two colours into her room and the touches of gold all around just seemed to tie it all in nicely. And you really can't go wrong with a gold polka dot wall now can you... fun fun fun! Another show stopper in this room is the pink velvet quilt! For years and years velvet (even just the thought of it) made my skin crawl... but my heart skipped a beat when I saw this beauty and I didn't hesitate bringing it home with me... and I am so glad I did because it really is just perfect! Allegra's room is such a gorgeous space with an abundance of light, plenty of storage, floor space, her own ensuite and the desk area I created gives her a sense of privacy when she wants to work on a special drawing or craft project. What more could a girl want right?! ;) And she was so gorgeous when she came home from school on Friday when she saw her desk chair had arrived... she busily got straight to 'work'! Anyway, links to most products are included at the bottom of this post, I hope you enjoy the mini tour! :)

Product list:

Pink velvet quilt here
Gold lamps here
Gold polka dot decals here
Cardboard storage suitcases here 
Scalloped nailhead headboard here
'Miss Allegra' cushions here
Desk here
Vienna Peacock chair here
Geometric rug here
Alfred the deer here
Pink elephant print here
LOVE print here
Bushel and a peck ptint here
Flamingo print here
Pink zebra cushion here
Cockatoo bookends here
Vintage hot air balloon here
Golden books here

Baking with Mrs Bouw: Homemade Chicken 'Bouw' Soup!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

With the sudden onset of the much cooler weather here in Chicago (seriously, it was 30 degrees one day and an icy 13 degrees the next... um, hello Melbourne! hee hee), I was craving some good old homemade chicken noodle soup! Growing up, my Mum would make variations of this soup including one recipe where she would make her own egg noodles and another recipe where she would replace the noodles with home made semolina dumplings... yum! As a child, I particularly loved the dumplings and they were always the first thing I would ask for if I was feeling a little under the weather. It's also one dish that makes me feel a little closer if I am missing home :) I decided to replace to traditional noodles with mini farfalle because they are simply just easier for the girls to spoon out themselves (and because us 'Bouws' love our bows) ;) Keeping in mind that I had the girls to consider, I kept this recipe pretty simple but you can add other veggies if you please (i.e. parsnip or onions etc.) along with any other herbs and spices that take your fancy! Oh and I also cheated today and bought a roasted chook from Wholefoods instead of cooking my own (I usually use around three chicken marylands). I just love having a big pot of soup in the fridge as it means I usually get a couple of dinners out of eat (or maybe a lunch or two) and don't have the stress of cooking and cleaning up at the end of a busy day! Plus, homemade soup really is food for the soul isn't it :)

Home Made Chicken 'Bouw' Soup


1 tbs olive oil
1 litre of chicken stock
3 cubes of chicken bouillon (stock cubes) I always throw in a couple of these because they add a little more depth to the stock
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped (I added a few carrot hearts just for the girls)
1 small bunch of celery (roughly six long pieces), washed and chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
4 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of mini farfalle or pasta of your choice
1 store bought rotisserie chicken
Salt and pepper to taste


- Place olive oil and a splash of chicken stock in a large pot on low heat.

- Add the carrot and celery and sautee for roughly one minute.

- Add the remaining stock, bouillon cubes, parsley and water and simmer on low heat for 30-40 mins.

Note: this soup can be whipped up in no time but if you want that authentic homemade taste, the longer you simmer, the better. I usually make mine during the day and by dinner time the flavour are amazing.

- Once the both and vegetables have softened and have been simmering for a generous amount of time, turn up the heat a little and add you pasta.

- Remove skin from your chicken and then using your hands pull off all the meat you would like to add. I used the breast and thigh meat and left the wings and drumsticks for Mr B to gnaw on when he gets home ;)

- Again, for a more authentic feel, instead of using a knife I use my hands to break the chicken up in small bite sized/shred like pieces.

- Throw the chicken into the pot and reduce heat back down to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste. I'm not usually a big fab of black pepper but I think it is a must in this recipe.

- Once the pasta has cooked through I like to turn it off and let it sit in the pot for a while and then slightly reheat again before serving. The true flavours will well and truly be there by this point.

- Served with a piece of fresh bread and butter.

- Enjoy! :)

Sorrow shared...

Friday, September 12, 2014

This post is so far left of centre compared to my usual topics but sorrow shared is sorrow halved right? My heart has felt so very heavy these last few weeks. It seems that every second day has brought sad news as I have found myself sending messages of comfort and condolence more often than not. Almost every few days it seems. And then last Thursday, the weight of sorrow became a little too heavy for this usually hopeful, happy heart of mine... and for the first time in a long time, my spirit, and maybe my heart, feels broken.

If you take away the fact that we were holidaying and honeymooning in an incredible part of the world, last Thursday started like most days. I woke before my alarm (because let's face it, once you have kids you won't be needing one for a long while) and like most mornings, I am the filling in an Allegra and Anya sandwich. Knees in the back, legs streched out horizonatlly across my body. But despite all of the discomfort and despite the fear that us parents encounter at the thought of prematurely waking our little ones, there is no where else I would rather have been. I strategically reached for my phone (yep, I've lost all ability to sleep in these days, even if I am dog tired) and opened up the usuals to catch up on what I'd missed over night. I opened up Facebook and was delighted to see a notification from one of my best friends. She always has something funny to tell me, or some kind of lousy gossip that has us emailing back and forth giggling away like we are still the same naughty girls back in high school. But as my eyes skimmed over her words, my brain could not compute what I was reading. I read it again. And again. And again.

This is the same friend who's comforting voice was the first I heard on the other end of the phone fourteen years ago as I sat in the back seat of the car as my Mum drove us home from the hospital. And I remember it like it was yesterday. All of it. I remember the last few weeks. Because despite being given a 12-18 month diagnosis, that's all it was, a couple of weeks. And I remember those last 48 hours the most... because what I saw and what I felt, that is what nightmares are made of. Whilst I am absolutely grateful to have been there to say a proper goodbye, watching my Dad take his last breath is something that still makes me short of mine when I think about it. And I also remember choking on the words 'he's gone' when I answered my friends call that Thursday afternoon all those years ago. So now, fast forward fourteen years, to read the words that my dear old friend had just suddenly and unexpectedly lost her Mum, well, it flicked a switch. Sandwiched in bed, whilst my three loves slept, I wept. And so did mother nature. It had been a sunshine dream every day since arriving in Mexico but not that Thursday. It rained and it poured well into the night. And the wind and the waves... they were violent and angry and sad. Selfishly, I cried for a good hour before I made my great escape out of bed and called my friend. I needed to find some composure because I'm always the composed one... aren't I? The thing about our friendship is that no matter the distance or time or place, 'we' are always the same. Not many words were needed which I think was a relief, for both of us. After our call I did what makes sense to me. I went to burn off some of the pain and anguish. I adjusted the spin bike in the resort's gym and instead of playing my 'gym' mix I did what many of us crazy woman do in time of crisis, I played my 'depressing sure to make me cry even more' mix. And that's just what I did. I sat amongst a dozen strangers with my head dipped below my cap, my bike spun, and so did my head. And with every push of the pedal I felt my heartstrings pull. And I cried some more.

And tonight, just over a week later as I sit here and type this my friend is saying her final goodbyes to her Mum. I should be there and that breaks my heart a little more. I am so sorry that I am not.

I've felt very fragile this last week and some other news this morning (which hits too close to home to discuss right now) has only added to my fragility. I was just 16 years old when I lost my Dad and despite thinking I was so mature at the time, I was just a girl. Now I am grown, a woman, a wife, a mother, I think my heart is mourning the loss of my father all over again. It hurts just as much as an adult. Somehow, even more. And it is also mourning for those close to me who have lost and will lose. Because to know the pain that they will encounter is sometimes just a little too much.

Tonight whilst the girls were in the bath Allegra turned to me and asked 'You're never going to die, right Mum?!' I looked at her and said hopefully not until I'm really old and really wrinkly and she then replied 'well, it's ok Mum, because I will die too one day and then I will see you in heaven anyway, and Wolfgang too'. Wolfgang is my Dad's name. I'm not overly religious, but I hope she is right about the heaven part.

I'm not sure that this post really has an end point. I think I just needed to spill these words and a few more tears. For me, for my family, for my friend and for her Mum. Because sorrow shared is sorrow halved right? I've been counting my blessings a lot lately and I know I have so much to be grateful for. And it is the love of these blessings that will help heal the little cracks in my heart. So go and hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Every single day. Enjoy and live this precious life we have been given because it really is a gift. May your blessings keep your heart full... and in one piece xxx

Baking with Mrs Bouw: Home Made Muesli!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Earlier in the year I had gotten into the habit of making my own muesli, however, with packing up our life in Sydney and then spending two months with family in Melbourne before arriving in the US, let's just say home made muesli was not on the top of my list of priorities! ;) However, now that we are relatively settled here in Chicago, I am turning my focus back to a healthier lifestyle for all of us! The main reason I was keen to go back to home made was due to the breakfast products (and food products in general) in the supermarkets here. Without going by what is written on the side of the box and judging with your taste buds alone, the foods are either ridiculously salty (and that's coming from someone who loves salty foods... shhhh) or beyond sweet or BOTH (if that's even possible)?! And given breakfast is the most important meal of the day and can often set our 'eating' tone for the day, you can't beat home made and healthy! This recipe is, quick, super yum and so adaptable so you can tailor it to your personal taste adding or subtracting ingredients as you please, And the best part is knowing exactly what goes into it! I serve this up each morning with fresh fruit, a couple of tablespoons of greek yoghurt and just a splash of low fat milk for a little extra moisture! Oh and this recipe made two medium sized jars (picture below).

Mrs Bouw's Home Made Muesli


3 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup mixed dried berries (I use dried blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and raisins)
1/2 cup mixed unsalted nuts, chopped (I used all natural almonds, walnuts and cashews) roughly
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
2 tbs milk
2 tbs coconut oil


- Preheat oven to 180°c.

- Line a large baking tray with baking paper and set aside.

- Place oats, coconut, nuts, mixed berries and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.

- In a small saucepan, place honey, milk and coconut oil and stir over low heat until combined. This should only take a minute.

- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

- Spread mixture evenly onto prepared baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and slightly crisp (you can bake for longer if you like your muesli super crunchy).

- Set aside to cool before transferring to an airtight container or jar.

- Enjoy! :)

Get the look: Leggings, Laces and Lippy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Earlier this year I did a post called 'Bummy Yummy Mummy' and let's just say I've upped the anti! Being a busy Mumma and wife (and currently being without a car) you will find me walking (a lot!) so most days due to comfort and practicality more than anything, I reach for the quickest and easiest option... leggings and sneakers! This is by no means the most glamourous of looks but it doesn't mean you have to leave the house feeling drab and frumpy. Some choose to match their nail polish to their handbag so who's to say we can't do the same with our lippies and sneakers?! ;) A bright lip can go a long way and leave you looking and feeling that little bit happier and more confident. AND it gives the impression that you indeed look 'together' when you may in fact have been scrambling to feed two kiddies, get them cleaned up, dressed and out the door hee hee Lipstick may not solve world peace but it does work a whole lotta magic! Smoke and mirrors my friends :)

As for the shoes, go for bold! Choose something fun and punchy to dress up an otherwise boring pair of black leggings or if you are brave enough to have the leggings be your statement piece, than invest in a neutral shoe, black, white and grey is always a safe bet!
Eastbay has an enormous range to choose from so I always like to browse online and once I have found a shoe I like I search for stockists that are closest to me. Can you tell I gravitate towards pink, green and orange runners?! ;)  photo Slide1_zpsdf59774c.jpg 1. Nike Free 5.0 from Eastbay 2. Free TR Connect 2 (Grey) from Renarts
3. Mizuno Wave Elixir from Finishline
4. Free TR Connect 2 (Pink) from Nordstrom
5. Nike Luna Racer +3 from Eastbay

Below are five of my absolute fave lippies, all by MAC cosmetics! Number 1, 3 & 5 really pack a punch and numbers  2 & 4 are softer and much more subtle...

1. 'Lady Danger' by MAC
2. 'Saint Germaine' by MAC
3. 'Candy Yum Yum' by MAC
4. 'Coral Bliss' by MAC
5. 'Morange' by MAC

And lastly, three examples of amazing leggings. I swear by the black Topshop ones (I have around 6- 8 pairs), I just adore the hydrangea print and most of you have probably already gathered that I love me some animal print :)
1. 'Hydrangea Prana' pants from The Upside
2. 'High waist Extra Long' leggings from Topshop
3. 'Blue Tiger' leggings from Brasilfit

So there you have it, leggings, laces and lippy. Simple, comfy and effortless! xxx

Baking with Mrs Bouw: Frozen Yoghurt Buttons!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ahhh, I'm back! If you've been keeping track of my pics on Instagram you will have seen that we arrived in Chicago late last week and are finally in our apartment! This means one thing... I have a kitchen again, whooo! Given our cupboards are still very bare, it will be another week or so until I have stocked up on all my baking ingredients, so today I am sharing a super easy non-bake recipe! Months ago after sharing a few of Allegra's bento lunches which included yoghurt buttons, I had several people ask me if I had made them. Initially I was like 'Pfft, who do they think I am?!' but then I began seeing a few different recipes floating around the net of a 'frozen' variation (the only downside being that they are not suitable for lunch boxes as they melt like ice-cream) so today Allegra and I decided to give them a go whilst Anya was having her nap. They are super duper easy to make, require just a few ingredients (of which I almost always have in the pantry anyway) and SO much fun for the little ones to get involved! I picked up all the ingredients from my new local Whole Food Market so all of my ingredients (including the food colouring) were natural and organic! Allegra had so much fun mixing the colours into the yoghurt and I think she secretly loved the 'Frozen' element after being obsessed with the movie 'Frozen' for the last few months. As you will see above I served them along with strawberries and blueberries for the girls' dessert tonight and they gobbled up the whole lot and came begging for more... what a delicious, fun and healthy treat! I think these will now be a staple in our freezer :)

Frozen Yoghurt Buttons

I used Greek yoghurt but any regular yoghurt will do)
Agave nectar (you won't need this is you use regular yoghurt as it will be sweet enough)
Food colouring
Sandwich/snaplock bags (for piping)
Baking paper


- Line a baking tray with baking paper.

- Divide yoghurt evenly between bowls depending on how many colour variations you would like and add a few drops of the agave nectar to sweeten the yoghurt until it is to your tasting.

- Add 2-3 drops of food colouring and stir until combined.

- Snip a small tip off one on the bottom corners of your snap lock bag/s.

-  Turn the bag inside out and place your hand in like a glove and spoon the mixture into your covered hand.

- Flip the bag inside out and squeeze gently to pipe your buttons.

- Place in the freezer for an hour before using.

- Enjoy! :)


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