Friday, 21 December 2007

Christmas Countdown - Part 3

Okay well only 24 hours before the first Christmas celebration at my house. My best friend and her family are coming over for lunch tomorrow (Saturday). Then I have Christmas Eve here with my immediate family as well as my ex-hubby. My children enjoy spending time with both their parents together. Fortunately as I have shared custody of my children I remain on good terms with my ex. I know this is not always the case, but I decided from the beginning that it was not my children fault that we divorced, so they should not have to suffer as a result of it.
Anyway enough about me, back to my updated list - today is going to be busy:

- leg waxing appointment
- drive ex-hubby to city for day surgery- picking up children at same time :)
- stop off at bunnings on way home to get heat beads/fire lighters (none of my local shops have the brand that works best)
- stop off on way home at gift shop to buy secret Santa gift for work mate (saw item the other day so know what I am buying)
- feed children lunch once we get home
- clean house like a mad woman, with a little help from my children
- defrost and marinate chicken for lunch tomorrow
- defrost mince for lunch tomorrow
- make 3 x cookie in a jar mix
- bake more peanut butter cookies
- make baileys
- make peanut butter cheesecake
- make fudge/shortbread if I get time
- using rainwater give back verandah a wash
- sort out table decoration for Saturday/Monday and put storage tubs away till after Christmas :)
Okay that just about does it for today :)
Not sure I will get it all done, but no doubt I will rope my boyfriend & children in to assist with some items.

A few items I can cross off:
-hunt down Christmas present for my parents (in progress - waiting for response from my sister)-
- start shopping list for 3 Christmas meals, now menus has been finalised
-Op shop for some trays/baskets/bowls (for gift baskets)


My next update will be on Saturday night or Sunday morning and I hope to post some photos of our first Christmas function.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Christmas Countdown Part 2

Here is my new and updated list - I am slowly crossing things off as I add more!

- mow lawn/weeds/dust bowl (done tonight after work - have blisters to prove it!)
- start to clean up back verandah in preparation for Christmas eve dinner here (in progress)
- collapse in a heap/relax (have done this tonight while I am blogging)
- hunt down Christmas present for my parents (in progress - waiting for response from my sister)
- buy ingredients and make beetroot relish (for gift baskets)
- make & bottle home made Irish Cream (for gift baskets)
- make and freeze more biscuit dough (for gift baskets)
- freeze ham bone and make soup after Christmas (doing after I finish this post)
- finalise menu for BBQ this Saturday with Cathy, Zoe and families (finalised today)
- move Christmas tree
- start shopping list for 3 Christmas meals, now menus has been finalised
- make Peanut Butter Cheesecake (and you though the honeycomb one was bad Pam!)
- post recipe for above Cheesecake
- Op shop for some trays/baskets/bowls (for gift baskets)

Okay stopping now - starting to scare myself!
How are your lists going?

Homemade Irish Cream

Stephanie from Stop the Ride requested this one! Be careful who you give it to as once you start making it at Christmas, people expect it every year. Having said that it makes a great gift! I have a small collection of Grolsch beer bottles (the ones with the swing top lids and a rubber seal). I think they hold about 600ml so they are an excellent size for a gift. Also I tell the recipients that if they don't return the bottles they won't get any next year!

Irish Cream

2 x 400g tins condensed milk
2 x 400g tins evaporated milk
600ml pouring cream
300g milk chocolate
1 tsp coffee granules
700ml bottle of whisky

Melt chocolate in condensed milk, stir in coffee while still warm then allow to cool. Then mix together remaining ingredients, ensuring everything is well mixed. Decant into bottles stirring well in between filling each one. Store in the fridge. Shake before using.

I did try to find conversion charts for all of these, but then I wasn't sure which countries to do them for in the end. All mine are in Australian weights and measures so hope that helps!
Enjoy in Moderation!

Apron Swap


Rhonda at Down to Earth hosted yet another swap, this time for aprons. My swap partner was Tracy from Sunny Corner Farm - cute name huh? The link shows a picture of the aprons I sent her. In return I received the beautiful double sided apron pictured. As well she included a hand made jug cover and the cute card you can see pictured. Thank you Tracy, your apron is already getting a workout with all the Christmas baking I am doing :) Oh and the apron says "Life is just a chair of bowlies". Cute!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!


My dear sweet Dad turned 78 on Sunday. He loves nothing more than spending time with his children and grandchildren. So I organised to go over for afternoon tea. My Mum made some of her beautiful homemade scones, she bought a cake from the local bakery and I made these fantastic peanut butter cookies - I'll confess I ran out of time so I went with the traditional style criss-crossed with the tines of a fork. Sorry! But they were yummy :) I did have enough time to make extra dough and freeze the rolled balls in my freezer, to be baked for my Christmas hampers. I might try to do the chocolate drizzles on the next batch. Here is a picture of them in a jar as presented to him on Sunday.So what else do you get your Dad? A six pack of one of his favourite beers (Grolsch), a jar of home baked cookies (as above) and a CD of some of his favourite German music (thank you Steve for digitising some of Dad's old records!) He was truly chuffed with the whole afternoon and even had a bit of sing-a-long to a few of his favourite songs!
Love you heaps Dad!

Christmas countdown - part one

Here's my updated list. I didn't get everything done, but then i didn't expect to. By writing it all down this week though I hope to give you all an insight into the next 8 days, in my lead up to Christmas day.

Update
- Bake biscuits for Dad's birthday cookie jar (yes, I'll photograph it)
- Help boyfriend move more of his stuff to his new unit
- mow lawn/weeds? (only if I get time)
- go to afternoon tea with my Dad for his birthday
- start to clean up back verandah in preparation for Christmas eve dinner here (in progress)
- finish sewing my new apron to wear when I do all my Christmas preparation recipes. (taken off the list as I know I won't get time)
- sew mesh bags for fruit and veg (yes, I still have not managed this) (also deleted till after Christmas)
- collapse in a heap (did this last night while installing my new printer/scanner)
- hunt down Christmas present for my parents (in progress, have two options so far and need to consult with my sister as to her preference - since she is paying half)
New Items
- buy ingredients and make beetroot relish (for gift baskets)
- make & bottle home made "baileys" (for gift baskets)
- make and freeze more biscuit dough (for gift baskets)
- make and freeze pea and ham soup (from ham bone) or freeze ham bone and make after Christmas (suspect I will do the latter)
- finalise menu for BBQ this Saturday with Cathy, Zoe and families.

Okay that should just about do it for the moment I won't add anything else till I can cross a few more things off!
How is everyone else doing???

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Christmas Preparation

How is yours going?

I got the children to decorate the tree this year. I told my workmates that it looks a bit like someone vomited the decorations onto it. this had them all rolling on the floor laughing a lot. Will photograph it when I move it tomorrow.

My to do list looks like this for Sunday (working today, scrapbooking tonight):

- Bake biscuits for Dad's birthday cookie jar (yes, I'll photograph it)
- Help boyfriend move more of his stuff to his new unit
- mow lawn/weeds? (only if I get time)
- go to afternoon tea with my Dad for his birthday
- start to clean up back verandah in preparation for Christmas eve dinner here
- finish sewing my new apron to wear when I do all my Christmas preparation recipes.
- sew mesh bags for fruit and veg (yes, I still have not managed this)
- collapse in a heap.
- hunt down Christmas present for my parents

Maybe some of this will not get done? Do you think I am being a tad ambitious?
What have you got to do this weekend?

Menu Planning

Life still hasn't slowed down for me, so I am working on easy meals this week.

Friday - Ham rosti with salad
Finely grated potato, egg and ham lightly pan fried into miniature patties served with a tossed garden salad.

Saturday - Steak cooked to your liking and served with an assortment of seasonal steamed summer vegetables

Sunday - Corned Beef
Lightly salted beef, lovingly cooked with brown sugar and other seasonings. Served with a creamy mash of potato and pumpkin and lightly steamed broccoli and zucchini.

Monday - Hamburgers
Homemade beef and vegetable patties, presented in a fresh bread roll with baby spinach, tomato, avocado, cheese and beetroot relish.

Tuesday - Chicken stir fry
Delicately sliced & marinated strips of chicken thigh, stir fried with seasonal vegetables and served on a fluffy bed of rice.

Wednesday - Chickpea and Lentil Burgers - recipe is here.

Thursday - A selection of pre-cooked frozen meals from the cold pantry
(leftovers from the freezer)

Monday, 10 December 2007

What's for Dinner?

I shop on Friday so I am a Little late in posting this. Hope Lightening gets some inspiration from this list!

Friday
Tender portions of chicken leg, marinated in a plum soy mixture and oven baked till golden.
Served with a medley of seasonal vegetables & delicate strands of egg lovingly mixed through fluffy rice with a light soy flavour. (plum marinated chicken drumsticks with fried rice)

Saturday
Organic shaped fluffy tortillas served with delicately pan fried chicken, garlic and zucchini. Presented with a platter of seasonal salad vegetables. (chicken strips, tortillas and salad)

Sunday
Tender minced beef simmered gently in a tomato and vegetable based sauce and served with a mixture of wholemeal and wheat pasta. (spaghetti bolognaise)

Monday
Delicate balls of mince, vegetables and oats pan fried and served with creamy mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. (rissoles with mashed potato & veg)

Tuesday
Prime beef steak and gourmet sausages served with crispy oven fries and tossed salad.
(steak and sausages with chips and salad)
Wednesday
Finger sized strips of chicken, lightly crumbed in fresh breadcrumbs and pan fried. Served with cheesy potatoes baked in a creamy sauce.
(chicken schnitzel strips with cheesy potato bake)
Thursday
Gourmet home made pizzas served with your choice of toppings.
(homemade pizzas with whatever we can find)

What's cooking this week at your house?

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Shoestring Sunday

Things don't really seem to have slowed down since my weekend in Melbourne. The shopping was great at the DFO @ Essendon although getting there was a bit of nightmare - the closest public transport was a twenty minute walk away! I must thank Sue & Frank for putting up with me for the 3 nights/4 days and Henrietta for her hospitality and helping me get reacquainted with the Melbourne Tram network. A big thank you to Zoe's mum (Cathy) for taking me with her! It went all too quickly but it was nice to get away.

Now as the school year grows to a close I am madly doing the following:

WRAPPING Christmas presents in newspaper with cute red ribbons (not my original idea saw it under a tree on a Christmas TV special last weekend) - thought it was a nice green alternative as it will all get recycled -plus I couldn't find any recycled wrapping paper this year in the stores.

BAKING various recipes to make sure they are okay in my Christmas hampers. This past week I have made refrigerator biscuits, cookies in a jar mix and some chocolate biscuits that my family have christened "Uncle Ronnie biscuits". (Will post recipe separately).

MENU planning; again something I will post separately.

FREEZING excess cookie dough, already rolled in balls. I read this on someone Else's blog, but sorry to say I can't remember where, but it is a good way to have a nice mix of cookies; by freezing some dough from each batch you make, as well as have some on hand when you need to bake in a hurry.

READING magazines and books from the library. Mainly at this time of year Christmas themed articles. Still haven't finalised the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day menus.

OP-SHOPPING for some baskets to put my Christmas hampers in.

A few links that I thought might help over the holidays when you run out of things or have more time to make it yourself.

Make your own brown sugar by thrifty mummy.


Yummy beetroot relish courtesy of the ABC website. (This will also be going into my Christmas hampers).

Homemade pancake mix - cook breakfast in a flash or whip up a batch when visitors appear on your doorstep from the Family CEO.

Home-made crackers and cheese ball would make a great snack anytime you are entertaining over the holiday season courtesy of the Common room.

What has everyone else been up to the last few weeks? Why not share in the comments (haven't got Mr Linky working tonight) or are there some great holiday idea links you want to share on your blog?
Have a great week
-hugs-
Lis

Refrigerator Biscuits (cookies)

I'm sorry I can't remember when I found this recipe, but it is simple to make and the variations are endless. I have been working through a few different recipes to test drive them prior to putting together my Christmas hampers. (Part of this years Christmas gifts).

1 cup (250g) butter or margarine
1&1/2 cups caster sugar
2 eggs
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time, then flour and vanilla. Roll into 3 long snakes. (I ended up making 4 as mine were about the thickness of a 20c piece). Wrap each in alfoil (I prefer to use cling wrap) and then freeze.They will keep in the freezer for about a month.
To use: Still frozen, slice cookies off the snake onto a greased tray; bake till very pale gold @ 200C. Remove from try while still warm. Store in a sealed container when cool.

A few flavourings:
Chocolate: add 2 tbs melted chocolate to the mix.
Orange or lemon: omit the vanilla and add 2 tbs grated lemon or orange zest.
Ginger: add 1 tbs ground ginger
Jam: put a splodge of jam in the centre of each cookie
Nut: add chopped nuts - about 3/4 cup tot eh mix. They must be chopped or the mix will crumble when you are trying to slice it.
Oatmeal: substitute 1 cup rolled oats for 1 cup of flour (ginger with this variation is apparently nice too!)
Choc chip: add 1/2 cup coarsely grated chocolate - must be grated not choc chips as mix will crumble.
Coconut: add 1/2 cup of coconut; this is also good with orange zest or the jam splodge or both instead of the vanilla.

From what I have read about these types of recipes if you only refrigerate, but don't freeze the mix you can add chunkier ingredients. This would also work for the jam drop type ones as you could make the little indents int he top to make then look more like jam drops.

The longer these biscuits are in the oven, the harder they get. I found about 12 minutes was enough in my oven - keep an eye on your first batch and go from there. If you only refrigerate but don't freeze maybe try then at 180C. I'll be interested to read your feedback :)
Back to my regular blogging soon I promise!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Time Poor

I can hardly believe it has already been a week since my trip to Melbourne, this time last week I was zipping up my bag and heading off to the airport. The weekend seems to go so quickly when you only have one full day off. Yesterday wasn't very productive, but was just a fun day. I spent a bit of it laying around reading a few of my overdue library items! In the afternoon we rode our bikes to the library to return my overdue items, as well as borrow some new ones. We also went into the local supermarket to pick a few items that I needed for dinner. I haven't menu planned or shopped for the week but I decided to try and use mostly what I had on hand to make dinner. I ended up making Lentil and chickpea burgers, I had frozen pre-cooked chickpea in the freezer and all the other ingredients on hand. At the supermarket I purchased a few mushrooms, an avocado and a bag of capsicums to make up a side salad/dish to have with the burgers. Given the prices of groceries keep going up I am going to try and cook at least one meat free meal per week.
Back to work this morning and I am not taking my car today or tomorrow. Bus to work and then train + a ten minute walk home. Must scoot as I have washing to hang out and need to put together some lunch!
Have a great day :)

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Holidays

I'm off to Melbourne very early tomorrow morning and as I am working late tonight I won't have time to post. Once I get back on Monday night I hope to be able to update you on my travels and my shopping. I'm hoping to pick up a few items of clothing for my children as part of their Christmas presents. Not planning to spend a lot of money although I think I might be drinking a few cups of coffee at lovely seaside locations and just enjoying my mini break. I'll try not to get caught up in the buy, buy, buy mentality.
Take care of all of you and if you want to participate in shoestring Sunday - Mr Linky is still open on last weeks post.
Thank you all for your lovely comments and ideas - I love reading all your blogs and thoughts.

I'll leave you with this quote from Rhonda at down to earth which is my thought for the coming week.
"Simplicity is not a tea bag, it's a pot of tea and it needs time to develop it's full flavour."

Go read the rest of her blog, if you are not already a visitor there, she is a very inspiring lady!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Menu Planning Monday, or is is Tuesday?

In reality I did my menu plan on Sunday and it was quite easy as I am only here until Thursday night. On Friday morning I am flying to Melbourne with Zoe and her Mum for 4 days. Can you believe she is already 12 weeks old? I'm kind of excited but at the same time I really don't enjoy flying (I suffer really bad motion sickness), but nonetheless it will be nice to have a change of scenery.

Here is my Menu plan inspired by Lightening's restaurant style write up :

Sunday
Plum marinated pork skewers served with a selection of two gourmet salads - Modern Greek salad with sun-dried tomatoes and Orange and avocado salad in a mustardy dressing.

Monday
Tuna and avocado rice paper rolls - a hands on meal - ideal for hot weather - roll your own choice of salad, avocado and tuna slices delicately marinated in sun dried tomato and basil.

Tuesday
Tender chicken leg portions coated in a sticky marinade and rolled in lightly toasted sesame seeds. Served with lightly fried rice and a sprinkle of egg and vegetables.

Wednesday
Thai inspired flavourings season juicy balls of chicken, served with a selection of seasonal vegetables.

Thursday
Asian flavourings combine with crisp vegetables and chicken to make a cool and delectable chicken salad.

I think I need more practice at this! Hope you get a small laugh at least :)

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Another Shoestring Sunday


Shoestring Sunday's are a way to review my frugal/green activities for the past week and to look forward to what I might try next week.

MAKING - still working on the apron and haven't yet made my veggie bags!

REMEMBERING - to carry my zip-up shopping bag with me at all times. It takes up a little room in my handbag, but saves me so many times from bringing home another plastic bag. Also to put my "green" bags back in my car boot (trunk) as soon as I have finished unpacking the shopping.

SAYING NO - to plastic bags at the supermarket, by a small amount of rearranging my groceries they did all fit in my "green" bags I had brought from home.

MENU PLANNING - including side dishes in order to avoid wasting food. It seems I was in the
habit of buying the same fruit and veg each week, only to have odd leftovers which sometimes went bad before they got used. (see menu plan in separate post).

INVESTIGATING - Places in Adelaide that I can buy bulk items, like flour and sugar as well as looking for suitable vermin proof storage containers (also working out where to put said storage containers). Any ideas?

PRICING/investigating - Ice-cream makers. Have been thinking about it for a while as I can never quite figure out what to do with the empty containers. I would have one a month, sometimes more in summer, but given my son's limited diet it is one of the few treats he gets to have regularly. My parents are going to purchase my chosen model for me for Christmas. YAY!
Any feedback on this would be welcomed from any Aussie readers who have one - also would anyone know if Choice magazine might have a recent article I can read at the library?

BORROWING - Magazines, Books, CDs and DVDs from the library. This week we are listening to Lily Allen and watching Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.

COOKING - New recipes for Muffins, Greek Salad & Avocado and Orange Salad.

Thank you to Artman for my fantastic new logo :) If you want to join in shoestring Sunday please feel free to take the logo and use it on your page :)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Muffins!

The problem every mother faces every school day morning, what to put in the children's lunchboxes. This morning I realised I had exhausted my supply of home baked goods (with are supplemented with a few failsafe store bought items). We are in the middle of a heatwave right now so the prospect of a full on baking session was not appealing! Also next week the temperatures are soaring again.
My solution was to mix up two batches of muffins, putting them both in the oven at the same time - one sweet and one savory.
I went for a hunt on my computers hard drive to see what I could come up with - hope you like them :)

Savoury zucchini muffins

Degree of difficulty: Medium

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 - 25 minutes

Ingredients for muffins
150 g bacon (chopped) - I used ham as I had no bacon
1 small onion (chopped) - could also use chopped leeks
1 cup of self-raising flour
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
2 cups grated zucchini (approx two small ones)
1 cup grated tasty cheese

Method:
1) Pre-heat a hot oven to 200C.
2) Saute bacon and onion in a non-stick fry pan.
3) Place flour, oil, eggs, mustard and paprika in bowl and mix.
4) Add grated cheese and zucchini to flour/oil mix and stir well.
5) Add slightly cooled bacon/onion mix to the rest of the muffin batter and stir well.
6) Spoon into non-stick muffin pans (of any size) but do not over-fill muffin pans.
7) Place in oven for 15 minutes (mini muffins), 20 minutes (cup-cake size muffins) or 25 minutes (large muffins).


My BF was my taste tester he rated them well and likened them to zucchini slice in a muffin :)

The second batch were sweet ones and I decided on this recipe as I had 3 aged bananas in my freezer :)

Banana and Choc Chip Muffins
Making muffins means days of quick snacks with no unnecessary packaging. Steph (our other resident Domestic Goddess) reckons these are fantastic. They can be frozen too, so you can make double and relax for a week or two.

2 ½ cups (375gm) self raising flour
½ cup (110gm) firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup (95gm) dark choc chips
1 ½ cups mashed bananas (3 large, very ripe bananas)
2/3 cup (160ml) buttermilk ( can use regular with a squeeze of lemon to thicken it)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup (125 ml) extra light olive oil
1)Preheat oven to 200 C or 180 C fan forced.
2)Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl.
3)Stir in chocolate chips and banana, then combined milk, eggs, essence and oil.
4)Mix till just combined.Do not over stir the mixture or your muffins will be tough and will not rise sufficiently.
5)Stir gently until barely combined.
6)Spoon into large muffin pans and bake for about 20 mins.

My children taste tested these and wanted more - I have no idea who Steph is , but i thank her anyway for her great recipe :)
Both lots were baked together in the oven in about 20 mins, so the kitchen didn't get too overheated after all.
The photo above shows them all ready to be frozen (well technically not all , what the "taste testers" didn't consume!)
Notice they they are all encased in pieces of baking paper, I prefer to do this instead of greasing the tins or buying the premade muffin cases. I just cut/tear baking paper into small squares to line my muffin tins. I found the cases were expensive and some of the muffin gets stuck to them unless you also grease them. Also I don't enjoy scrubbing burnt muffin tins (the bits that always spill when you fill them). This way I have minimal clean up, plus I just remove one from the freezer as is and insert into lunchbox paper and all (instant wrapping)!
Enjoy :)

Monday, 12 November 2007

Rice bubble slice

A lunchbox staple in our house and easy to melt butter and marshmallows in the microwave - no heating up the kitchen in Summer! This recipe comes from the failsafe website.

200 g of home-made marshmallows (see recipe elsewhere or 2 x 100g packets of Pascall's white marshmallows)
80 g butter or Nuttelex
4 cups rice bubbles
Measure rice bubbles and place them in a large bowl. Line a lamington/ swiss roll tray with ovenbake paper. Melt marshmallows & butter over low heat, stirring so it doesn't burn. Alternatively melt butter in microwave, add marshmallows and microwave on high for another 30 seconeds. Pour the marshmallow and butter mix onto the rice bubbles. Mix well. Tip into lined tray and press down. This may work best with a metal spoon as the mixture cools.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Shoestring Sunday!

Thought I might try something new and share of few of my frugal/green ideas for the coming week. Thank you to Towards Sustainability for the inpiration to do this!

- CUTTING tubes open when I think they are empty - like my toothpaste this week. It amazes me how much more you can get out of the tube, when you think you have squeezed out every last drop.

- USING wooden pegs on my clothesline - I had some old style "dolly" pegs in my craft supplies that have now made it into my peg bag.

- MAKING
- waffles for breakfast - Yes, I also own another "maker" that makes the most lovely buttermilk waffles - they also freeze well like the donuts (for those of you who are interested) and reheat nicely in the toaster :)
- aprons for the apron swap at Down--to--Earth
- fruit and veggie bags from some netting I have left from my daughters fairy costume days
- rice bubble slice (very similar to the commercial LCM's) will post recipe later today.

- MENU PLANNING - will also post later today

What frugal/green activities have you been trying or will you try today? Do you like the idea of us all trying to post about his each week?

Friday, 9 November 2007

Instant Oats - Frugal ideas

Jenn @ Frual Upstate had this idea on her blog for making your own instant oatmeal packets.
I know we used to consume a lot of these over winter and now I can make them failsafe as well so my son will be able to eat them! He loves his oats in winter!

Homemade Instant Oatmeal(Makes 8 Packets)
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oatmeal
Salt
Put 1 cup oatmeal in the blender or food processor and blend to a powder(you may want to do this 1/2 C at a time).
In each of 8 zipper style baggies 1/4 cup un-powdered oats, 2 tablespoons powdered oats, and 1/8 teaspoons salt.
To use: Empty packet into a bowl. Add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir and let stand for2 minutes. For thicker oatmeal, use less water – for thinner oatmeal, use morewater.
You can adapt this recipe to many different flavors.
For brown sugar oatmeal add 1TBS packed brown sugar to each.
You can also add raisins, splenda, chopped dried apples, or even make a fruit and cream version by adding 1TBS powdered creamer and 2TBS dried fruit.
I am going to try a mix with some powered milk and brown sugar added to make it creamier - will let you know the outcome :)

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Butterscotch Popcorn

Don't blame me for this one - blame Jenny in Williamstown - she is a member in one of my Yahoo groups - we were talking about Christmas gift ideas and she made this last year along with home made cookies for all her family and friends as her homemade gifts.

The butterscotch popcorn recipe I use is the one in the Women's Weekly Original Cookbook. Easy as!! And everybody loves it.
Here it is:-
BUTTERSCOTCH POPCORN
125g popping corn
2 tablespoons oil
125g butter
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup sugar
In a large saucepan or frypan, heat oil until very hot.
Add corn, place lid on pan, shake pan continually until popping ceases.
Place popped corn in large bowl.
Combine honey, sugar and butter in separate pan, stir over low heat until sugar dissolves, slowly bring to boil;boil 5 minutes.
Pour syrup over popped corn and mix till corn is well coated.
Pour quickly onto well greased oven trays, cool.
Enjoy!!

She also had this to add -"You might have to make a double lot because you'll eat most of the first one yourself, I'll bet!!!!I am fighting the urge to go and make a batch myself right now!!!"

I'm also fighting the urge, but will try it on the weekend when the children are around to sample eat it all - so I can stick to my diet!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Honeycomb Cheesecake Slice - another family favourite


Honeycomb Cheesecake Slice
2 cups plain chocolate biscuit crumbs

4 oz (125g) melted butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons Gelatine

1 tablespoon water

3 Violet Crumble bars (break into small bits)

2 x 8oz (250g) packets cream cheese, softened


Lightly grease 8" x 12" shallow pan, line with paper. Can also make in a springform pan. Combine biscuit crumbs and butter in a bowl and mix well. Press evenly over base of prepared pan and refrigerate for 30 mins.Beat cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until light and fluffy. Sprinkle Gelatine over water in cup, stand in small pan of simmering water, stir until dissolved and cool slightly. While beating, pour the Gelatine mixture into cream cheese. Fold in 2/3 of broken Violet Crumble. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and refrigerate until set. Sprinkle over remaining violet crumble before serving.
Instead of the violet crumble bars I used some failsafe dark chocolate and honeycomb, which I pulsed in the food processor. The remains of this were sprinkled on top of the finished cheesecake.
Enjoy!
Take care of you

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

"Picture Me" meme


Ali from Our Patch tagged me for the "Picture Me" MeMe.

Kate at Our Red House began this MeMe and said the following;


"The rules are simple: post a picture of yourself on your blog. As some may feel uncomfortable posting a current photo, a baby or childhood picture is fine. Post the picture, tell us the story behind it, copy the logo, and tag three others (without forgetting to tell them that they have been tagged!)"

I too, like a lot of people I know, dislike my photo being taken. This has gotten easier sometimes as I grow older - or maybe not. I chose this photo which was taken on my birthday this year (in March). I am at home in my lounge room, surrounded by my family. The birthday cake was home made by me (so my son could eat it!). It is my favourite boiled chocolate cake recipe. The photo is so typically me, always laughing on the outside - my glass is always half-full...at least!
I tag the following people:
Busy woman @ A Vision Splendid
I'll try and post the cake recipe too...soon!

Healthy Hamburgers

We had these last night for dinner with egg, cheese, salad/coleslaw on fresh bread rolls.

500g (approx 1lb)minced beef
1/2 leek finely sliced
1 small carrot grated
1 clove garlic crushed
1/2 zucchini (courgette) grated
1/4 quick cook oats
1/4 cup rolled oats
3tbs tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 egg

All my measurements are a bit on the approximate side - I just add a bit of everything. Mix it all together and I am sorry to say for those who don't like messy hands, it is the best way to mix it. If it seems too sloppy add a few more oats. I have a hamburger press so I normally get 8 good sized burgers from this mixture. You can also shape by hand or make into smaller rissoles/meatballs and serve with a side salad instead of in burger rolls like I did.
Cook as you would any other burgers. They will tend to brown quite well due to the tomato sauce (ketchup) in them.

Hope you like them, the oats give them a slightly nutty flavour and all the hidden vegetables are good for children too!

take care of you.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Donuts!

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is Lightening's and I noticed recently she had a dig through her appliance cupboard. Among all her makers was a donut maker. I noted in the comment that she most likely didn't have the recipe anymore and I would happily supply it if she didn't. I use mine about once a month, make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for lunchbox treats! Since they are baked not fried the fat levels aren't too bad :) Also since there are so many commercially made products that my DS can't eat it is nice to make him things that are special! So here is the recipe for everyone else who also has one in their cupboard or finds a bargain at a garage sale and no instruction book.
(If you have a local Black and Decker factory outlet they retail for about $16.)

Basic Donut Mixture

1 cup SR flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
pinch bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
20g butter, melted

1. Sift dry ingredients in a bowl
2. Make a well in the centre, gradually stir in the egg and milk.
3. Fold in melted butter and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy.
4. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before using.
5. Cook doughnuts, being careful no to spoon to much mixture into each mould.
6. Toss while still warm in cinnamon sugar or leave to cool and decorate with glace icing.


Glace Icing

1/2 cup pure sifted icing sugar
2-3 tsp water, or fruit juice
2-3 drops food colouring (optional)

1. Combine icing sugar and water or juice in a medium bowl.

2. Add food colour if desired and stir until well combined.

3. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring until icing is smooth and glossy.

4. Remove from the heat. Use as required.
Variation:

For chocolate glace icing, add 1 tbs of cocoa to the dry ingredients and substitute water for 1 tbs milk.

Suggested toppings:
100's and 1000's
coloured sprinkles
silver cachous
coconut
grated chocolate
coloured sugar
crushed nuts

Take care of you!

Orange Cordial


In my attempts to make it from scratch as well as keep my grocery prices down, today I made some orange cordial from Rhonda's recipe @ down to earth. Also interestingly today she posted about her jar collection and funnily enough my cordial is normally stored in recycled glass bottles from the tomato puree I use in cooking. They are the perfect size to ensure my DS doesn't pour too much in or pour too much on the bench! (Is it all boys that are messy?)
Having tasted both I think I might prefer the lemon cordial myself, but then I am a bit of lemon fan anyway :)
Take care of you.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Chicken & Pear Salad with Tarragon dressing

Made this last night for tea since although it is only spring we have already had very warm summery weather.
Loosely based on a recipe from Australian Good Taste magazine.
The dressing was really nice and even though I didn't have any tarragon this time it was still nice without it!

serves 4
Salad
oil spray
2 (about 500g) single chicken breast fillets, sliced into about 4 strips each
1 green oak leaf lettuce (or other fancy variety - just not iceberg), washed, dried, torn
1 large ripe pear, quartered, cored and thinly sliced (tossed in extra OJ to stop it browning)
50g sprouts (I just grabbed a handful of snow pea and mustard ones)
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, split & de-seeded then sliced into crescents
1 punnet cherry/grape tomatoes, sliced into halves
You could also add celery, watercress and parsley to this mixture if you wish)

dressing
2tbs fresh orange juice
1tbs balsamic vinegar (white makes the dressing prettier, but I only have the brown one)
1tbs olive oil
1tbs chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
2tsp mustard
1tsp honey

1. Spray pan with oil spray, and heat adding strips of chicken. Cook until lightly browned on the outside and cooked through. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest then slice into thin slices across the grain.
2. While chicken is browning prepare all the other salad ingredients and gently toss to combine. Mix salad dressing in a jar, jug or shaker.
3. Add the chicken to the salad and pour over the dressing. Gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Enjoy!
Take care of you

Saturday, 20 October 2007

My families favourite biscuits (this week)

Double choc chip cookies
Makes about 30

INGREDIENTS
• 125g butter
• 1 cup brown sugar
• ¾ cup caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
• 1 egg
• 1½ cups self raising flour
• ½ cup Cadbury Bourneville Cocoa
• ¾ cup Cadbury Dark Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat oven to 160ÂșC.
2. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
3. Mix in vanilla essence and egg.
4. Stir in flour and Cadbury Bourneville Cocoa.
5. Add Cadbury Dark Chocolate Chips.
6. Place teaspoons of mixture on greased baking tray and bake in moderate oven for 10-15 minutes.

Made these last week - recipe is on the Cadbury website or currently printed on the back of the Cadbury Dark Chocolate chips.
My children couldn't get enough and several people I work with thought they looked like bought ones! Still not sure if that is a good or a bad thing? One workmate also loved the fact they are crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.
Do you have a favourite biscuit/cookie recipe?

All the small things...

If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito - Anita Roddick
It seems time has gotten away from me again and here it is two weeks without blogging! Thank you Jo for reminding me it has been a a while - I know you will be reading this :)
Life seems to be so many small things that seem to take up so much time. Sometimes I long to return to a simpler life where things passed more slowly.
Is it that we have less time or that we just try to pack too much in?
At the moment I have a few friends who are pregnant and I have been invited to two baby showers on the same day, at opposite ends of town. Fortunately the times overlap so I will be able to attend both. Common sense would have me attend only one, or none. In fact strangely I have never attended a baby shower before and now I get invited to two on the one day. Go figure?
Two of the girls having babies are people I have worked with so one of the projects a workmate and I tried was a nappy (diaper) wreath. Yes, it is basically a ring of disposable nappies(diapers) decorated with ribbons, toys and items for the baby. Unfortunately none of the girls were keen on the idea of cloth nappies (diapers), but you can make these items with the cloth versions if you know the receiver will use them!
We loved the first one so much we then made another. I still have a third gift to make so I am unsure whether to make another one or a nappy(diaper) cake. I still have a week to get my act together on that one :)

My apologies for the picture quality as they were taken with a mobile phone! Can you guess the sexes of the babies?
If you want to try this at home try this link for a diaper cake or this for the wreath.
Take care of you.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Ironing...


Ironing would have to be my least favourite task but today I tackled it. Two hours later my ironing area looked like this (sorry I forgot tot ake the before shot!). I loaded up my ipod with some boppy dance type music and danced my way through the piles! Try it yourself, it certainly made the time pass faster and I also got to listen to a few of my favourite tunes! I keep smiling as I walk past the empty space! Do you have a task that you really don't enjoy?

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Napkin Swap


Today I received these gorgeous Napkins and a delightful watercolour from the lovely Heather who lives in the U.S. - she was my partner in the napkin swap organised by Rhonda @ Down to Earth. I felt thrilled that I received something so beautiful and well made. Thank you Heather, you really made me smile!
Take care of you.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Powdered milk and other gems...

Why is it some weeks just fly by and I feel like I am chasing my tail? The past week has been like this and now school holidays have started here it will probably just snowball for a while.
I did manage to shop and menu plan so here it is (I didn't quite manage two weeks as I wasn't feeling creative enough for more than that).

1. Spaghetti Bolognaise
2. Roast Pork & Veggies (in my new-to-me webber kettle bbq)
3. chicken schnitzel & potato bake (family favourite)
4. chicken wraps and salad
5. salmon, prawns and chips
6. homemade hamburgers
7. roast beef (in the slow cooker)
8. fried rice
9. Moroccan chicken with cous cous
10. rissoles and veggies

I have been making the tortilla recipe from A Vision Splendid to use as our home made wraps. Go on you know you want to try them. They are so easy! I find it make 6 good size wraps, which don't fall apart as you are trying to eat them! Plus they are very frugal to make. My short cut tip is: I make up some powdered milk with hot water, measure what I need and refrigerate the rest - this way I don't have to heat the milk to make them.
Powdered milk is something I have been making up regularly. I tend to use it mostly in cooking, although I have been trying to get my son to drink it as well since he seems to have several glasses of milk a day. It is so much cheaper than fresh milk and if you are only using it in cooking you won't notice the difference in taste.
Here are some hints about using powdered milk.
Did you know you could make your own low-fat milk?
Just mix together regular milk with skim milk powder and water. Mixing equal parts of each will give a milk with 2% fat.
If you are using powdered milk in recipes this might help as well -
2 tablespoons powder and 1 cup of water = 1 cup milk
1 cup powder and 1 litre of water = 1 litre of milk
Thought I might finish off with a fast & frugal recipe - using powdered milk - haven't tried this yet but will report back in a few days when I have.

Fast Fruit and Nut Slice
DOUGH
1 cup SR flour
1 cup wholemeal SR flour
1/4 cup skim milk powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 - 1 cup water

Gradually add oil and water to dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Spread the dough into a lightly greased lamington tray.

TOPPING
1 cup raisins
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup crushed nuts
grated rind and juice of 1 orange

Combine topping ingredients and spread over dough. Bake in oven at 200c for about 20 minutes. Cut into 24 pieces. Serve while still warm.
Enjoy!
Take care of you.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Busy week...

Well it seems it has been a few days since I have managed to put any thoughts down here. My sister was visiting earlier this week form Darwin so that meant I spent most of my free time with her. We also had soccer presentations, Dinner with baby Zoe and her family (Friday night), work all day followed by another fabulous Scrap and Salad at Mandy's on Saturday night. Today on Sunday i had a far too leisurely morning (meaning I got nothing done - apart from folding and putting away some washing). Lunch today was a social club function at a seaside all-you-can-eat restaurant. It was a pleasant afternoon with good food and good company. The problem of course with all-you-can-eat establishments is that you always eat too much. The up side i guess is I won't be cooking or eating dinner tonight! The other problem is since I have3 done very little for most of the day I really don't feel like starting anything now! How does everyone else keep themselves motivated at the end of a long day, when there are still chores to be done?

Friday, 14 September 2007

More recent Zoe pic


And now for something with no added sugar!

My boyfriend saw this today on Ellen, I had to see it to believe it!

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce

2 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

2 (4.5-ounce) cans fruit cocktail (undrained)

2 eggs, beaten

1 (9-ounce) box raisins

1 pinch salt

1 or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Butter Rum Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Cube donuts into a large bowl. Pour other ingredients on top of donuts and let soak for a few minutes. Mix all ingredients together until donuts have soaked up the liquid as much as possible.Bake for about 1 hour until center has jelled. Top with Butter Rum Sauce.

Butter Rum Sauce:

1 stick butter

1 pound box confectioners' sugar

Rum, to taste

Melt butter and slowly stir in confectioners' sugar. Add rum and heat until bubbly. Pour over each serving of Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.

Apricot and Ginger Muffins - Feedback

Well in my travesl today a number of people taste tested the muffins. I got good reaction when they were still warm, but once they had cooled they were a bit on the dry side. My verdict is that I will make them again and maybe add some sultanas or other dried fruit. I would also chop the fruit up a little. As I used my home preserved apricots (which are softer than the tinned ones) they did still tend to clump a bit.

Apricot and Ginger Muffins

Thought I would try and make these today - have a couple of people to visit so will make a double batch and take a few on my travels.
Recipe is from the ABC radio (Australia) backyard recipe finder. One of my fave sites for finding quick and easy recipes. Will update tonight and let you know if this one is a keeper! Will use up some of my home preserved apricots instead of the tinned ones.
Here it is

Apricot & Ginger Muffins

Serves Six
Degree of difficulty: Medium
You need:1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/3 cup brown sugar
200gr tinned apricot halves, drained
1 egg
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tbs honey
Method:Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, fold through apricots. In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients, don't over mix. Spray muffin tray with a little oil, fill tray and bake for 12-15 mins until cooked. Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Greener Living

Thank you to Rhonda and all the ladies who post on her blog, for reminding me of all the things we can do/are doing to help make our lives greener. In response to her post of what will you do here is my list:
- using fabric shopping bags @ the supermarket
- having a bucket in the shower to catch the water before it heats up (about 4l per shower)
- having empty cordial bottles in my kitchen that I fill with the 3-4l before the hot water comes through - this is used for drinking, rinsing and filling the kettle - if all 6 bottles are full it is used in the washing machine or to water plants.
- bucketing the rinse water from the washing machine onto the garden (today I purchased a diverter hose to make it easier)
- not owning a clothes dryer - I have a fold down line under my verandah that most of the washing gets hung on. In winter if it is too damp I hang it inside in the lounge room where there is a heater.
- from a young age I have "nagged" my children into turning off lights and appliances (tv, vcr, dvd) when they are not being used - and to not leave those little standby lights on either!
-replacing ordinary globes with energy efficient globes when they stop working.
- removing the diffusers from most of said lights so I can get more light from said bulbs, has also meant I can use lower wattage.
- recycling as much as I can.
- buying goods with the least amount of packaging.
- making my own liquid laundry detergent (see post here)

I'm sure there are a lot of other things I do which will come to me later. I'm posting this quote directly from Rhonda's blog...
"So today my friends, I want you to commit to your change. I want you step up today and decide that even if you haven't done anything yet for your planet, and especially if you have, today I want you to tell me in the comments box what small step will start or continue you along the road to a greener life. I want you to tell me about your change and how it will affect your life. Please don't close this blog down now and walk away. Today is the day when instead of just knowing that something needs to be done, you start doing it.
I want every one of you to email this post to a friend so we can get a million small steps happening. I want you to help me tell as many people as possible that we are doing this. And, most of all, I want to know what you will do."
My commitment this month is to make some re-usable mesh bags for my fruit and veggies to be weighed in and no longer take home the plastic bags. I am also going to try and use my new diverter hose as much as possible, which might mean I have to spend a bit more time in the laundry, but so be it.
So what will you do? Leave me a comment and send the message to all your friends!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

You Make me smile award


Lib over at Lib's Private Paradise has given me an award.Thank you Lib and I feel humbled to think you are inspired by my blog.
Don't actually know the origins of this award, but apparently I can pass this on to as many or as few other Bloggers that make me smile. Please take the badge and wear it with honor and keep doing what you are doing because each and everyone of you "MAKE ME SMILE" !!!
Ooh where to start I read so many fascinating blogs these days...but I will go back to a few of the original blogs I stumbled upon these ladies never cease to amaze me with their posts and make me smile with their thoughts, posts and wonderful photographs.
Jewels at Eyes of Wonder
Rhonda at Down to Earth
Busy Woman at A Vision Splendid

Thank you ladies and hope you wear your badges with honour :)

Monday, 3 September 2007

Home preserved


Well it seems it has been over a week since I last posted on here. It is amazing how one night of virtually no sleep can throw your body out of rhythm. I am finally starting to feel normal and get my household routines back in place. First on my agenda is to hang some washing, but my other task for today is to move my jars of preserved fruit to a new cupboard. Last year I was fortunate to get plums and apricots from friends' trees and some cheap nectarines from the local market. All these were dutifully "bottled" using my new Fowlers Vacola preserving unit (basically it is a large plastic barrel with a heating element in it). There are quite a few good websites out there with instructions on using them, so I won't bore you with the details. A few of the sites I refer to for help & parts are Bake and Brew and Green Living Australia. Rhonda is also going to be posting about preserving over the next few motns so keep an eye on her blog too! Or just use Google. I'll also post as I manage to do more preserving.
Anyway the washing machine is beeping to say it is finished so off I go to start my day! Hope you have a productive day and take care of you.

Monday, 27 August 2007

It's a Girl!


Above is a picture of me nursing her at about 10 minutes old :)
Baby Zoe arrived at 2.55 am this morning, weighing 3.320kg. She is 49cm long with a good head of strawberry blonde hair! Mum was only in labour for 2hrs and 45 minutes and a totally natural birth. Both Mum and Baby are doing well!
Welcome little girl!
Take care of you

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Waiting...

I have spent the last few days waiting for a phone call. My best friends baby has still not arrived, seems she is not in a hurry to leave her warm watery home and frankly who would be? If nothing happens today she is booked into to be induced tomorrow. The wonderful people I work with have been great in allowing me to call them if I needed to leave work, even on their day off! Fortunately I haven't had to do this, but I want to say thank you anyway for your support and understanding. Rest assured you guys will be one of the first I ring :)

I have a few errands to run this morning, part of Sarah's bed had cracked so I need to drive back to the place of purchase to get the part exchanged.
The other night I managed to pick up some winter school tracksuit pants for Sarah for $7.50 a pair. I am going past one of the other stores in the same chain this morning to see if I can get another few pairs. The normal retail price is $25 - so they are good buying at $7.50! I am getting them a size bigger for next year :)
I do tend to buy plain items like jeans, t-shirts, windcheaters at the end of the season on sale, a size bigger ready for next winter! I do find it saves me money and I am very selective about what I buy, especially since my children are becoming more "fashion conscious" as they get older. I think as I said before the trick is to pick up the plainer items.
take care of you.

Saturday, 25 August 2007



Seems I missed this one a few days ago...Kez has awarded me the "schmooze" award!

This award was created by Danielle at Pink Reviews with the help of Mike at Things by Mike.


The award was created to:"recognize those people that were exceptionally adept at creating relationships with other bloggers by making an effort to be part of a conversation, as opposed to a monologue".

Thank you Kez! I like being able to leave comments on other peoples blogs and I really enjoy the feedback I get as well. I love reading the thoughts of my blogger "friends". Thank you all for sharing you lives and thoughts with me. I suspect most of you out there already have this award so I'll hunt around for the next few days to see who I can award it to!
take care of you.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Homemade cleaning products

Thank you to Rhonda for posting the "recipes" for these wonderfully green and inexpensive cleaning products on her blog. I have to admit I was initially disappointed with the laundry "powder" I made up on the weekend. It was a very easy recipe, but obviously my washing machine water is too cold or it doesn't agitate enough to fully dissolve the soap flakes. Or it could be my box of soap flakes is old and a lot harder than they should be...I had to end up re-rinsing my first dark load to remove the soap flakes (No, I didn't use too much in fact I might have even been a bit stingy!) After my initial disappointment I found if I dissolved it first in hot or boiling water and added this to the machine it was fine.
But I am not the only one who washes in my house. So I decided to try making up the laundry liquid recipe instead. Given that I already had the ingredients mixed and in the same ratios I basically just scooped out 2 cups of my powder mix and dissolved it in hot water and brought it to the boil on the stove. Then I followed the rest of the instructions. I now have 10l of homemade laundry liquid ready to launch on my washing. I did the first load last night and it seems to have worked out okay!

I also have stored it in some recycled plastic bottles from milk and cordial. To me it will be more manageable that way. According to Rhonda's calculations it works out to $1.80 roughly for 10l - you can't argue with that price. In my mind the best part is knowing exactly the ingredients as well with no overpowering fragrances.

If you are game give the recipes a try...you might just be surprised!

Take care of you

Monday, 20 August 2007

Leftovers...

Seems we always have some of these in our house and i would rather use them up than throw them out. Yogurt is always one of those things that I tended to buy in the supermarket when it was marked down, but then it would get to the use by date before we managed to eat it all.
I found this recipe that helps to use up the excess of yoghurt as well as the one or two apples in the fruit bowl that no-one seems to want. I made a double batch of these today to use up said items, including 400ml of easiyo Greek yoghurt. I also added in the remains of a packet of frozen berries as the yoghurt was plain and an extra tablespoon of sugar.

Fruit and Yoghurt Muffins
makes 12 muffins

2 cups SR flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
200g tub flavoured yoghurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped fruit (pear, apples)
cinnamon sugar (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 12 hole standard muffin tin.
2. Sift flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
3. Make a well in the centre. Add yoghurt, egg and oil. Stir until mixture has nearly come together. Add fruit and stir a couple of more times. Mixture should be quite lumpy.
4. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
5. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired.

I have even substituted tinned (drained) fruit in these and they still taste great.
Not overly sweet but just right.

As far as the yoghurt goes I have started to make my own and must thank Crazy mumma for her simple instructions.

"In traditional yoghurt making, the milk is heated to just below boiling point to kill off the "bad" bacteria, then cooled to "blood temperature" or around 38-44'C, and the starter culture is added. Keeping the mixture at this temperature for a period of time then forms the yoghurt.

The Easiyo yoghurt maker gets around this by using a powdered milk and starter culture mixture, where the "bad" bacteria has been killed off by heat treatment already. Using UHT milk and a starter, in theory, is the same process, as the UHT process also kills off the "bad" bacteria. So I tried this out last night and ended up with fabulous, thick homemade yoghurt this morning! Success!
My recipe was:
1 litre organic UHT milk
2 dessertspoons powdered milk to thicken
2 dessertspoons biodynamic plain yoghurt.
I mixed the yoghurt and powdered milk together with a small amount of UHT milk until it was smooth and then added it to the rest of the milk in the Easiyo container and mixed well. I then added boiling water to the thermos, sealed and let it sit for 14 hours (overnight). This morning I put it in the fridge and tried it this afternoon after it had cooled - it is a lovely thick yoghurt that is difficult to distinguish from the Jalna yoghurt I bought last night! Very happy :-)"

I didn't have organic so I just used the skim UHT milk I bought on special last week along with skim milk powder I already had. I used some yoghurt from the last batch of Easiyo that I had left. After doing a bit of reading I may well buy some plain bio dynamic yoghurt just to make sure my next batch has a good start in life. In total my litre of yoghurt cost me about $1.05.

All up a productive day.
Off to get my beauty sleep.
Take care of you.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

To market, to market...


After a yummy breakfast of french toast with berries and cream (Yes! I didn't make pancakes this morning.)
We headed off to check out the markets at Gepps Cross. For those who don't live in Adelaide they are held on the grounds of a drive-in theatre. My children were quite surprised at the idea of an outdoor cinema where you cold sit in your car. Both have asked if we can go one evening, I'll have to find a suitable movie that we might all enjoy and perhaps we shall.

It makes me seem old to remember that it was at the drive-in we saw all our movies. I can even remember going there as a young child, it was family friendly there would be a children's film on first then interval (where everyone lined up at the snack bar) and then as the children all fell asleep they would screen a film for the parents. On hot nights in Darwin we would sit out the front of the combi van on our bean bags and enjoy the warm evenings. I don't know how often we went but I can remember going quite often, but then there really wasn't a lot else to do on a Saturday night in Darwin.

Anyway enough reminiscing and back to the markets. There was quite a crowd to get in and the stalls are very closely packed together. About half the market is trash and treasure with the remainder being fruit and veg. i also saw people wandering around with bunches of flowers so i presume there was also a flower stall or two. I think we walked around for nearly an hour in total by which time my 11yr old had enough. In this time I managed to get through about half of what was there.

Knowing your prices in your local stores is always a bonus before you go and so everything i bought was less or equivalent to the prices in my local fruit and veg shops.

I got Bananas for $2.99kg; baby zucchini, red capsicum, Lebanese cucumbers & broccoli were all $2kg; baby eggplants $4kg, 5kg potatoes $2.50, 4 avocados for $1, bunch of celery $1, salad mix (leaves) $12.00kg ($1.20 per 100g), strawberries $2.80 punnet, blood oranges $1kg, sweet potato $1.49kg, leeks $2.50 lge bunch of 3. That was all my bargains for the day. i also bought some local (Adelaide Hills) Corella pears - I absolutely love these pears - they were $4 a kg but were so lovely and fresh I had to have them.

I will absolutely be going back as the prices were so good and everything seemed so fresh. They also seemed to have many bulk purchases available but as our car was a fair way away and the children were tired I didn't get to take advantage of any of these. I did see what looked like 10kg bags of oranges for $5 which would be great if you had a juicer! I also saw bulk bags of red capsicums and a lot of people seemed to be buying them so they mush have been a good price.

I'm planning to head back next weekend and hopefully get at least one of my friends to come with me. I might also talk to them about doing a few bulk purchases and then splitting them, which would make the prices even better! A veggie co-op of sorts:)

It has been a long day, so I am taking an early mark tonight :)
take care of you.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Doubly Awarded!

It seems I have received this award from both Rhonda and Kez and upon reading about it I feel honoured that my little blog has been awarded :)

The award was started by Bella-Enchanted

"This award will be awarded to those that are just nice people, good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world! I am naming this award the Nice Matters Blog Award I will begin my naming a few of those that I feel deserve this award and I would like for those awarded to name 7 others."

Thank you both :)) It is lovely to feel like a "good blog friend" !

And now to pass on the warm fuzzies to a few more people...

Willow at Contemplating Change
Crazy Mumma
Vanessa at Green as a Thistle
Mrs Pivec at Go lightly Palace
Busy Woman at A Vision Splendid

Oh and i can't find any others who I regularly read who have not been awarded as yet!
That reminds me that I need to update my list of favourite blogs.
Take care of you.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Happy Birthday Sarah


Is it only me or do all mothers reminisce on their children's birthdays. I can remember the day she was born and the first time I held her in my arms. It's hard to believe sometimes how grown up she is, but it was 14 years ago after all...

From all reports she had a nice day at school and on Saturday we will be going to one of the local pubs for lunch and birthday cake with 5 of her best friends. I'm sure I'll feel like the inevitable fish out of water, but I love meeting and interacting with her friends. Things seem a lot more complicated nowadays, than they were when I was 14. I just re-read that last sentence and now I am starting to feel old...

Anyway enough about me...Happy Birthday Darling Sarah!
Take care of you.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Slow Cookers


Thanks to Michelle who asked about using her slow cooker, I thought I would post a few instructions that I was given from the Aussie Slow Cookers Yahoo group. They have some great recipes in their files and hopefully you can follow the link here. If not I will post a few of my favourite recipes over the next few days.

In terms of "Dry roasting" in the slow cooker it couldn't be easier. Basically I take my frozen roast (yes, frozen)and place it in the slow cooker on either a bed of potatoes, onions or foil balls. This allows the roast to steam in the juices and leaves the meat very moist. Also be raising it up off the bottom of the pot it is not in direct contact with the heat and so you don't get a burnt bottom. If you don't feel comfortable with putting it in frozen then by all means thaw it first, but I never do and most of the girls on the slow cooker group don't either. I have cooked chickens, roast beef, legs of lamb and many pieces of pork this way. You can marinate the meat as well or add flavours to the bottom of the dish with the potatoes etc.

From frozen I normally cook it on high for a few hours and then switch it down to low. If I am going out all day I just leave it on low all day. If your slow cooker is new I would suggest that you try it on a day you are at home so you can work out how quickly it cooks in your particular brand. It does vary between brands and the new slow cookers do cook things faster then their vintage cousins. hence older ones are highly sought after by slow cooker addicts!

Will post more info in the next few days but right now I must head off to work! Please leave any questions in the comments or if you would like me to write about a particular recipe/method please ask.
Take care of you :)

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Update

It has been a few days since I wrote anything here, but rest assured I have been a busy little beaver. I did my menu planning for the next fortnight and it goes something like this:
1. spaghetti bolognaise
2. chicken schnitzel
(these two are my children's favourites so they are part of any fortnightly plan)
3. marinated drumsticks with cous cous
4. corned beef
5. burgers
6. roast pork (dry roasted in slow cooker)
7. salmon
8. beef pies
9.home made pizza
10. hearty beef casserole (from last f/nights menu that we didn't get to make for some reason)
11. green chicken curry
12. soup or toasted s/w

Why you ask are there only 12 dinner items when there are 14 meals to be prepared. Saturday night just gone we had a "scrap and salad" at my friend Mandy's house. 6 hours of scrapbooking with a roast lamb, salad and jacket potato to sustain us for the evening :) Also this coming week is my daughters birthday so we have a family dinner that night, which this year is at her Dad's house. I do have to make a cake appear but i am sure I will manage something :)

My back is recovering nicely, although I still need to get better at all the exercises my physio has given me! I did some house work today and then threw together a batch of muffins from the recipe on Rhonda's blog. I was expecting my best friend, her sister and parents over for afternoon tea so I wanted to have something warm and inviting. They were so good that there are none left! So none to photgraph...sorry....Did I say they were good?

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Pancakes & more pancakes!

Here by request is my "fluffy" pancakes recipe.
I will freely admit it is a recipe mostly in my head, created with lots of trial and error over the years.
The measurements are all approximate. The vinegar is essential as it helps the pancakes be fluffy!

Lisa's Pancakes

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups SR flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups milk + 1/2 cup extra
2 tsp vinegar
2 eggs

Method
Mix the vinegar into the 1 1/2 cups of milk and leave to sit for a few minutes. Then add all the other ingredients. Add extra milk gradually until the batter is runny but not too thin. You may have some milk remaining. Don't overmix the batter or you will have flat pancakes!

Drop tablespoons into a heated frying pan. Once bubbles stop breaking turn over. Repeat.
Keep warm until all are made. Serve with cream and any other toppings.These are also great cold.


I first made this recipe at my friend Cathy's house - we were all trying to eat low GI at that time. Sorry to say I didn't write down the name of the recipe book.
Everytime I make this I never seem to have the dried fruit, but I have found they are just as yummy without it.

Low-carb oat pancakes

Ingredients
1 cup oats
2 cups (500ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (75g) dried fruit
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp bicarb
1 egg
2 tsp butter (melted)
low fat milk

Method
Soak first two ingredients for ten minutes.
Add remaining ingredients (excluding milk). Leave sit for up to an hour.
Add milk to thin slightly and then spoon about a tbsp at a time into a heated pan.
Serve warm with favourite pancake toppings. If you omit the dried fruit they are yummy with berries and low-fat yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup!


This is my final recipe that I love, these are really light and fluffy and you can make them with or without the blueberries. This one is from the Dairy Farmers Buttermilk carton.

Buttermilk & Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
2tbsp castor sugar
375ml buttermilk
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp melted butter
1 cup blueberries

Method
Sift flour into a bowl. Add sugar, buttermilk, egg and butter. Beat with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth. Add blueberries and orange rind and stir to combine. Pre-heat a non-stick oiled frying pan over medium heat. Cook pancakes for approx 1-2 minutes or until bubbles appear in the uncooked batter. Then turn the pancake over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until golden. Enjoy immediately or keep warm in a pre-heated oven. Serve with fresh lemon juice or maple syrup.

Take care of you.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Frugal Subversive Award!

Wow! Can I just say that I am honoured that Lightening nominated me for a Frugal Subversive Award that was begun by Rhonda Jean . Thank you Rhonda Jean for starting the award in an effort to raise awareness and thank you so much Lightening for your lovely words about my blog. I promise to post some pancake recipes for you in the next few posts :)

Now it's my turn to pass on the award to 3 bloggers who I think are deserving of the award. There are so many great blogs out there it is hard to choose just 3 but here it goes:

My first nomination goes to Kez who like the rest of us trying to simplify her life whilst juggling work, motherhood and CEO of her home. I love her honesty and her posts about the guilt of being a working mother really strike a chord with me. I also love her reading list of "posts-I-like".

Secondly I'd like to nominate Kate whose blog Our red house has the words "ordinary things, simple things, beautiful things" as part of her heading. Her blog brings back lots of memories of my own childhood and I love the vintage items she manages to post about on her blog. Keep bringing out the nostalgia Kate!

My final nomination goes to Mrs Pivec at Golightly Place. I've been inspired by her efforts to get her children menu planning and cooking meals for the family. I knew I had met a kindred spirit when I read this:

"When my children arrived on the planet, I just assumed that craft supplies were vital to life, and so I have always had them. I mean, I had them even before they arrived, of course, but once they were on the scene, I would now have two little ones to do crafts with me!"

Thank you Mrs Pivec for making me smile :) Lots!

And here is a copy of the original notes that go with the award so you know what to do next:

If you are given an award and want to take part in this meme, you can in turn select three other bloggers who have inspired you to be a frugal subversive.
Passing the rules on with the award will make it easier for everyone to participate.
Congratulations on the award. I hope it helps you spread awareness near and far.
MEME RULES
1. When you are tagged, write a post with links to three blogs who have inspired you with their frugal creativity or innovation.
2. In your post, please link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme and save the award graphic.
3. Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you’re tagging, so they they know they're received the award.
4. Display the Frugal Subversive Award badge to identify your blog as part of the movement that is turning its back on consumerism at any cost.

Now I am off to post on these lovely ladies blogs to let them know they are nominated:)
Please go visit and read what they have to say. There are more I would have picked, but I had to choose only three this time.
take care of you.