Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Is For Sharing



This vegetarian cookbook was given to me a long time ago, and I am still very far from trying every recipe.
But when I stumbled upon this one.......I was instantly in love. It was the best, most flavourful soup I had ever made. It didn't have that dull watery taste of most vegetable soups.
I cannot count how many times I have made it, but enough to not need the recipe anymore.
Of course I tweaked it in the slightest. I did not add the beans. I'm not a huge fan of beans unless they are fresh off my vine or the snap frozen ones..... Tinned beans just don't do it for me.


(Just right click on the image and save)

:)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 Things I Love...



About my daughter...

  1. The way she clings to me, throwing her small arms around me when I get her out of bed. She loves her cuddles as much as her mummy does.
  2. Her laugh, it is pure joy.
  3. That she shares everything with me, mainly her pre chewed sloppy toast but I still pretend to share it with her. It makes her laugh.
  4. Watching her off in her own little world, running around the house, bouncing from one toy to the next.
  5. Listening to her "read" her books to herself.
  6. Her cheeky smile.
  7. The way she twirls and plays with her hair, just like her mummy.
  8. When she dances, her hips swaying and her shoulders bouncing up and down. Hilariously cute.
  9. Seeing how excited she gets when her daddy gets home, the look of love on her face.
  10. .........Ok, I love EVERYTHING about her, even when she poops in the bath I still have a smile on my face.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Exciting News!

We are horrible at keeping our own secrets, my husband and I. We found out 2 weeks ago that I am pregnant (yes, yippee!) and decided we'd wait to find out how many weeks along I am until we tell everyone.
My friends and family are too smart.
Some just know me too well, and others read everything I say and jump straight to the conclusion of "she's preggers!"

Event number one that started the cloud of suspicion:

I had to have a blood test done.
I HATE having blood taken. I get anxious, sick, borderline panic attack and have to lie down, close my eyes and usually grip my husband's hand so tight he winces in pain.
This time I was worried, with my last pregnancy I had a horrible blood taking experience and was afraid it could happen again. I had been sick, my morning sickness with my first pregnancy was awful, severe and I am pretty sure I spent about 3.5 months doing nothing but vomiting everything back up that went in my mouth. The day of the blood test arrived, I was feeling ok, only vomited once that morning so was fairly happy with myself. Then after arriving, telling them I am a complete and utter pansy and will need to lie down, I was ushered off into a room with cute baby animal posters and a high bed with stuffed toys glaring at me. Yes, I am where the children come too get their blood taken, and I don't care.
After the usual light hearted chat, I stared at the posters while the nurse attempted to suck my veins dry........ Something was wrong.
It wasn't working.
My veins kept disappearing every time she jabbed them.
She asked if I had drank much water.
Yes I have but I have been sick.
Oh.
So you are dehydrated.
4 nurses and six needle stabbing attempts later they finally managed to get that precious blood out of me.
With a baby needle.
I walked out of there with both arms looking like pincushions.
Never again.
So this time I drank water all day, constantly sipping.
No matter how many times I had to rush off to pee I was determined to make this time easier.
Well it was.
I got to lounge in a comfy recliner chair and found out the reason why my blood doesn't want to come out. My veins are very deep so they have to really jab that needle in there to get to them.
It is slightly embarassing to bbe so deathly afraid of needles when I have gone through 20hrs of labour, drug free only to have a gigantic needle shoved in my spine right before I finally pushed my baby out. Yeah, childbirth I can handle but stick a spikey thing near me and I will get all woozy and possibly vomit on you.

The second suspicious activities:

I have been hit with morning sickness hard. Out of nowhere. Sick all day, exhausted, drained.
My sweet husband has been helping me so much. I wish I could return the favour with a decent cooked meal. I haven't baked any bread in over a week now, we had to buy some! But I have to admit, I love the light and fluffy texture of my toast in the mornings, it does my stomach some good.
Since I have been sick I have become a bit of a hermit, missing out on my usual weekly outings like playgroup, Women's Ministry, Mainly Music (fun music play time for kids). People have noticed, asked if I'll be there and I've had to fob them off with pathetic "I'm not feeling so well today" excuses.
At church you could hear it in their voices when they asked "So how are you feeling today?" that they knew what was going on. On Sunday it seemed like everyone was onto us, we had been caught! So we got one of our lovely friends to announce it to everyone. Not that they didn't already know!

So that is why I have been sick, lazy and stuck inside the house. I desperately want to do some gardening but have no energy and the thought of vomiting in my yard in front of our neighbours is not very appealing either.

So I'm going to snuggle back in bed with my vegemite on toast and cup of tea and keep counting down the days until that sickness disappears...
:)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Other Baby



She was tiny when we got her.
Still bottle fed, had severe diarrhea and loved the constant attention when a bottle was coming her way.

These days...........
She doesn't like being alone.
She steals the chook food.
She is a fussy eater.
She cries if she sees you walk past the window when she misses you.
She loves to play with our dog.
When she escapes she runs next door to play with the other dogs.
She thinks I am her mummy and gets very excited when I come outside.
She loves coming in the house. NOT allowed to at all but she sneaks in sometimes when I am juggling a gigantic basket full of washing.
She wags her tail when I pat her.



This is the most recent photo I have of her...... She was on her chain out the front but found out it reached inside. I heard her clip clop her way in and managed to haul her out before she made a mess everywhere!

So that is my little other baby called Esmerelda, or "Ezzy" as we call her.
She does get us in trouble, make a mess and too much noise but she is our cute little pet, a part of our family.
:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Is For Sharing

I haven't been feeling too well lately. Actually quite sick.
My motivation levels are dipping so low our dinners have become the laziest meals ever.
The other night I went as far as putting food on a tray and into the oven. In a random burst of energy a few hours before dinner I had cut up some veges and put them in my steamer ready to go with our fish and chips.......
......
....
...
..
And after all that effort I couldn't even eat it all!
I picked at my chips, ate all my veges (yes mum you should be proud I ate them first!) then had most of my fish.....Until halfway through a piece I got the sudden urge to be sick so goodbye yummy dinner!

Tonight it will be another simple but hopefully nutritional meal....
So I have turned to my trusty cookbook.
My best cookbook I have.



And after flicking through to take these snaps my eyes (and my stomach) seem to have settled on this one....



In fact, the instant memory of it's yumminess makes me want it NOW! I'll just have to convince the husband that I need it enough to go to the shops and pick up a few supplies.
Usually we have most ingredients in the garden or fridge but our last shopping trip my head was in the clouds and a few things were forgotten.

Anyway back to the yummy recipe....


(Yes I am really that lazy/ill that I'm not typing it out for you.....)

You should try it.
But my suggestion is without the mint.
I didn't add it the first time I made it so the next I decided to try it......
NOT AGAIN.
It was not so good.
Changed the whole taste and not to my liking.

Anyway!
I'll be sharing more of my favourites from this cookbook every Saturday.
:)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Getting Dirty



I should get out in the garden and do some weeding. It is bad, very, very bad.
It is hard to find the time, I have to wait until my dear husband is home to keep the little girl entertained.
I ventured out today to assess my vege patch.
The broccoli is almost ready to pick. I killed a few nasty slugs having a munch on them!
Everything else is still small, but I guess that is to be expected in winter.
I finally picked my carrots which seem to have been there for an eternity. I can never get big juicy carrots!



I think some research is needed for my next lot!
:)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake



Think that looks yummy?
Go here to The Pioneer Woman's website for the recipe.
Make it. You know you want to.
Try not to eat it all while it is still warm. (Very hard to do)



This recipe makes a HUGE tray of cake with plenty of icing. My cake rose a bit more in the middle so the edges are almost half cake, half icing.
The hole in the photo was my attempt to push some of the icing from the edges into a neat little well...... And it was also our little taste test. (Has to be done!)



The fruit bowl looking very lonely in the background.... Fruit or cake? Hmmmmm......

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Is For Sharing

On Tuesday I did some baking. I felt it was necessary since we had only one jam drop biscuit left and my husband had eaten all of his chocolate.
EMERGENCY! SWEET THINGS NEEDED!

I tried a recipe from the Pioneer Woman (I have a teensy crush on her cooking skills, check her out here if you haven't met her yet). I tried out her recipe for "Spreads" found in the cookie section. But I'll tell you more about those later....

On to the recipe!
My friend gave me this recipe after we scoffed some of these at her house once. It has to be the most soft and delicious muesli I have ever eaten. It crumbles a bit but that would make it just perfect for serving with yogurt for breakfast. I must try that!



Apricot Muesli Bars

Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 30-35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup dried apricots - chopped
1 cup water
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup coconut
150 grams butter
1 tsp baking powder

Directions:

1. Combine apricots & water in a saucepan, boil until all of the water is absorbed.
2. Combine flour, oats, coconut and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Stir in brown sugar & butter into apricot mix, stirring as it melts into a syrup.
4. Add apricot mix to dry ingredients & combine.
5. Pour mixture into a slice tin, pre-lined with baking paper.
6. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes at 180C, until golden brown.

Trust me, it is good...




After both trays of goodies were cooled I sliced them up and popped them into my favourite little tins.
Now you can sit at the table and decide... Fruit or yummy baked treats?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Crafty/Study/Spare Bedroom Makeover



This used to be our spare room.
It is my crafting space, my husband's computer space and also our spare bedroom.
Also known as a pig sty!
But after days of cleaning, sorting, hauling in a huge set of drawers and vacuuming again and again it finally looks good.



I still need to make some proper curtains....
The desk has a bit of mess, but it is much better!



I pulled out this set of drawers from our shed and vacuumed and wiped them down to shove all my fabrics and other bits and pieces in.....
On the top left hand side is my box of patterns (mostly vintage) and the middle is my work in progress box. A LOT of stuff in there!



The beds for our very infrequent guests...



Next to the single futon there is a big set of drawers which we filled with more stuff.....
And of course my dressmaker's mannequin and more drawers full of crafty stuff.



So there it is!
Still not quite child friendly but much better.
:)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who Knew Bubbles Could Be So Much Fun?



This morning, while feeling utterly exhausted and a little bit sick I was overcome with a very strange urge to clean out my daughter's little container of kitchen stuff.
It has held her panadol, bottles, bowls & cutlery and needed a clean. Out went the bottles and all their bits and pieces. She has totally weaned herself off the bottle so no use now!
While cleaning I found a tiny bright yellow plastic bottle full of bubbly liquid.
I blew a few bubbles in the kitchen to see how Eve would react....
Well!
She loves them!
She ran around, chasing them, trying to catch them and being amazed when they popped in her hands.
I looked down at the floor and realized it was covered in slippery liquid. Ooops!
I quickly wiped it all down before any accidents could happen and took Eve off into the loungeroom onto our big shaggy rug.
Then the fun began......









What a cutie! She ran through them, tried to catch them then just sat and stared as they floated down around her.
:)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Madness

I am always overcome with this urge to make things.
I want to make some of these cupcakes:



And these beautiful coffee filter roses!



This gorgeous child's travel pillow:



This super pretty whirl it lampshade:



Crochet some of these slippers:



Make some of these delicate paper cherry blossoms (I even have the branches ready to go!):



I'll eventually get to them.... Someday!
:)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Things Look A Little Different Around Here!

You may have noticed I did a major overhaul of my blog yesterday. I used the new Blogger Template Designer and I really like it!
There were so many great options to choose from and with a live demo it made tweaking so much easier.

But that won't be the only change around here. I am aiming to do more frequent posting and be a little more organised. Though I can't make any promises yet!
I have lots of photos of crafty goods to take and share, and even a special giveaway coming up soon. It is so gorgeous I know it will be hard to part with, but I would love to give it to a new home!

I have also added and "About Me" page, just click on our little family photo on the right hand side and it will take you there. It's not an essay of my life, just a few short and sweet notes on me and my family. I like to read about the people I follow so I thought it was about time I shared a little too.

I hear my girl calling.....
:)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Is For Sharing

I'm feeling like sharing today.
Saturday, sharing, yes, why not?
This is an amazingly delicious vegetarian lasagne recipe.
My favourite.
Ever!


(This is it the next day, it keeps well in the fridge and should freeze well too, though it never lasts long enough in our house to try!)

Creamy Vegetable Lasagne

Preparation time 20 minutes plus 20 minutes standing time.
Cooking Time 40-45 minutes.
Ingredients

900mL Milk
2 Shallots, sliced
2 Sticks Celery, sliced (I use the middle scrawny ones)
2 Bay Leaves
250g Broccoli, cut into small florets
2 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
250g Mushrooms, sliced
2 Zucchini, sliced
3 Tablespoons butter
45g Plain Flour
125g Cheddar Cheese, grated
Black Pepper
180g Egg Lasagne Verdi Sheets (I use the instant Lasagne sheets as they are cheaper and much more long life in the pantry!)

Directions:

Place milk, shallots, celery and bay leaves in a pan, bring to the boil, remove from heat, stand for 20 minutes. Strain, discard shallots etc and reserve infused milk.
Cook broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes (I do this in the microwave to save dirty dishes). Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a frying pan, saute onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Melt butter in a large pan, stir in flour to make a paste, add strained milk slowly, bring to the boil, whisking. Reduce heat, simmer for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Set aside about a third of the sauce. To the remmaining sauce add half the cheese, the mushroom mixture, broccoli and black pepper.
Spoon half the mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish. Top with half the lasagne sheets. Repeat and pour over reserved sauce, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden and bubbling.


Even though (unlike most of my cooking) there are many dirty dishes left behind afterwards, this recipe is still a favourite at our house, so much so we had it three nights in a row when I first got the recipe!
:)

Friday, July 2, 2010

More Sweet Things...

Today was another busy day....
I guess I should start a few days ago when all this mess began....
Wednesday.
I stumbled out of bed as the baby monitor gurgled at me.
She was up. It was cold. Very cold.
I had a vague memory of my husband getting up and leaving for work and the bed was cold and empty without him. I stumbled out into the kitchen to get things going, bypassing the loungeroom to get the heater blasting.
Boil the kettle.
Heat up some milk for Eve's weet bix.
Toast on, two for me, two for Eve.
Butter in the microwave to soften from it's brick like state.
Vegemite out, lid off, ready to go.
One of the most important: Coffee!
Cup ready with the perfect amounts of coffee, sugar and cocoa powder.
Ok, so I'm ready.
As I headed off to get the little girl out of bed I heard a funny noise.
Must be my sleepy brain sloshing around up there.
I continued to change and dress Eve.
We both clung to each other for warmth as we huddled in the kitchen, me multi tasking like you wouldn't believe, while Eve did her usual HOW-DARE-YOU-PUT-ME-DOWN scream in my ears.
MUMMY CAN'T MAKE COFFEE, WEET BIX AND TOAST WITH YOU IN MY ARMS!
She gets bored, comes to the conclusion that this is not getting her anywhere and goes off to the fridge to play with her Bananas In Pajamas fridge magnets.
I continue to ignore the whooshing noise and concentrate on my coffee.
Breakfast is done!
I load up Eve's highchair with everything but my precious caffeine hit and wheel her in it into the now slightly warmer lounge room.
I sit.
I sip.
Mmmmm.
Oh hello Vegemite on toast!
Eve and I eat in peace, she stuffs her toast in her mouth faster than you could imagine. I check my emails on my little laptop and slowly start to wake up.
But that wooshing noise is still there.....
I put down my empty coffee cup and went to explore this curious noise...
It was loudest in the kitchen.
The window doesn't open in there, it is blocked off so I went to the closest one, the bathroom, next.
I opened the window and a blast of icy wind smacked me in the face.
The ground was white.
Except underneath me.....
I poked my head out and saw the problem.
Some genius had put water pipes on the outside wall of our house.
They were small, had a tiny patch of insulation and had bust open, gushing water everywhere.
I called it my temporary water feature.
So I hurried into some shoes and ran out to turn the water off.
Would have been a smart idea to fill up the kettle and water jug before dooing so but in my defence my coffee hadn't fully kicked in yet....
So I did a text a round to get our landlords number, messagged her, she called and somehow through some static I heard that a plumber would be there very soon, about 45mins.
This was at 930am.
He arrived at 230pm.
The pipes were so old and rusted they had just cracked open right under the insulation. A combination of the cold and dodgy pipes the plumber told me.
So happy to have the water back on I piled mountains of washing in the machine and looked at the pile of dirty dishes that had patiently waited for me.
Hot tap on.
Cold.......... Cold............Not even close to warm.
Turns out the pipe that burst was the one to our hot water system. Who knows what time in the night/morning it burst but we were left with no hot water until the following day.
Of course with lots of kettle boiling I managed the dishes, but poor Eve did not get her nice warm bath that night.

The next day we noticed something was wrong........ Our toilet was broken.
The cistern wasn't filling up.
Our toilet is old, very old, plastic and has the thickest calcification in the bowl it is quite DISGUSTING! It always had trouble filling up if it got too low but this time nothing was happening at all.
So I contacted the landlord.
Waited.
Waited.
Then finally today the plumber came.
Hello again!
Turns out the pipe was blocked with rust and a valve had busted too.
Yummy, RUST!

Oh and the weather took a turn. After I hung out the three loads of washing that had been waiting for me...... It decided to rain.
I reluctantly put Eve's clothes in the dryer. She needs them too much to wait.
So that has been our frustrating week so far...... This house is quite literally falling apart around us! But at least we have a roof over our heads, even if it does leak in three rooms. :)

Today I decided to break my routine breakfast. Mainly because I woke at 540am and couldnt get back to sleep. I was dreaming of pancakes......

My Breakfast:



Eve's Breakfast:



I made some of these "Watermelon" Cupcakes:





Sweet toothed little girl!



Looking forward to tomorrow as a friend and I are leaving our kids at home with the men and going off to check out some garage sales! Woohoo! Of course I have no money to spend but it'll be fun anyway.
:)