Thursday, July 26, 2012

Late Night DIY

I have been so inspired by this amazing site, Love Maegan.
It made me realize that I haven't made an accessories for a very long time.
So, while watching some old Star Wars the other night, I pulled out some old supplies and had a play.


I made this by using the screw in studs, so no sewing at all!
The best part is that I can take it all apart and re-use the supplies for other projects when I get tired of this one.

I managed to do a little bit of pattern making and sewing, and made this cute pajama top for my girl...


I'll be making some matching pants as soon as I get a chance, and will share both patterns on here as a free download. Yay for free stuff!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Coconut and Orange Slice {RECIPE}

Baking binge?
Yeah, pretty much!
I can't seem to stop, but I'm doing it with a purpose.
I promise!
Our fruit bowl has been overflowing with oranges.
So what do I do?
Find recipes using oranges. 
I have been trying to use new recipes, ones I've never tried before.
So I skipped over my usual orange cake.
And I found a recipe in my big book of baking.

It was called Coconut Bars.
But considering the orange juice and rind, I decided to rename it.
The last recipe I used from this book was not so great.
The taste was fantastic, but the quantities were all wrong.
I was hesitant...
But I mixed, and it looked good...
I baked...
It smelled fantastic.
I changed the icing recipe to not have an egg white in it, and voila!



It was so soft, and crumbly when I finally pulled it from the tin. After only 15mins of cooling time it was more cake-like than anything. I wondered... Was this another success but failure?

I let it cool completely, and returned to taste test...


It cooled into a dense, moist, delicious slice.
Yes, it was a slice.
A really good one!
The taste is fresh with a subtle orange flavour and chewy coconut, while the icing offers a burst of delicious citrus flavour.
I will mark this one down as a favourite!

Coconut & Orange Slice

Ingredients:

125g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
3 tbspn fresh orange juice
150mL sour cream
140g self-raising flour 
85g desiccated coconut

Frosting:
1 egg white
200g icing sugar
85g desiccated coconut
Fresh orange juice, about 1 tbspn 

(With the frosting I made, I mixed half icing sugar, half coconut in a bowl and added orange juice until I reached the right consistency)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180*C. Grease a 23cm square cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs.
Stir in the orange rind, orange juice, and sour cream.
Fold in the flour and coconut evenly using a metal spoon.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40mins, or until risen and firm to the touch.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Frosting:

Lightly beat the egg white, just enough to break it up, and stir in the icing sugar and desiccated coconut, adding enough orange juice to mix to a thick paste. Spread over the top of the cake, leave to set before slicing into bars.





Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pinterest Fail, Pinterest Success!

My girl has been requesting that we do some painting.
It has been a while, the last time ended up messy, as usual.
We still haven't been to the shops to buy her some new paints...
Terrible mother, I know!

This morning I decided to put some of my Pinterest finds into action.
I knew I could make some finger paints for them, like I did back here.
Then I saw this idea and thought BRILLIANT! 
NO MESS!


But uh.....
This is how my attempt went...
Within seconds of them being done, they were ripped off the table.
He poked...


Got bored with that, so scrunched it up...


...And threw it on the ground...


She just looked bored, wanted to open the bags and eat it...


While I was cleaning up the mess from the boy, she split open her bag and started ti paint the outside, and her forehead.

No mess?
Yes, mess!!
But there was a success this morning...

I opened a delicious jar of sun dried tomatoes last night for our home made pizzas...


(Which were amazingly delicious!)

I noticed on the jar it says that they have to be consumed within 7 days of opening.
I usually ignore these warnings...
But this time I took it as a challenge, and went on a hunt.

I came across this...


Looks pretty tasty, right?
I glance at the recipe and went to the kitchen.
I chucked a bit of this, and a bit of that in there.
More tomatoes, less cheese, more garlic.
Always more garlic!

And voila!


Delicious with crackers...



Or spread on some freshly toasted crusty bread...



Obviously mine looks very different to hers!
I just chucked everything into my mini food processor and whizzed it up to a yummy paste.
Success!




Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Love Good Freebies

I know everyone loves freebies...
But I love good ones.
Many a time have I been fooled into a 'click here' or 'subscribe now', only to receive a lacklustre freebie.
Then of course comes the bombardment of whatever email account you surrendered with never-ending spam.
So when I come across good freebies, I do a little happy dance...



Now go and have a look at the beautiful Florabella Collection website.
You will see lots of pretty edited photos and photo boards.
And a little link to some freebies.
It will lead you to her Facebook page.
And when you 'Like" her page, you have access to some goodies.

One is a free Facebook timeline template.
It is cute and super easy to use.
I whipped one up for my personal page...

Cute, hey?

So head on over and make one for yourself!



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chocolate Chip Slab Cookies {RECIPE}

As you can see, I have been on a bit of a baking frenzy.
I whipped up my favourite Vegan Chocolate Cake out of boredom the other night....



Then I flipped open one of my favourite cook books and found a new recipe to try...


And I have to say...... They were delicious!!
The wait for them to cool is torturous, but the reward is well worth it.
Room temperature is best, when the insides are still soft and a bit gooey.



This photo is after they had been in the fridge for a while. When chilled, they turn into creamy fudge-like squares.
*Drools*

But I do have to say, I have been productive in other ways too!
I finished off these cute little pants for my boy, using the same method as in my tutorial for perfect fit pants...


I have been busy crocheting every night...


And some other mystery gifts I will show you later!
(Very cute, very soft, and a little bit blue)

On the menu for dinner tonight (for my meat eaters)...


Savoury Chops, found on this wonderful blog: Not All Tea and Scones.

And soon, I think I have to make some of these mini pizzas...


How delicious do they look!
Happy Cooking!




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Pear Problem

There is something so satisfying about seeing my two-tier fruit bowl overflowing with fresh fruit.
I love it.
My kids love it.
My daughter now gets her little step and helps herself to all the apples she desires.

We order a family size fruit and vegetable box which is delivered once a week.
It is great value, and all Australian produce.
But we have some problems...

We never eat enough potatoes.
We never eat enough onions.
We never eat enough pears.

There are some weeks where we will get the same few things over and over again.
I don't cook potatoes very often, but now I am finding myself making an effort to use them, and even giving some to family and neighbours.

Potatoes and onions last a while in the pantry, but pears are our problem.
Pears do not last that long.
So I put pears in a lot of things.
Pancakes.
Muffins.
Anything I can!

I decided to step out of my kitchen comfort zone this week and try something different.

I hauled out my huge WW cookbook...


And flicked through the recipes with pears.
I settled on the Almond Pear Flan.

I mixed, I rolled and I assembled...


It looked pretty.
But I was a bit nervous on how it would cook, and taste.
When I pulled it out of the oven, the divine smell hit me...


The recipe calls for apricot jam to be warmed, strained and brushed over the top.
I only had strawberry jam.
(We aren't a very jammy family)


I waited for it to cool slightly, and sliced myself a piece...


It reminds me very much of a friand with the almond meal making up most of the filling.
The flavours were delicate, a perfect pairing of almond and pear.


Quite delicious, and perfect served with tea and maybe a splash of whipped cream.

Almond Pear Flan

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups (185g) plain flour
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
90g butter
2 egg yolks

3 firm ripe medium pears, peeled, cored, quartered
2 tablespoons apricot jam, warmed, strained

Almond filling:
125g butter, softened
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup almond meal
1 tablespoon plain flour

Method:
Process flour, sugar and butter until crumbly. Add egg yolks, process until combined.
Knead on floured surface until smooth. Enclose in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make almond filling:
Beat butter and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Stir in almond meal and flour.
Preheat oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced. Grease a 23cm-round loose-based flan tin. 
Roll chilled dough between two sheets of baking paper until large enough to line tin.
Lift pastry into tin, ease into base and side; trim edge.
Spread filling into pastry case; place pears over filling.
Bake flan for about 45 minutes, until golden.
Brush flan with jam.
Enjoy!






Monday, July 16, 2012

Hiding Vegetables In Vegetarian Food

Yes, it sounds ridiculous,
Hiding vegetables in vegetarian food.
Well, when you have fussy eaters like I do, things can get ridiculous!
The latest (and super fast) method involves making a little paste...




Frying it up in a saucepan until softened...



Grabbing a few bits and pieces...


It all looked rather 'meaty' when mixed together...


Then mixed in with the cooked pasta...


I stirred through some feta cheese crumbles...



And voila!




Delicious dinner, full of hidden vegetables without any chunky bits to deter the little ones.
It was a hit!





























Sunday, July 15, 2012

Busy Little Happy Bee


I have been a busy bee lately.
I have been busy baking...




Recipes coming soon!

I have been busy drawing, designing and sewing...






Some experimenting in the kitchen (another recipe that will be here soon!)



I have been out with friends,watched a movie, wined and dined...









One night I jumped into bed to find a giant Dora tucked in waiting for me...


The kiddies have been all over me (as usual)...



And my boy LOVES to climb in the dishwasher every time I open it. His next favourite thing is to push the power button while it's mid-wash. The only button that the child lock does not cover!


But I am a happy little busy bee.
Maybe a little tired, if only there were more hours in the day!
Maybe I need some of these cute little honeycomb bee themed cupcakes to get me through...


How cute are they!
Click the picture to go to the tutorial.

Now I run off, my ten minutes of child-free time is up and they are banging on my door....