Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Raise it up.

My husband has decided that due to the deer smorgasbord made of our veggie patch last year that he wants to build a greenhouse to keep our tomatoes, peppers and misc veggies protected.
I agree but while we're at it why not put in some raised beds for the stuff the deer don't take a fancy to. We love gardening but with the amount of exterior home reno we have taken on there just doesn't seem to be time.
I think the hubby and I are on the same page this year and we both realise we need to make time, there is something to be said for the work = reward when it comes to gardening. It really is very therapeutic, not to mention educational especially for the kids.
I have been drooling over some of the fantastic work out there online, proud gardeners who have taken time to share their ideas and knowledge with others. I don't know what I would have done without the Internet when it comes to gardening.

Just look at this layout by The Modern Gardener. It reminds me of wandering down the aisles of a supermarket, everything laid out so perfectly in a row.

Here are some more images from the net, drool! Patience my child, all in good time.
I must remember and constantly remind myself that every year I bite off more than I can chew and end up feeling deflated about my gardening abilities.

 Anyone out there have great success with raised beds and want to share their wisdom? I'm your student!!!

In the meantime, I will continue to browse through my seed catalogues and continue to plan what we are going to grow this year. Nothing frivolous, just the basics...I have plans to can my butt off this year, with the cost of basic food items raising at an alarming rate I really think it's time to consider what is a necessity and what is not.
Wow, it's been a whole week since I last posted any juicy stuff, time flies when you're on spring break.
I forgot how busy the kids can keep me when they are home, I'm hearing a lot of "I'm Bored" and "There's NOTHING to do". Anyone one else out there have children that are impossibly bored with nothing to do?

Here's my week in pictures, because thinking back I'm almost positive we didn't do NOTHING!!!

I saw this fantastic idea on MADE and decided it was a fabulous boredom fighter. After picking a space and giving the walls a quick wipe, I let the girls decorate the space with a little SPRING flower fever. Any time I heard..." But there's nothing to do" my response would be..." Go make some flower's".

They have a long way to go, but then again Spring break is only halfway over. There's not much color outside but there sure will be inside when the girls are done!!

Zoe is my little chef in the making so we have had a few stuffed ravioli dinners this week with the use of my new toy. I am yet to freeze any of it as so far it's all been so darn good and it ends up in our tummies.
Roasted butternut squash was our last filling of choice, a little rich, maybe next time we can mix it with some ricotta cheese.

I meant to take a picture before they were all gobbled up, please excuse the poor food styling!!!!

Zoe's speciality is crepes, that girl has the recipe memorised and can whip out a patch of yummies at the drop of a hat.
I made a pavlova on the weekend for a surprise birthday party and was left with lots of egg yolks. What do you do with 6 large farm fresh egg yolks?
LEMON CURD!!!! To go with the crepes of course.


 A little spring clean and organising. Look how organised my cutlery is.....(cough...freak...Cough).

And last but not least....spring is just itching to put on a show, but we're not quite there yet.

I think I can, I think I can...I think I can!!!
Go little tulips GROW dammit.

Can you see the excitement on Zoe's face!!! NOT!

Made more of these.........yum.

And this needs to be raked and snipped and pruned and weeded. Feels good to be outside in the fresh air and getting my hands very, very dirty again. Although my rule this year is to wear garndening gloves whenever I'm in that dirt, I'm starting to get old lady hands and that's just not cool.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yummy, yummy, yummy I've got ravioli in my tummy.

Tried out the ravioli maker this weekend and ..... I LOVE IT!!! It's spring break for the next two weeks so I am going to make a whole bunch of pasta and freeze it.

It makes mass production so much faster. Now I just need to make some freezer space.

The filling for this one is onion, garlic, spinach, herb and garlic goat cheese finished off with some olive oil, sea salt and parmigiana reggiano.

Some roasted asparagus for a nummi dinner.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Me and Jack.

AAAAh I found another way for me to fantasize about my imaginary relationship with my favourite singer Jack Johnson. I know I'm not alone in this fantasy, you ladies out there know what I'm talking about!!!Or maybe it's just me...I'm OK with that..more for me?

I saw on the Marilyn show today a snippet about Eco cosmetics, beauty products and accessories and could not get to the computer quick enough to check out the website they were showing.
It's called wear your music and some brilliant person decided to make jewellery from the used guitar strings of your favourite musician. Proceeds go to the charity of the musicians choice......WHAT!!! Brilliant.

I cannot afford $150 for a bracelet regardless of the fact that it probably has Jacks DNA on it but a girl can dream!
You can add extrs to it such as a diamond and a recycled sterling silver clasp. It also comes with the artists initials on it so that you can pretend that you really are dating.
If Jack Johnson's not for you, that's cool, there are at least a hundred other artists there for you do get all weak at the knees over.
For instance, my birthday is in October and I wouldn't be at all offended if Ben Harper ended up on my wrist!!!hint, hint!!!


Cookie pops and book worms.

Last night I helped run a bake sale at the elementary school for the annual "Battle of the books". Zoe has entered this fun event for the last two years, anything to get her reading more books is a bonus as far as I am concerned. She loves reading but having someone else pick the books is fantastic, it's like a tween version of my adult book club.
Her team didn't win but they had a fantastic time which makes all the effort worthwhile.
So I baked my butt off yesterday, green jelly slice for Saint Patrick's day, lemon cupcakes with mango frosting and chocolate mint cookie pops.
I love bake sales, seeing all of the fun and fantastic things other people create, some healthy and some not so healthy (mine). A big thank you again to all the wonderful ladies who contributed to the sale.

Isabelle's yummy beer buns were a hit with the ladies. I must have this recipe Isabelle!!!!
And her chocolate cookies, a few ended up coming home to my house.

Get a load of these meringue nests with cadbury mini eggs, these things disappeared very quickly. What a cute Easter idea, way to go Natalie.

My treats were the one's all full of food coloring to get the kids all razzed up. Nothing like a hit of green and red food dye to get the kids going!!!

Cookie pops are my new thang!!!

Here's the recipe.

Chewy chocolate sandwich cookies (womansday.com)

Recipe Ingredients

2 bars (4 oz each) bittersweet chocolate, broken into 1-in. pieces
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp each baking powder and salt
1/2 cup mini–semisweet chocolate chips

Mint or Coffee Buttercream Frosting

Recipe Preparation

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with nonstick foil or parchment paper. Put chocolate in large glass bowl. Microwave on high 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, until chocolate is melted and smooth.

2. Stir in sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until blended. Stir in mini-chips.

3. Drop level tablespoons 11/2 in. apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes until cookies are puffed and set. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

4. For each sandwich, spread 1 Tbsp buttercream frosting onto bottom of cookie; add a popsicle stick, coffestir stick or lollipop stick,press another cookie on top. Refrigerate in an airtight container with wax paper between layers.

Buttercream Frosting.

3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1⁄4 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe Preparation

Mint Use 1⁄4 tsp peppermint extract instead of vanilla; add a few drops of green food color.
Coffee Dissolve 1 Tbsp instant coffee in 1 Tbsp hot water; add instead of milk.
Apple Instead of milk, add 1 to 2 Tbsp apple juice until spreadable.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For all you mummies out there

I found another great and resourceful website for all my fellow mum's out there.
This one is called how does she and it's a great place to share ideas for our everyday lives. Their motto is women.sharing.ideas. It's run by three lovely mum's who between them have 11 children, so they know what they are talking about and also the types of stuff we seek. They have tips on cooking, fashion, running a household, family, relationships and more. 

I've only scraped the surface so far but already I have some great print-ables and recipes for a bake sale tomorrow night at our school.
They have also shared links to some amazing giveaways such as a free hard back photo book from Picaboo  and a free printed canvas from canvas people.

If you have a minute....or an hour, I hope you can find the time to go check it out. Don't forget to share with other mummies!!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flour less peanut butter cookies.

I have to be honest here, I am not a fan of peanut butter flavoured things, Reese's peanut buttercups make me gag....too much peanut....however today I made some cookies that even I enjoyed.

I'm sure my family thought all of their Christmases had come at once as I'm also not a cookie person, but to avoid another trip into town for school lunch supplies I hit my recipe stack full of untested recipes. I think I may have found a keeper, this recipe has only four ingredients, all of which are a constant in my pantry...peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and baking soda.
All things considered I was feeling pretty proud of myself today until I remembered that peanuts and school do not mix. So I will pick another recipe tonight that is more school friendly and bake while the kids are in bed.

For now here's the cookie recipe that's a keeper! Flour less peanut butter cookies.

2 cups of smooth peanut butter
2 cups of brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of baking soda

Preheat oven to 350f.
Beat peanut butter, sugar, eggs and baking soda for 2 minutes or until smooth and blended.
Drop level tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, remove to wire racks and cool completely.

The cookies were great just like that but I couldn't help myself and made a chocolate ganache for half of the cookies to push the yummy factor way over the edge.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Well hello Mr ravioli maker

Yesterday was a good day.

I went to watch my Zoe sing at the Performing Arts Centre in Vernon with her fellow choir members and was so blown away at their talents I actually had tears in my eyes. What a great experience for the kids to stand proud on a real stage and sing in front of a real audience, granted there was no possibility of them having rotten tomatoes thrown at them or getting booed off the stage, but they were truly fantastic.

Followed by a yummy lunch at Pho fusion with my wonderful friend Louisa and a very impromptu visit to a new store in town called Epicurean Food Equipment, on 27th Street.

I've been meaning to drop into this great new store as I am a bit of a kitchen gadget junkie, but never seem to manage it.
WELL, I'm amazed I was able to leave with only having spent $25 buckaroo's.

Here's what I picked up.....

Is anyone as excited as me?? Homemade Ravioli, oh the possibilities are endless. Butternut squash with feta, chicken and rosemary, beet and ginger (thanks for the inspiration Natalie), spinach and ricotta, chicken and prosciutto.....or even sweet blueberry ravioli.

Anyone want to join me for a ravioli weekend extravaganza. I think I will make a bunch and freeze them for quick weekday dinners. My kids are going to never want to move out.

We have the kitchen aid pasta roller attachment too so I can't wait to get a little production line going. I'm taking names.......anyone up for it?

I get to go to work again today, yaay for me!! I think I'm getting the hang of things, I so look forward to hanging out with Brenda and spending time in such a pretty environment where everything has a place and nobody can come along and mess it up.
Yes, that was a dig at my kids, I'm only human! I love them, just not their mess.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vintage book wreath.

Here it is...all done and in it's new spot in my house. It's not overly christmassy is it? You'd tell me if it was...right????

What a quick and rewarding project for an icky outside day. Nothing beats a good session with the hot glue gun.
I'm not going to get all ellaborate with a tutorial as this one is so easy, even my 10 year old could do this.

Step 1. If you don't have a styrofoam wreath to use as a base you could do what I did and simply make one from an old cardboard box....like so....this way you get to make whatever size you like.

Old books are great if you can get them, these ones were on the side of the road free, free, free....a little smelly but free I tell ya.
Step 2. Tear pages from your book, giggle because it feels so naughty....and set them aside. Warm up your hot glue gun.

Step 3. Curl, fold or scrunch your pages however you like to get the desired effect, glue them onto the BACK of your wreath form.
I tried to overlap mine just a tiny bit to make sure the the cardboard was not exposed.

Step 4. Flip your wreath over. Begin a second row of pages, followed by a third and forth if you like. You can keep going for a fuller wreath, it's completely up to you. glue, glue, glue.
To complete the final row I folded the edges of the page slightly and wrapped it back onto the backside of the wreath and a shot of hot glue to hold it all down.


You can glue a hook on the back or a piece of folded ribbon or string for hanging.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Craft Talk

If you need a giggle take a minute and watch this fantastic new break out artist Leslie and the Ly's. She's not for everyone but I think she is hilarious.
This one's called craft talk and if you're a crafter yourself there is no way you cannot see the humor in this video.

Her other hits include such classics as Gem sweater, gold pants lullaby, don't blame my booty and ring a ding ding.

Have a great day my fellow crafty ladies.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pressure cooker love....

One attempt under my belt, I would not call an absolute success, but the final result was tasty, beef on a bun with caramelised onions and peppers. 

This pressure cooking stuff is a bit challenging without the original manufacturers info for my new toy. Thank goodness for the Internet, I'm planning some apple sauce for this afternoon.
Last night I cooked a roast in an hour but I definitely think it could have been done in half an hour.
I tried a new spice profile. Red peppers, star anise, garlic, paprika, bay leaf, salt and pepper with some beef broth.

If anyone out there has helpful hints or recipes they are willing to share PLEASE feel free to pass them on. I'm itching to use my new toy for canning as well, but I think I need to keep my training wheels on for a bit longer before I start putting glass jars into this wondrous machine.

OMG...I'm in love

I woke up this morning thinking about the blog entry I was going to do this morning about my new pressure cooker, well, new to me ($10 at the thrift store). It was to be more of a plea of sorts as I've never owned one let alone cooked with one and I have no idea how to use it. I was hoping my readers out there could pass on their recipes, techniques or tips.

But then I stumbled across this....SWEET PAUL. It had been reviewed on another of my usual stalks Simply modern mom.

It's a digital magazine, I guess all the cool cats are doing them now. And the creator Paul is my new hero.
There are a few back issues on the site for you to drool over, they are seasonal so Spring, fall, winter etc. His latest one is a special kids issue and it is the most inspirational adorable thing I've seen in a while.
AND total do-able, there's nothing in there that we ordinary folk can not make, bake or create.
So if you have a few minutes or a whole afternoon take a look, I promise you won't regret it. I'm planning on getting my "stuff" done at turbo speed today so that I can kick back with a cup of tea this arvo and go over every lovely page.


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