Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas traditions

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse....
 
I love those words, because they mark a family tradition that is 20 years old.  Every year on Christmas Eve I would read The Night Before Christmas to my boy, who is almost 21.  Now I read the exact same copy to my girl, nearly 5.
 
Traditions that are super special and something we look forward to.  Ones I hope my children continue in years to come.
 
This one remembers those who have passed, we have an angel on the tree for everyone of our special people who are no longer with us.
 
 
 
Each year we buy a new decoration for the tree, this is last year's from Bali.  Where I can, I add the year and where I got the decoration from.
 

 
 
A few more traditions, leaving out the Santa Key, a snack and drink for Santa and his Reindeer and watching Santa's message to Matilda via the Portable North Pole.
 
 

and my final tradition is wrapping the presents on Christmas Eve.  I've done this for years and I love it.  A nice snack, some good TV and I'm set. 
 
Ok, I'm off to finish this job right now.
 
Thanks again to Larissa from LMR Photography for photographing my tree. 
 
 
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A handmade Christmas

We love a handmade Christmas.  I enjoy the feeling of giving and especially knowing I've made the gift.  I also love surrounding myself with handmade goodies for our home.
 
 
This year we made Christmas bark, rocky road and rosemary salt as gifts. 
 
 
 
For Miss Matilda's teachers I made ring bowls and personalised tree decorations.
 


A few clay decorations

 
 
A thumbprint Reindeer
 
 
 
I decided to make a wreath rather than buy one, using more of my clay decorations
 
 
 
and Santa hats
 
 



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Christmas around our home

I love Christmas. I love decorating, baking, gift giving and of course spending time with friends and family.   Here's a little decorating around our home.  No room goes undecorated including the bathroom.   This year I decided to gather all of my glittery decorations and I love how the light makes them sparkle at night. 


Miss Matilda's room, and this year she had a great time decorating her tree.  Our Christmas book basket is getting a little full.


 
and our tree
 
 
Thanks so much to Larissa from LMR Photography for photographing our tree and buffet so beautifully.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our "Elf" on the shelf ~ Twinkle

Our 'Elf" Twinkle has found her way from the North Pole and joins us nice and close to the big day.  Last Christmas she made her appearance a lot earlier but I just didn't have the time nor energy to plan and do anything with her sooner.
 
Yes, she's not the official Elf on the Shelf.  She is a 'Barbie' style doll who is a friend of Tinkerbell, she came complete with the boots and I just made a little Elf hat.  Last year I gave a few people a good laugh because she's not the official Elf, but that's ok. Matilda loved her and every morning would seek her out to see what Twinkle had been up to.  I think she's pretty cute.
 
Now to check out Pinterest and find some ideas of what to do with her over the next few days.
 
If you have an Elf Pinterest board please feel free to leave a link.
 
 
 
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Winners Winners...

To say I'm excited about this weekends Confetti Fair is an understatement.  I have been stalking the vendors all week and can't wait to meet them and check out their stalls.
 
The fair is perfect timing too as I am in the throes of organising Miss Matilda's next birthday.
 
And without further adieu the winners of the two double passes to the Perth Confetti Fair are;
 
Sallyann Silver & Laura
 
Congratulations ladies, thanks for providing your email addresses.  I'll send you the tickets tonight.
 
 
 
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Five minutes with....Claire from Confetti Fair

 
I love planning parties.  It's the details I love,  whether it's my 40th, hubby's Gran's 90th birthday dinner and especially Matilda's birthdays.  But I can spend hours on the net searching for ideas and stockists.
 
This has been made easier now thanks to Confetti Fair.  Confetti Fair has brought everything together in one amazing Fair.  Party ideas, stylists, you can choose stationery, book a planner, find favours. 
 
I'm so excited it is on it's way to Western Australia, Saturday 23rd November to be exact.  Until then I will be sharing some of the fabulousness that is Confetti Fair.

To find out more about the woman behind Confetti Fair, the lovely Claire 'sat' down with me and shared just how she does it all.
 
Successful time management, being a Single Mum and Entrepreneur, how do you do it? 
To be completely honest I am not that great with time management lol, I seem to have a million things open at once on my computer and flick back and forth between things as my brain will suddenly remember oooh I have to do that too. I tend to keep everything in my head (much to my staff’s dismay) but am learning to use the Outlook Calendar. My little one is, fortunately, really well behaved so I do manage to get a fair bit of work done during the day, but if he is having an off day (or I am) I come back to it at night. Thursday and Fridays are my full on work days. Life is a juggle and sometimes unexpected things happen so you just have to go with the flow with time management. In saying that though I think I could still learn a lot about it!

You are happiest when? 

Hmmm so many things, looking at my little boys face when he has just woken up and still has sleepy eyes, looking at an amazing party in awe, relaxing on the beach and when all of the vendors at the fair have finished setup and the visitors come in and watching them see the all of the prettiness for the first time.

 Where do you see Confetti Fair in the next 5 years?
Global domination lol, haha… I am launching Confetti Fair Magazine in February 2014 so that will certainly be an extension of the fair. Next year Confetti Fair will be held in Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland. Who knows in another couple of years it could be even further overseas, I have had a number of requests to take it to America. My son will be school age then so who knows. At the moment I am just looking a couple of years ahead. I like to jump at opportunities when they arise rather than plan too far in to the future. 

What's in your handbag? 
Not a lot, I try to carry as little as possible so if I can go without a handbag I do. It will usually just be my purse, phone, tissues and a nail file. Even my son’s nappy bag (which doubles as a handbag) has the basics in it.
 
 
What is the hardest thing about working in a home studio environment?
Being able to switch off and have that work/life balance right now.  My phone is my computer too so even if I have closed the studio door for the night my phone is always buzzing and beeping with updates, messages, emails etc.  The solitude can be hard at times too, thank goodness I have Stephanie in on a Thursday and Friday to bounce off.

To celebrate Confetti Fair coming to Perth, Claire has kindly given me two double passes to give away to my readers.  All you need to do is check out and like Confetti Fair's Facebook Page and leave me a blog comment here. Entry is via Rafflecopter below.

For a list of who will be at the Fair in Perth click here




For your chance to win one of two double passes to the Perth Confetti Fair, simply like their page and tell me "Are you planning a party?  Share with me....details...details."
Please ensure you leave your full name and email address in the comment.



The necessary details;

The competition runs from Thursday 14th November 2013 and ends Thursday 21st November 2013 at 5pm WA time. 

Winners will be announced Thursday 21st November 2013 6pm WA time. 

There are two sets of double passes to be won.  Open to WA residents only.  Tickets will be emailed to the winner.  Your email address must be in the comment for you to be eligible.

The winners will be selected at random, I look forward to reading your responses.

 
 
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recipe ~ Chicken Macaroni Cheese Pots

As promised here is the recipe for the Chicken Macaroni Cheese Pots.
 
Chicken Macaroni Cheese Pots
Serves 6
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
 
Light dairy spread, melted, to grease, plus 2½ tablespoons extra
350g macaroni
¼ cup plain flour
2½ reduced-fat milk
2 cups chopped cooked chicken meat
1 cup frozen peas
3 green onions, finely chopped
⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 cup grated extra-light tasty cheese
 
1. Preheat oven to 180°.  Brush ovenproof dishes with dairy spread to lightly grease.  Place on baking tray. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 12 minutes or until tender.  Drain.  Transfer to a large bowl. 
 
2. Heat extra dairy spread in a medium saucepan over moderate heat.  Add flour, cook and stir for 1 minute or until combined.  Remove from heat.  Gradually whisk in milk until smooth and combined.  Place over moderate heat, cook and stir for 5 minutes or until mixture comes to the boil and thickens slightly. Add to pasta with chicken, peas, onion, parsley, mustard and half of the cheese.  Season.  Mix well.  Spoon into prepared dishes; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
 
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.  Stand for 5 minutes.  Serve with salad.
 
Cooks notes ~
  • The recipe suggests ramekins but I chose to use a large baking dish.
  • I used the same pot throughout, from cooking the pasta to making the white sauce and then combining all ingredients before placing in baking tray.  Much less washing up.
  • My trick with the white sauce is to add about ⅓cup of milk to the flour/butter mix "roux" and create a thick paste.  Then add the remaining milk.  This thickens a lot quicker than the traditional method
  • I used 500g thigh fillet, the recipe suggested half a large BBQ chicken.
  • This recipe is quite versatile.  I could imagine a tarragon/mushroom combination. Or adding diced vegies such as the frozen medley of corn/peas/carrots. 
  • I cooked this in less time than the recipe stated.  It didn't take 20 minutes for the cheese to melt.  I liked that this could be a quick weeknight meal.  I wouldn't have chosen it if I thought it would take 60 minutes to cook. 
Enjoy x
 
 
  
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Menu Plan

A little late but nevertheless here it is; our plan for the week.
 
Most of this weeks recipes are from recipes+ magazine
 
Thursday
Lamb, Cannellini Bean & Feta Salad
This was super simple, and really nice.  We have decided this is our new favourite salad that we can add as a side dish to any meat.
 
Friday
Chinese Style Fish Fillets
 
Saturday
Chicken Curry
 
Sunday
Stir Fry Pork Larb
mmm not a fan of this one, the fish sauce made the place smell like feet!
 
Monday
Lamb Skewers with Beetroot and Chickpea Salsa
The beetroot will be from our garden
 
Tuesday
Linguine with Creamy Sauce
 
Wednesday
Korma Curry
 
As always I'm happy to share recipes, simply message me or leave a comment.
 
 
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Sunday, October 6, 2013

No-one said cake stands had to be just for cakes

I adore cake stands, in fact I'm a little addicted to them.  I actually don't want to count how many I have but I use them all.  For any occasion; for dessert buffets, morning tea's and for no particular reason but we have cake occasions.
 
But when is a cake stand not a cake stand?  When it becomes a display piece.
 
 
 
My favourite. This was part of a dessert buffet I did for my husbands Gran's 90th birthday. 
Her wedding photo. 
 
 
 
Sugar flowers from Gran's cake
 
 
 
I used them in a baby shower I threw for a friend
 
 
 
A little Christmas centrepiece
 
 
 
And of course, for food.
 
 
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A menu plan

It's been a little while since I posted our Menu Plan.  Between James being away or us camping, there wasn't really one to speak of, well not worth posting anyways.
 
But here is this weeks.  The majority of the recipes once again come from Super food Ideas.
 
Thursday
Turkey Roll with Roasted Beetroot and Carrots
The beetroot and carrots were from our garden and are so good freshly picked.
 
 
 
Friday
Grilled Lamb Steaks with Lemon, Parsley and Chilli Dressing
 
Saturday
Pork Cutlets with Honey Mustard Sauce
 
Sunday
Spring Vegetable and Prawn Risotto with Lemon and Dill Oil
This recipe has my current favourite thing ~ goats cheese!  I will get this from the local Farmers market.
 
Monday
Chicken Thigh Marinated and Asian Coleslaw
I cheated and bought a bag of Coleslaw from Woolies
 
Tuesday
Spicy Prawn Spaghetti
I'm looking forward to this, I'll probably omit or reduce the chilli so Matilda can enjoy this. 
This has asparagus and cherry tomatoes which we will probably get from the local Farmers market.

 
 
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Musings


I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.....but I'm working on it.
 
 

 
 
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Menu Plan

This week I debated whether to 'let' hubby cook all week.  We usually split the work 70/30 with James planning and cooking on the weekend.  He really enjoys it, he puts on a cooking show, pours himself a drink and gets into the prep and cooking.  I on the other hand find it another job to do at the end of the day.
 
I must be crazy but I feel as the part time worker/SAHM that the job should be mine.  We'll see if that changes when I return to full time work out of the home.
 
But for now this is this weeks menu;
 
Thursday
Chicken Laksa
I tried a new kit which included almost everything I needed.  Easy to follow with each sachet numbered and with the instructions printed on the sachet.  It was flavoursome not hot which I prefer.
 
Friday
Roasted Tomato Chicken and Pesto Pasta
 
Saturday
Dinner out
Miss M asked if we could eat dinner out as we usually only do that while on holidays.  We went to Dome and tried their new Belgian Waffles ~ Matilda's first time and she enjoyed them though didn't eat them all.
 
Sunday
Roast Lamb Leg, Beans and Lemon Risoni
This was cooked with honey, garlic and wholegrain mustard.  Thank goodness hubby used baking paper as the honey caramelised in the tray making it yummy but a sticky clean up.
 
Monday
Penne with Roasted Pumpkin and Sausage
 
Tuesday
Omelette Wrap with Spinach and Sausage
I bought crepes to use instead of making the Omelette (I'm not good at making thin omelette's).  We'll see if I did the right thing.
 
Wednesday
Scotch Fillet with Veggies
Scotch Fillet is a lot cheaper than usual at the moment so we are making the most of it.
 
Again, simple, fast and inexpensive.  Can't get much better than that.
 
Feel free to link up with your plan or add your favourites as I'm always looking for new ideas to try.
 
 
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Five reasons to love Cinque Candles

I have never really been a burner of candles or incense.  The ones I've tried have smelt fake.  Full of chemicals.  I found the smell of incense to be too intense.  But recently I've been converted.
 
I can't remember how I found this particular seller but I'm in love.  The seller is Cinque Candles.
 
Cinque means five.  Elisa, her husband and their three gorgeous children make up the Cinque family.
 
Five reasons I'm in love with Cinque Candles
  • The packaging is gorgeous
  • The scents are omg delicious and subtle
  • The jars, candy bowls, vintage tea cups, travel tins
  • The price
  • They match any d├ęcor
I really could go on.
 
 
Check out this gorgeous packaging. 
 
Right now I'm burning the Green Tea and Lemongrass, the air is lightly scented which I love. 
 

The beautiful range.
 
Cinque reasons to love Soy candles;
  • CLEAN BURNING -- Soy wax is non-toxic and burns cleaner than paraffin wax with no petrol-carbon soot....
  • LONG BURNING -- Soy candles burn slower and cooler than paraffin wax, creating a longer burning candle.
  • RENEWABLE RESOURCE -- Soy beans are a renewable source.
  • BIODEGRADABLE -- Since soy beans are vegetables, soy wax is naturally biodegradable. Soy wax is also easier to remove from materials and surfaces. Which means, once you have finished burning your candle you can simply wash your glassware in warm soapy water to clean, and continue using it.
  • Soy candles are simply better for you, your family and the environment!

You can find Cinque Candles here

Oh and Cinque celebrates its first birthday in five days so pop on over and say hi.

This is not a sponsored post, I was not gifted product.  I purchased them myself and reviewed because I love sharing beautiful things.  Photos and information on the soy candles are taken from their Facebook page.
 
 
 
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bacon, Corn & Chive Rice

As promised here is the recipe for the yummy and super fast Bacon, Corn & Chive Rice.  This was lovely and creamy, similar to a risotto but without all the effort.  Perfect for a midweek after work dinner.


Bacon, Corn & Chive Rice
Serves 4
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 bacon rashers, rind removed, chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
450g packet microwave brown rice
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan, plus 1/4 cup extra to serve
1/4 cup sour cream.

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over moderately high heat.  Add bacon, cook and stir for 3 minutes or until browned.  Reduce heat to moderate.  Add onion and garlic, cook and stir for 5 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add rice to pan, cook and stir for 1 minute or until grains are coated.  Add corn and 1 cup boiling water.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  Add parmesan.
  3. Serve topped with extra parmesan and chives.

 Recipe is from page 61 September 2013 issue of recipes+ magazine.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Menu Plan


A new week, a new menu plan.
 
 
Thursday
Sticky meatball stir-fry
This was nice and easy.  Maggi Stir-fry Sauce which has the infusion paste and finishing sauce.  I marinated the meatballs in the infusion paste.  Added the vegies, noodles and finishing sauce.  So simple.
 
Friday
Bangers, Mash and Peas
Yeah, not my favourite.  But it's hubby's time to cook and this is his favourite.
 
Saturday
Butter Chicken
Hubby made from scratch and it was quite nice except I'm always the one to find the cardamom pods with a crunch.
 
Sunday
Beer Can Chicken and Coleslaw
 
Monday
Moroccan Lamb Pie
I always prefer to make individual pies in small ramekins.
 
Tuesday
Bacon, Corn and Chive Rice
This looks super easy and I look forward to trying it.
 
Wednesday
Pork Schnitzel and Vegies
I have just watched Donna Hay top some schnitzels with fresh breadcrumbs and pop them under the grill so I might give that a try.
 
This weeks recipes are a mix from Recipes + and Super Food Ideas.  If there's something you're interested in adding to your plan I'd be happy to share the recipe.
 
 

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sweet Chilli & Capsicum Relish

 
Remember these? 
 
 
We were given a box of capsicums and tomatoes recently and the question was what to do with them.  Relish was the answer.  Flicking through our latest issue of Super Food Ideas and there was a recipe.
 
 
Sweet Chilli & Capsicum Relish
Makes 2 1/2 cups
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 1 hour 15 minutes
 
You'll need a 2 1/2 cup capacity glass jar with lid.
 
2tsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1kg red capsicums, cut into 2cm pieces
400g can diced tomatoes
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cups caster sugar
1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce
 
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion.  Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened.  Add capsicum.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until starting to soften.
 
2. Add tomato, vinegar, sugar and sweet chilli sauce to pan.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour or until mixture is thick and syrupy.  Carefully spoon mixture into a hot sterilised jar and seal. 
 
Relish is best made at least 1 week in advance to allow flavours to develop.  Store, unopened, in the fridge for up to two months.  Once opened, store in fridge and consume within 2 weeks.
 
Hubby has been enjoying this on his sandwiches with left over roast pork.  Tonight we tried it as a salsa with corn chips.
 
So good and oh, I didn't make it.  Hubby did.
 

 
 
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bloglovin

I've joined the ranks of Bloglovin, this reader allows you to follow your favourite blogs in one place.

Follow me here


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Friday, August 16, 2013

How I shopped in 15 minutes and for under $100

As a follower of my page you will know I am a huge fan of menu planning.  It saves me time, money and my sanity.

This week was the easiest by far.  I shopped in our pantry and freezer as well as looked at recipes with maximum flavour but few shop bought ingredients.

I'll share this weeks plan as well as what it cost for each ingredient that made it to our shopping list.

Thursday
Turkey Roast and Smash Potato
The roast was bought last week on special.  The bag of potatoes were $2.48
Shopping list: $2.48

Friday
Chilli & Lemongrass Chicken with Rice
The lemongrass and chilli grows in our garden as does the coriander.  Chicken thigh x 500g was $5.78
Shopping List: $5.78

Saturday
Fish Curry
The fish was caught by hubby, the coriander is from our garden.
Shopping List: Free

Sunday
Osso Bucco
Our favourite recipe is found here
The anchovies, tomatoes and the gremolata ingredients are already in our cupboard or garden.  So are the sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.  Osso Bucco $11.05
Shopping List: $11.05

Monday
Lentil Soup
We have celery from last weeks shop (buying the celery heart from Woolies stays super crunchy), the carrots are from our garden.  Red lentils $2.13
Shopping List: $2.13

Tuesday
Sweet Curry Mince
I bought mince last week from Coles for $3.00 for 500g.  Fruit Chutney is already in the fridge for sandwiches.  Curry powder is in the cupboard.
Shopping List: Free

Wednesday
Pea Floater Jaffles
This is something very new I'm trying and only putting it on the menu for hubby although I will try it.
Mince $4.16 but I will freeze half.  Peas in the freezer.  Frozen puff pastry in the freezer.
Shopping List: $4.16

That's our menu for the week.  When coming up with our plan I always look at recipes where we might already have ingredients.  We don't have a pantry so we don't have a lot of stock on hand.  We do always have the staples such as diced tomatoes, rice & pasta.  We have a reasonable vegie and herb garden so that also helps. 

This week I also bought a pumpkin on special which will probably become part of next weeks menu. 

Add fruit, bread and sandwich meat for lunches to the shopping list.  Milk for breakfast and coffees and snacks and that's how I shopped this week for under $100.

How I shopped in under 15 minutes was easy too.  I write my list out into categories:
Non-perishables
Dairy
Meat
Fruit & Vege

By doing this I shop in sections of the store rather than getting to the freezer section and realising I've missed something at the other end of the shop.  Doing this and knowing the layout of the store means I only shop in the specific aisles and not visit every aisle.  Not wandering the aisles means little to no temptation to buy outside of our list. 

If you would like any of the recipes featured please just ask.


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