Friday, September 30, 2011

Recipe Recap - Basic Muffins


I was looking through old blog posts and I came across my basic muffin recipe which I originally posted back in early January this year, when I started blogging. There's been a few muffins made since this post but I thought it was worth reposting, with my variations, so far.

Basic Muffins

2 cups Self Raising flour
1/4 cup oil (I used Canola)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg

Add all ingredients, mix lightly and pour into cupcake papers and bake in a 180 deg C oven for 15 minutes. Makes a dozen large sized muffins, 18 cupcake sized muffins or 24 mini muffins.

Variations:
  • Coconut:  Add half a cup of coconut and a teaspoon of coconut essence or use coconut milk instead or normal milk.
  • Choc Chip:  Add half a cup of chocolate chips.
  • Banana:  Add 1-2 mashed overripe bananas.
  • White Chocolate & Macadamia:  Add half a cup of white choc chips and 1/2 cup roughly chopped macadamias.
  • Breakfast:  Add half a cup of rolled oats, half a cup of chopped nuts and half a cup of any dried fruit.
  • Walnut & Carrot:  Half cup of chopped walnuts and 1-2 grated carrots, 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Apple & Cinnamon Crumble:  One grated apple and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Make a crumble mixture of 1 tablespoon of rolled oats, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of plain flour, 1 tablespoon of butter and mix together. Top each muffin with a sprinkling of the crumble mixture before baking.
  • Muffin Doughnuts: Make a batch of basic muffins in small cupcake/muffin pan. Once cooked, brush with melted butter and roll in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.
  • Chocolate & Zucchini:  Add 1/2 cup of cocoa, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1-2 grated zucchinis.
  • Pumpkin: I tend to add pumpkin puree to anything I bake so the kids get their vegie intake and I have added 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree to any of the above variations.






A great little lunchbox treat or morning/afternoon teas. They freeze well and any fruit (or vegetables) you have in the crisper, make great muffins.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Listography: Top 5 celebrities I'd like to go for a beer with

[photo source]

I'm late getting posted with Listography this week. It seems ages since I've posted a Listography and it probably is. Kate from Kate Takes 5 has decided to have us pick five celebrities we'd like to go for a beer with. I drank so much beer when I was younger but I couldn't even tell you what it tastes like now. I'm not sure I'd drink beer but I might have a cappuccino or cup of tea instead.


[photo source]
 1.  Johnny Depp

Sorry Kate. If I was sitting in front of JD, I'd be telling him we were made for each other. But then again, if I was sitting in front of him I don't think I could say a word.


2.  Greg Wallace and John Torrode

Greg and John are the hosts of the UK version of Masterchef, my most favourite cooking show. They're a bit like Abbott & Costello or Laurel & Hardy in that they're nearly always together so I'd have to meet them together, hopefully in a top bar or restaurant in the UK or Europe.

[photo source]
3.  Oprah

Another one that would be pretty daunting to be sitting at a table with but if she looked like I do most days, it wouldn't be so bad.

[photo source]
4.  Kevin Rudd

Kev was the Australian Prime Minister from 3 December 2007 to 24 June 2010 before he was 'booted' out. He's a Queenslander, like me, and a down to earth great guy. I'd love to have a cuppa with him.

[photo source]
5.  Valentino Rossi

We're big motorsport fans in this house (my husband more so than I) but I do love the MotoGP and my favourite rider is Valentino. He does have pretty good English but I could listen to him speak Italian all day long and I couldn't care less what he was saying.

Thanks Kate for another great Listography. Check out who everyone else is boozing it up with over at Kate Takes 5.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WOW Write on Wednesday - Songbird


Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise


Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
all your life
you were only waiting for this moment to be free


Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.


Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.


Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise


- Paul McCartney


Write On Wednesdays Exercise 16:
Hadge says:  Take a favorite (or even random play) song and write the story behind the lyrics, not something inspired by the lyric, but the flesh on the bones of the story. It gives lots of scope for interpretative writing. Use the lyrics or theme of a song  for a piece of flash fiction (50 to 200 words). To clarify, write your version of the story behind the lyrics in a song.




As always, every early morning, Carla rose for her run. She was living her life with a smooth, easy rhythm just like her feet hitting the pavement. Even though she had no responsibilities, no cares, no worries, having this time to herself at the start of every day allowed Carla to clear her head and set the tone for the day. Some mornings, thoughts of her past would try to creep back, trying to break her rhythm.  She fought the pity and instead, dreamt of how far she could fly.

As the sun started to rise on the horizon, the crisp air of the early morning hitting her already hot face, beads of perspiration falling like the seconds ticking on her groovy new sports watch, she focused. She focused on how, for some reason, fate had brought her to this very point. This serene, nearly zen-like moment like she was waiting for it all her life. How, with positive thoughts, focus and a yearning for life and living Carla could seek out new opportunities. A new adventure. A new beginning. 

Her heart had been closed to kindness and love for so long. Her eyes had been blind to seeing real beauty up until this point in her life. All her life. Her 37 years of life, she was waiting for this moment. She would soar to new heights. She was now awakened by a new light which was turned off up until this time. She had fallen in love all over again. With love. With life. With Carla. 




I had a hard choice trying to decide on a song. I was prompted by the "songbird" title of the blog post and couldn't decide on Stevie Nicks "Nightbird" or The Beatles "Blackbird". The Beatles won. One of my all time favourites (I have many as you know). Listening to music is so inspirational for me. I felt totally moved, as I always do, listening to "Blackbird". I could feel Carla's story fit right into it. Hope you enjoy it.


PS: Following my story from last week regarding 'Frank', I couldn't think of nothing else all week. I was starting to fabricate all these weird and wonderful stories about him and a really colourful, adventurous life he must've led. I found out this week (by the next door neighbour) he has been seeing a woman in our street for ages so there you go. Not as exciting as I had imagined!

Head on over to Inkpaperpen for this week's instalments.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10 things about me you didn't need to know

Hell hath no fury like a mummy's curse!
When Gemma from My Big Nutshell tweeted last night that she had a surprise for me this morning, little did I think that it would be to join in on listing 10 things you didn't need to know about me. (I thought she was giving me a prize or a ticket to somewhere. WRONG!)

I have probably a million things I could tell you about being a bad mummy that you didn't need to know (goes against the whole blissful domesticated life I supposedly live) but you wouldn't want to read that so I have 10 things to tell you about, that happened this morning, while I was trying to read Gemma's blog post. I've been trying since 7am and it's now 1pm. A whole lot more than 10 bad things have happened but I've culled it.

So, while trying to read Gemma's vlog post about "10 things you didn't need to know about her", I...
  1. ...let my daughter vomit on herself while I was making myself a cup of tea. The disposable vomit bag was right beside her. Better on her than the lounge, for goodness sake.
  2. ...saw my 4 yo son trying to trim shrub branches with the hedge trimmer while I was getting the washing (spewy clothes included) out of the machine.
  3. ...told my daughter to be quiet when I finally got Youtube to work and play Gemma's post. My daughter was complaining that she needed a puff of Ventolin and I said, "shhhhh". She said, "I'll get it Mummy."
  4. ...took the kids to the corner store for their favourite pack of lollies and lemonade (was just supposed to be getting milk) so I didn't have to take them to the shopping centre for a few groceries.
  5. ...just kept answering the kids with "oh right" or "oh really?" when they were asking questions like "can we have some breakfast?" or "can I have a drink of water?".
  6. ...listened to my daughter asking to use the computer to play her Barbie game but I kept saying no because I've just got to watch Gemma's vlog.
  7. ...was getting worried that I have over 150 blog posts to read while my sick kid's eyes are turning square from watching too much TV.
  8. ...was giving in to my kid's demands at the corner store to buy a curly, twirly novelty drinking straw at some ridiculous price just so they'd shut up and I could get home quickly to try to read Gemma's post.
  9. ...made the kids Vegemite sandwiches, again, for lunch.
  10. ...will do this later when my husband gets home, but I'm going to kill him for recording a kid's movie (Alvin & The Chipmunks - one of my least favourite mind you) from free to air TV so I had to fast forward through the ads the whole time instead of getting to read Gemma's post.
But I got there in the end. I've now given my kids lots of hugs and cuddles. They forgot they weren't the centre of the universe from 7:00am until 1:00pm today and they survived. Gemma, thanks for involving me in your antics. Hope no one thinks any less of me. It probably sounds a lot worse than it actually was. My kid's health and welfare is always my number one priority. Honest it is!

Beef and eggplant lasagna


Lasagna is a dish I make often and I like to vary it up a bit (not that I could ever get sick of traditional lasagna).  The eggplants were looking especially nice at the supermarket so I picked up one and decided to add 2 layers of eggplant to my last lasagna dish.


Beef and eggplant lasagna

500gm (1 lb) beef mince (ground beef)
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried oregano
1 eggplant, sliced
1 tin diced tinned tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
2 tbs tomato paste
extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
instant lasagna sheets
parmesan cheese

Basic recipe for Bechamel sauce
(I've made it so many times I don't use a recipe so unsure of quantities I use)

  1. Brown onion in a little EVOO until softened. Add mince and brown. Add garlic.
  2. Add tomato paste. Fry off for 1 minute.
  3. Add dried herbs, stock, tinned tomatoes and cook for 15 mins (or longer if you have time).
  4. Fry sliced eggplant in small batches in pan in EVOO until golden. Drain on absorbent paper.
  5. Add some meat sauce to bottom of baking dish. Forms layers of pasta, eggplant, meat sauce until finished.
  6. Top with bechamel sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in a 180 deg C (375 deg F) oven for approx 25 mins or until golden on top. Allow to sit for 10 mins before serving.
Suitable to freeze.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Top 10 footy finals food & printable cupcake toppers for all 4 teams


This weekend wraps up the pointy end of the football season with the Australian Rules (AFL) grand final on Saturday and the Rugby League (NRL) grand final on Sunday. Years ago, I would watch both, party hard and cheer on my favourite teams (hoping that my team would be in the finals). If we weren't at a pub watching the game, we'd try and organise something at home. Since having the kids, we'd try and maybe catch 5 minutes of the AFL final in between changing nappies, feeding or sorting out arguments but this coming Saturday we are having company for a barbecue and I want to make sure I have heaps of snacks for the boys (and us girls of course). Here's some of my favourites from years ago and a few more I'd like to try.

[photo source]
1.  Pigs in a Blanket

18 mini frankfurts (weiners, cheerios etc)
2 sheets ready-made puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
tomato sauce (ketchup) and/or mustard to serve

  • Divide pastry into 9 small squares.
  • Wrap a mini frankfurt in each square of pastry (you may place a small amount of tomato sauce or mustard before you bake them but I don't, preferring to offer these in a bowl on the platter)
  • Brush edge with beaten egg and on top.
  • Bake in a 180 deg C (375 deg F) until pastry is golden.
  • Serve hot with tomato sauce/ketchup.
[photo source]

2.  Meatballs

Using your favourite recipe, cook up a bunch of meatballs and serve hot or cold with your favourite sauce or chutney or on bread rolls with salad, cheese and sauce.  Alternatively, try something different with pork mince, coriander, chilli, garlic and ginger for an oriental take on the humble meatball. Serve with a soy/sweet chilli dipping sauce.


3.  Gourmet Dips

Refer my previous post on DIY gourmet dips.


4.  Sliders

Sliders are the new thing. Just a miniature burger. Think hamburger pattie, cheese, tomato, lettuce, cheese, pickles and sauce on a small dinner roll and you've got a slider. They're easy to hold. Just the thing while you're watching the footy. Try a chicken burger with a chicken mince pattie and salad or fish burger with a fish pattie, lettuce, cheese and tartare sauce.



5.  BBQ Ribs, Chicken Drumsticks or Wings

Nothing goes better than sticky, flavoursome, 'lick your lips/fingers' barbecue ribs, drumsticks or wings with a cold beer (not that I'd know - it's been a while, but it's what I've heard). Try this recipe I got from Miz Helen in Texas, USA. It's the  best.


6.  Individual Nachos

Take a corn chip or make your own tortilla chips by cutting into triangles, rounds or squares. Top with a little Mexican flavoured ground beef and grated cheese. Bake in a medium oven until cheese is melted and top with a little salsa and/or guacamole.  This might be a little easier to eat than trying to scoop a corn chip from a big plate without making a mess. Check out this recipe from the Woolworths web site.


7.  Barbecued Prawn Skewers

You could use just about any flavours with this one. Just thread a peeled green prawn on a bamboo skewer (skewer soaked in water prior to avoid burning), marinade in any mixture you like and barbecue. Serve with a dipping sauce to match. Try this recipe for Lemon Grass Prawn Skewers with Mango Mayonnaise (pictured above). This might be a nice one for the ladies but you'll find it hard keeping them away from the guys.


8.  Deep fried tortellini/ravioli

This is a little naughty but nonetheless a quick savoury snack for game day. You can use ready-made tortellini or ravioli and shallow fry until golden, drain and serve with your favourite dipping sauce. Alternatively, you could make your own, the traditional way or use wonton wrappers to hold any combination of fillings such as ricotta and spinach, pork mince, roast pumpkin, whatever you like.


9.  Ice cream buffet

This one might just be for the girls and any kids that are at the party. Plain vanilla ice cream is okay to use. Just have lots of different dishes holding an assortment of ice cream sundae toppings and chopped chocolate bars so everyone can make their own. You can serve them in bowls, waffle cones or waffle bowls and even go as far as having the team colours in the range of toppings.


10.  Cupcakes with toppers of your team's logo

Make up a simple cupcake batter, ice with white icing or your team's colours and top with a cupcake topper of your team's logo. I've done the hard work for you and created a page of cupcake toppers for all four teams in this weekend's finals series.

Australian Rules

Geelong Cats
Collingwood Magpies

Rugby League

Auckland Warriors
Manly Sea Eagles

(Print, cut and stick together with a toothpick or paste onto card stock in a contrasting colour and then stick together with a toothpick.)

Good luck to all teams and I hope your team wins. My team isn't playing, but there's always next year!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Renewing my P-interest in embroidery

This week has been hectic, as usual, arriving back from a long weekend vacation with the usual extra amount of washing to do, school holiday activities and then a sick daughter to deal with but we saw it through to the end with success. During my time at the computer this week, I came across quite a few lovely pins of embroidery, one of my long lost loves. I have all the tools, now just to find the time to do it.

















I'm linking up at Tina Gray and the "Ooh! That's Pinterest...ing" linky party.

 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

While the cat's away...

[photo source]
...the mice were supposed to be working. Well, that was the plan. When my daughter and I took off for Melbourne last Thursday night, my husband had planned to rip up the carpet from our living room and vinyl floor covering from the kitchen. We have lovely timber floor boards underneath which will be polished. Something we've been planning to do, oh, for about 11 years!

[photo source]
They had such a big boy's weekend planned. They made mini hot dogs, ate party pies (small meat pies for anyone who doesn't know), nachos and all the good stuff.


They drank ginger beer (my 4 year old son thought this was really cool because he thought he was a big man drinking beer, not that my husband drinks beer). They worked in the house, went to the hardware store and had a great time, that was until...


... baby mouse got sick. The poor thing vomited from Friday afternoon, right through the night, all day Saturday and only started to come good on Sunday. A doctor came to the house and told Daddy mouse to take him to the hospital. They stayed until 2:30am on the Saturday morning. It was just some gastro bug he picked up from somewhere. The carpet and vinyl did get pulled up and the towels and rags used to wipe up the mess from being sick was all done on my return. What a good husband I've got.

Then, yesterday, my daughter picked up the same bug and didn't move off the couch all day, vomiting her little heart out. I wasn't too far, making sure she got it in the spew bags and not on the couch. Poor little thing was so sick. She woke up as good as gold this morning. You wouldn't have thought she was sick. Fingers crossed my cast iron stomach can avoid this thing. That's one week of school holidays down. Wonder what the second week will bring?

Friday, September 23, 2011

DIY @ home yoghurt recipe


I was given a bit of a reminder by my friend Lee from Mummy Issues: Part 2 when she asked if anyone made their own yoghurt. I used to all the time and then stopped about 12 months ago. I go through a lot of it. I think it was because my sister had given me some of her leftovers which lasted a while and then I couldn't be bothered or the kids went off it.



It's very economical to make your own yoghurt at home and there's many ways you can make it. I have an Easiyo system which I picked up for about $1 from the op shop and several containers to make the yoghurt in from garage sales for a total cost of a couple of dollars. It's a great investment.


One of the most popular brands, Easiyo, has many different flavours. There are quite a few other brands on the market including those from Aldi. To make your satchet go even further, I use the following recipe substituting most of the yoghurt mix with powdered milk. This makes your $3 to $4 yoghurt mix last a lot longer.

DIY @ Home Yoghurt Recipe

1.1/4 cups powdered milk (either full cream or skim)
2 tbs yoghurt mix (I always use plain Greek so flavours can be added)
cold water

  1. Half fill the 1 litre yoghurt making container with cold water.
  2. Add powdered milk and yoghurt powder and shake until dissolved.
  3. Fill the container with more cold water until full.
  4. Place container in yoghurt maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.
Flavours:
  • Vanilla and honey
  • Any fruit puree and/or diced fruit
  • Add powdered drink mixes like Milo, Quik, Sustagen
  • Flavoured ice cream topping


Stay tuned for recipes using yoghurt. Thanks Lee for getting me back onto it. It's definitely a money saver.

For other ways to make yoghurt at home, check out these links:

How to make yoghurt:  All you need is a thermometer. Includes tutorials.
Make yoghurt using a slow cooker: Using your slow cooker, milk and a small amount of yoghurt as a starter
Other ways to make yoghurt with a yoghurt maker: In the sun, with a thermos, on the back of a wood fire



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Winner of the Hallmark Recordable Storybook!

[photo source]
We have a winner, well two winners, of the Hallmark Recordable storybooks.



Congratulations to CDee and Lisa B! I'll be in touch to get your address details.


(Sorry, CDee, could you please contact me via email domesblissity @ gmail dot com? I can't get your email address. Thanks.)

Thank you so much for everyone who entered. I wish I could give everyone a book.




The kids each had a go at picking a name out of the tin.

Mummy & Daughter Weekend in Melbourne: Part 2 - Time to Chill

Melbourne CBD planter boxes - Spring colour
After a busy Friday, visiting the museum, we spent the rest of our time in Melbourne relaxing pretty much. My in-laws had arranged family and friends to visit us while we were there. They also took us to their favourite (and mine) Chinese restaurant for dinner on the Saturday night and then to the greyhound races after.

The dog at the dogs

We don't gamble and neither do they but the Sandown dogs had a greyhound race meet on on the Saturday night with face painting and activities for kids which they thought would be good for my daughter. Besides a couple of trips to their local shopping centre and the Berwick markets on Sunday morning (forgot to take my camera, as usual) and the trip to the Melbourne CBD again for me on Monday, there wasn't much else to the trip. I'd been to Melbourne many times before and done the 'touristy' thing a few times. A change of scenery is always good and it's always good to catch up with my in-laws. It was the first time though without my husband which seemed very weird. Here are some photos of the rest of my time there.

St Paul's Cathedral
Federation Square
One of the many lanes full of cafes and interesting shops
The Soup Place - No soup for you!
Too many cafes, not enough hours in the day

I couldn't decide where to start first but when I saw the Lindt shop, I knew a hot chocolate was the order of the day.


Pure melted Lindt chocolate and hot milk - ahhhh!

Summer sandals anyone? These beautiful Emilio Pucci sandals and heels will set you back close to $1,000 a pair. Just gorgeous.


Mounted policemen - Bridge Road, Richmond

Lunch at the Blue Train Cafe, Southgate

Spicy Greek Lamb Pizza
Gelato for dessert

Melbourne city skyline
 Thank you Melbourne for putting up with us. The weather was just perfect.

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