Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 52

S-E-R-E-N-I-T-Y! The word for the week. And you know why? Those wonderful two children of mine are back at school for another year! Yippee! (Just kidding.) Its only been two days of being back but we're slowly establishing our routine for drop offs and pick ups as each is going to a different school. I haven't established my routine at home either, now incorporating a morning aerobic class three days a week. The way I felt this morning when I got home, I didn't have much energy for housework. We'll get there. A wonderful response to last week's THRiVING on Thursdays party last week. So many fantastic projects. Are you getting organised for Valentine's Day? You should see what was linked up. Anyway, here are my top 3 food and non food related posts from last week.
Best Popcorn Ever

Valentine's Day DIY Felt Roses Topiary using wiffle balls tutorial
Two styles hanging towels (pattern and tuttorial) Once Upon a Sewing Machine
Thank you so much to each and everyone of you who link up each week. I love looking at all your links. I wish I could feature them all. If you were featured, please feel free to grab a 'featured' button from the drop down menu above. Now, onto this week's party. Let's see what you've got.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1 Minute Microwave Hot Choc Fudge Peanut Sauce

Okay, look away now if you're on a diet or avoiding sugar.

I've been making this sauce for a few years now (probably more times than I should have) especially when I have a little bit of cream that needs using up. Its either this chocolate fudge sauce or I use the cream in a pasta dish. Either way, I probably shouldn't.

Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae
This is a sauce based on Nigella's Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae Recipe but instead of worrying about cooking it over the stove top in a saucepan, I use a microwave suitable dish and cook it for 1 minute. Yes, that's all folks. In one minute (60 seconds) you can have this delicious, rich, thick, chocolate-y, gooey, fudge-y sauce. You can pour it over ice cream, as I have done in this Banana Split OR, if you're really naughty, you can put in the fridge to harden and its the perfect recipe for truffles. Take small pieces of mixture, roll into a ball and roll in cocoa, icing sugar, crushed nuts or coconut. You can also omit the peanut butter and add nutella with a sprinkling of chocolate hazelnuts. You could also allow to set slightly and ice a cake with it.

Whichever way you have this, enjoy, in moderation of course. (Do as I say, not as I do!)

1 Minute Microwave Hot Choc Fudge Peanut Sauce

  • equal quantities of cream, chocolate and peanut butter
  • 2 tbs of golden syrup (based on approx 100ml each of above ingredients - use more or less based on above quanitities)

  1. Put all ingredients into a microwave safe jug and heat for 1 minute.
  2. Stir until ingredients have combined.
  3. Use as required.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mum's Back to School Routine


So, you've established the back to school 'before' and 'after' routines for the kids, school things have all been marked, uniforms washed and pressed, shoes cleaned, school bags packed, you've dropped them off at school, you've put the kettle on and sighed a huge sigh of relief. They've gone back to school. Now what? You slowly collect your thoughts and think what the hell it was you were doing before the Christmas/Summer school break began. All that running to and from school, helping out at the school, going to the gym, going to the shops etc etc.  Here's a few things to get you into the swing and get you over the shock that you've got that time to yourself again (if you're so lucky).

Keep on top of the washing

It'll only be a couple of days of the kids being back at school and you'll have a full basket of clothes again. I try to do a wash on Wednesday plus the weekend to keep on top of the school uniforms. I'm lucky my daughter has a uniform for every day but my son might need a shirt washed to see him out for the week. Also, if your child's uniforms are the kind that need ironing, after washing, give a good shake and hang straight away on a coat hanger. No ironing needed.

Make and freeze sandwiches and pack lunch boxes the night before

There are so many sandwich fillings that are suitable to freeze. Just think anything other than salad. Have them all in the freezer so that you can just go along with the lunchbox, grab the sandwich, fruit, snack, drink bottle, yoghurt etc and you're done. Its just a matter of your child popping it into their school bag. (Yeah right! I think I had to run lunch boxes up to school twice last year! One time the school bag was left in the driveway. Lucky I didn't run it over and lucky we live close.)

Establish YOUR daily routine early in the term

I have great intentions of doing my daily cleaning schedule, going to the gym, a bit of meditation etc all early in the term and all it takes is for someone to get sick (or myself to get sick) and the routine goes out the window. The earlier you get your routine working for you, the less chance you have of going off track. I've got plans of boot camps, study and still helping out at the school, plus keeping on top of the housework. Big plans. Fingers crossed they work out. If something pops up, deal with it and then get back on schedule.

Ensure the children stick to their routines

Its my daughter's fourth year of school and my son's second and one thing I've managed all this time is sticking with the daily routine. Fair enough, some days it works better than others but the framework is there. Its so important they stick to their afternoon/evening routine otherwise Mum/Dad don't get that evening time to themselves. I know during the school holidays my daughter has stalled and stalled when it came to bedtime, sometimes staying up until 10:30pm. This has nearly killed me, not being able to have any time out but during school term, it's bedtime as scheduled, over and out. Don't forget the rewards, be it a treat, a trip to the park on the weekend or pocket money.

Schedule in time for friends

I know a few Mums I'd love to catch up with during school term but before you know it, school is over for the term and you've got the kids hanging around. The school term here in Australia is for around 10 to 11 weeks (4 terms per year) so you should surely be able to have regular catch ups with friends. Girls, just remember that. You're all invited around for a cuppa!

Schedule in time for regular grooming

I know I have gone all year sometimes without a haircut since having the kids but I'm trying to keep on top of regular hair cuts, a pedicure, manicure or waxing. I've established a reward tin for me. I keep on top of my exercise routine and housework and I'll pay myself (haven't worked out the amount yet) and go have a massage or beauty treatment. Heaven knows I need it.

Eat well

Don't forget to establish that good daily routine at home with your meals as well. I like to do a bit of exercise or housework until about 10:30am and then stop for a cuppa, a small snack and a read of a magazine. Then back to it until lunch time. I like to have a large container full of salad ingredients so its only one thing to take out of the fridge. Change the salad dressing or add a fruit like apple or oranges with tinned fish or beans and you've got a nice healthy lunch. After lunch I get dinner prepped and the children's afternoon tea organised before its time to go and get the little rascals.

I hope you all remember to take care of yourselves, not just the children, in this back to school madness.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Mystery Ingredient Monday - Weetbix/Wheaties

This week's Mystery Ingredient is a popular breakfast cereal here in Australia and if you don't use them up straight away, they tend to sit back in the pantry, taking up valuable space. They always leave a lot of crumbs in the bottom of the pack which are good used up in baking.

WEETBIX (*) breakfast cereal biscuits

Weetbix are an Aussie breakfast favourite that most of us grew up on. Its one of the first solids you give babies here in Australia. My son absolutely loves them, as do I. Trouble is, me with my Mummy brain I forget that I've already got a box at home and buy another. At last count I have one and half of the BIG family size boxes in the pantry. We'd be eating Weetbix for breakfast for the next two years if I don't come up with some other ways to use them up. Here's a few I do regularly plus a few others I'm going to try.
  • hot or cold with honey, sugar, fresh fruit and milk for breakfast (or any time of the day really)
  • buttered with Vegemite or jam as a snack
  • crushed and used to thicken soups, stews, sausage rolls, sweet or savoury pies, rissoles (hamburgers), meatballs, fish cakes
  • use crumbs for cheesecake base, no bake slices


Banana Weet-Bix choc-chip muffins
Chewy Chocolate Weetbix Slice. Photo by Demelza
Back to school recipes: Weet-Bix slice
From Pinterest:

Banana & Weetbix Smoothie

Chocolate Fruit Squares
Source: via Kim on Pinterest
Weetbix Chocolate Fruit Squares

Salmon & Weetbix Bites

Weetbix Cookies

Weet-Bix Ginger Slice
Weetbix Ginger Slice

Best banana berry smoothie: mixed berries, banana, weetbix, almond milk, celery, cinnamon, peanut butter, ice cubes
Banana, Berry, Weetbix Smoothie

Date and Weetbix Loaf

Muesli slice
Source: via Kayla on Pinterest
Muesli Slice made with Weetbix

(*) In the USA, Wheaties or Bran Flakes would be a suitable substitute.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Sessions - School Days

Its time for another Sunday Sessions over at Cass Can Sew and with only one more day after today before school starts I thought I'd share some of the songs that remind me of my school days. I'd be here forever so I'll do one from my primary school years, one from the high school years and one that my children sing along to now (and I hope won't be the one that reminds them of their school days).

Primary School Years - 1969 to 1975

This was a toss up between David Essex (the biggest love of my life when I was 11 years old) and Bay City Rollers. They were my One Direction. I thought if I posted a Bay City Rollers song you may not like me anymore!

High School Years - 1976 to 1979

So many songs remind me of high school during this period. People like ABBA, KISS, Frank Zappa, the disco songs. My high school had a radio club and every break the Ian Dury and the Blockheads song "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" was played.

My children's school years - 2010 to .....

What can I say?

Check out what everyone else is listening to this Sunday Sessions at Cass Can Sew.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Jolly Swagman

Photographs and story by June McPherson

One thing to come out of all the sadness of losing my Mother last March has been going through all of Mum's things. I wouldn't say she was a hoarder as everything had a place but I'm just amazed at some of the things from my childhood she kept, including this 'pearler', a book called "The Jolly Swagman".

Now, a swagman is the name given to a man who travelled on foot looking for work with nothing but his 'swag' (the bed roll) on his shoulder with a few other bits and pieces and usually a 'billy can' (tin can) used for brewing a pot of tea back in the days of The Depression.

Poor little Jenny and Sue look like the saddest little girls around and oh to be surprised that Mr and Mrs Pepper's house had been burnt.

This is where 'Clancy' the swagman just so happens to pop up and knows of some gold buried somewhere so they set off to find it to help Mr and Mrs Pepper. (Yeah, a likely story Clancy. You're after the gold yourself.)

The poor little black faced sheep were probably wondering what the hell that was standing before them.

Funny how small Clancy is at ground level and then all of a sudden its at the same level as the horse's head!

"Do you know where the river is?"

"Yes, you are almost there," answered the horse, "down at the bottom of my paddock near the trees.  It's the river where I drink."

"Oh, thank you" called the excited three searchers.

The worst case of hat hair on Clancy I've ever seen!
The gold was found and delivered to Mr and Mrs Pepper by Clancy and they all set off on their merry way.
Obviously a poor way of illustrating a child's story back in Australia in the 1970's but I loved it. I'm so glad Mum held onto this and I've shared it with my children. They think its kind of cute too.

Happy Australia Day everyone! A time when our country reflects on how lucky we are to be Australian and to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet into Botany Bay, New South Wales back in 1788.

I'm linking up with a Cooker and a Looker and her Australia Day linky party.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Oriental Chicken Rolls

Sausage rolls can hide a multitude of sins (or vegetables some people call them). Things like the bamboo shoots I mentioned at my last Mystery Ingredient Monday that were taking up valuable pantry space made it into these Oriental flavoured chicken sausage rolls. About the only 'bad' thing here is the puff pastry but you can buy that in a lighter version now or you could use filo pastry if you wanted to go lighter still.

My 'fickle' daughter wouldn't try these but I was impressed with a little boy I had over for a play date and he is just as fussy but gobbled one of these up.

You could use pork or turkey mince if you like. Its just a matter of getting all the vegetables grated finely enough to make a smooth mix, add your herbs and spices, an egg and then something to thicken them. In this instance, I used quinoa but would normally use oats or breadcrumbs.

Spoon or pipe the mixture onto pastry, roll until just joined, brush edge with a beaten egg and cut pastry. I made two long rolls per standard sheet of pastry.

Think outside the square. Stock your pantry with staple ingredients so you could change up standard dishes like turning a humble chicken sausage roll into something with flavours from the Orient.

Oriental Chicken Rolls
  • 250gm chicken mince
  • 1/2 grated red onion
  • 2 tbs finely chopped tinned bamboo shoots
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • fresh or tube coriander
  • fresh or ground ginger
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • chilli, optional
  • tube lemongrass, optional
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (or oats)
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg beaten for brushing
  1. Mix mince, onion, bamboo shoots, garlic, coriander, ginger, chilli, lemongrass, egg and quinoa and combine really well.
  2. Spoon or pipe mixture onto pastry. Roll until pastry has just joined, brush with beaten egg. Leave as is and cut once cooked or cut into smaller shapes before cooking.
  3. Brush with beaten egg and bake in a 180 deg C oven for approx 25 mins or until golden.
  4. Serve with sweet chilli or apricot ( mixture of apricot jam and BBQ sauce) sauce.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 51

Tick, tick, tick. Do you hear that? That's the sound of the seconds ticking away until my two darling little cherubs return to school for another year. One starts next Tuesday and the other next Wednesday (at another school). You see, here in Australia, our new school year starts at the end of January and finishes up in the first or second week of December. Its a very long break over Christmas and when my kids were younger, I really used to love it. Now that they're older, well, let's just say its time. I've loved the lazy mornings but have really missed a routine. I seem to THRiVE (*wink wink*) on routine and so do the kids. Hopefully we'll ease back into it reasonably well. So, onto our 3 best food and non food related posts linked up last week. So many wonderful projects!

bored jar
Cute Kids Room
If you were featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button if you would like. Wow! What a wonderful array of projects. I just love to see people from all over the world doing their own projects, making their own food and meals from scratch and upcycling old products and turning them into functional pieces. Its really great of you to share them all here at Domesblissity. Now, onto this week. Let's see what you've got!

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