17 September 2013

Catching Up

Two and a half years? Really? It doesn't seem that long since I blogged. 

It's been a busy two and a half years. Some things have changed and some have stayed the same. 

The biggest change? A new baby :)

Ella Josephine was born on August 10th 2012. She's 13 months old now and completely owns us. 

And she's just woken up from her nap, so I have to cut this short!

16 September 2013

Do I have time to blog?

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/6374301/?claim=ga2vmt337dd">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I'm considering blogging again. I'll see how I go. 

20 April 2011

It's been quiet around here!

Yes, I know. Apparently I've lost what little motivation I had. I'm hoping that will change again next week when the kids go back to school.

Part of the reason I've been so quiet is that we were considering building a new house. I got a little (lot?) obsessed there for a couple of months and spent way too much time looking at real estate sites for land sales,  floor plans, design elements, colour charts, etc, etc.

We also spent a fair bit of time visiting display homes.

Then we decided to put it all on hold until I go back to work. Which sounds like a great plan. Our current house isn't ready to sell, so we figured we should concentrate on that and then start looking again in a couple of years.

We nearly built about three years ago, we'd put down a deposit on a huge block of land and all. Then the builder came back with a really crazy figure for site costs and told us it would probably only get higher, his words were something like "at least $30k, probably a lot more" and I got panicked and talked us both out of it. We ended up giving up the land. I'm kicking myself now, because blocks in the same estate, the one of two there are left, are now double that price. Land prices here are crazy at the moment. Really crazy. So crazy, in fact, that I actually think it would be cheaper these days to buy an established house, even if it's not exactly what we want. It used to be that buying land and building a house was the cheaper way to go, that doesn't seem to be the case any more.

In other news, I feel a big decluttering coming on. I'm going to start with the kids closets when they go back to school and get rid of anything that's too small, or that I haven't seen them wearing in ages.

I'm even seriously considering selling all my stamping/scrapping supplies. I haven't scrapped in around three years and I haven't stamped in maybe a year and a half. I used to be a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, so I have a LOT of stuff! I used to also run cardmaking sessions with a group of girlfriends. I might go through my stuff and see what I can get together to run another couple of sessions, as one of the girls asked about them last week when we were all out for dinner.

Knowing myself as I do, though, I'm sure that I'll get sucked into buying new stamps to make them happy, though. Maybe I should try and sell some of the stamps I never use and with any money I make I can buy new ones. That sound like a pretty good plan.

23 February 2011

Menu Plan Monday February 21st


Monday: Shepherd's Pie

Tuesday: Tortellini Soup. I used this recipe, but modified it for our needs (and made it metric). I used spinach and ricotta tortellini and it was DELICIOUS! It's definitely going on our regular dinner rotation. The kids asked if we could have it again for dinner tonight, that's how good it was.

Wednesday: Chicken and Bacon Fettuccine

Thursday: Take away. Thursday is our crazy day. I've been struggling to get dinner on the table on time the last few weeks since school started up agian, so this week I'm not going to bother. Take away it is. (Although, I'm sure my Mummy guilt will kick in and I'll try to make something quick and easy, OR I'll obsess about it all week).

Friday: Orange Chicken. I'm using my own modified version of this recipe. I made this for the first time last Sunday and it was delicious, but way too sweet for us. I'll post my modifications next week.

Saturday: Beef and Broccoli. I bought some light soy to see how that changes the flavour. The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons each of dark and light soy. I've been using 3 tablespoons of dark with 1 tablespoon of water. Very delicious, but I'm curious about the original recipe.

Sunday: Chicken Massaman.

Fettuccine with Chicken and Bacon - Updated Recipe

I think I've finally found the perfect combination for my Spaghetti with Bacon and Garlic Sauce recipe. It's still very similar, but I've made a few additions, I've also changed the name.

Chicken and Bacon Fettuccine

Ingredients

500g dry fettuccine
2 chicken breast fillets
250g bacon (I cut most of the fat off)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4-5 spring onions
1 can (375mls) low fat evaporated milk
sea salt and black pepper
chili flakes, to taste (I only use a pinch)

Directions

Set a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add salt to the water onces it's boiling, if desired.

Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally, so you're left with two breast-shaped pieces, this helps them cook more quickly. Season chicken breasts well with sea salt and ground black pepper. Fry until golden brown in a small amount of olive oil. Set aside when just cooked.

Add a tiny bit more olive oil to the pan if needed and gently saute garlic, add bacon that has been sliced into 1/2" squares and saute until cooked. Add evaporated milk and scrape the bottom of the pan. Leave on a medium/high heat to start reducing the sauce. Add in chopped spring onions and sliced chicken breasts and allow the sauce to reduce a little. Add a pinch of chili flakes. If the sauce gets too thick, add water until the desired consistency. Once at the desired consistency, turn the heat off.

Add pasta to the boiling water and follow the directions on the packet. My fettuccine takes 11 minutes, but I always set the timer for two minutes less than that to check if it's done. Once done, drain pasta and return to the pot. Add the chicken and bacon sauce to the pasta and mix gently with a pasta spoon.


11 February 2011

Beef and Broccoli


I used to love Chinese food. Beef and broccoli was always my favourite. A few years ago, actually it was probably more than a few, I went off it. It didn't taste as delicious as I remembered it, no matter which restaurant we visited. I don't know if it was my changing tastes after pregnancy, all I know is that I didn't like it any more.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago and the kids begged us to go "inside the Chinese restaurant to eat". The kids and Daddy love Chinese. I gave in and we went inside the restaurant to eat. I found my love of Chinese food again. It still wasn't as nice as I remembered it to be, but it was pretty good.

I decided I needed to find a really good recipe so I could make it myself. If you've been reading my blog you'll know that this year, I'm hoping to get back on track with my cooking and have way, WAY less take away than we did last year. So far this week, I've cooked every night and I'm really proud of myself. I've felt a little off the last couple of days and I still managed to suck it up and cook.

I originally found this recipe in the Chinese Food section of about.com, but have made a couple of changes.

It is a little fiddly, and takes about 30-40 minutes to prepare, but it is so worth it. Tonight was the second time I've made this and I found that it seemed to go more quickly this time. I'm guessing the prep time will get shorter each time.

Beef and Broccoli

Ingredients

400g sirloin steak

Marinade:
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornflour

Sauce:
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoon premium soy sauce (dark)
3 tablespoon water

Thickener:
2 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoon water 

To Cook Vegetables: 
2 garlic cloves
1 onion, sliced into wedges
1 head fresh broccoli
220g frozen Asian vegetables 
 
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon sugar, or to taste

Other:
4
½ tablespoons canola or vegetable oil 

Directions

Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices. Add the marinade ingredients, adding the cornflour last (use your fingers to rub it in). Marinate the beef for 30 minutes.

While the beef is marinating, prepare the sauce and vegetables: for the sauce, mix together the oyster sauce, light soy, dark soy, and water in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, mix the cornflour and water thickener and set aside.

Wash and drain the broccoli. Cut the stalk diagonally into thin slices. Cut the florets into 3 or 4 pieces. Crush the garlic. Cut the onion into wedges.

Heat the wok and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is medium-hot
add the beef. Blanch the beef by letting it lay flat for 30 - 40 seconds, and then stirring to separate the pieces. Remove the beef when it changes color and is nearly cooked (the entire process takes 1 - 2 minutes), and drain on paper towels.

Add 1½  tablespoons oil to the wok. When the oil is hot, add the crushed garlic and onion and stir fry briefly until aromatic and softened.

Add the broccoli and frozen Asian vegetables, sprinkle the salt and sugar over, and stir fry briefly, turning down the heat if necessary to make sure it doesn't burn. Add 1 cup water, and cook the broccoli and vegetables, covered, for 4 - 6 minutes, until broccoli turns a bright green and vegetables are tender but still crisp. Remove from the wok and drain.  

Add 1 tablespoon oil and add the broccoli and the beef. Pour the sauce and cornflour mixture in the middle of the wok and stir quickly to thicken. Mix everything together and serve hot over steamed rice.

09 February 2011

Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Muffins


Many years ago I came across my first raspberry and white chocolate chip muffin in a coffee shop. It was delicious and I knew immediately that I needed to recreate that deliciously wonderful treat. I didn't get it right first time, probably not even the second time, but it finally came together and this is what I've come up with. It has been a family favourite for years and all three kids love them.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients

2 cups SR flour
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
90g butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg
⅔ cup white chocolate chips
1 cup frozen raspberries

Directions

Makes 18 muffins.

Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF.

Sift flour and add sugars. In a separate bowl add melted butter, milk, and lightly beaten egg. Pour the wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined. Do not over beat. Add white chocolate chips and raspberries and mix through lightly.

Spoon, or scoop (I use my #20 ice-cream scoop), the mixture into prepared muffin tins and bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from tins and allow to cool. 

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
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