Sunday, 30 March 2014

in my kitchen

It is more than likely that on any given Sunday you will find me in my kitchen.  Since the beginning of the school term I have spent every Sunday in the kitchen preparing meals and baking for the week ahead.  Today was no different. Since this is the last week of school for the term, I needed old family favourite recipes; recipes I know how to do with my eyes closed and that I know will be enjoyed. 
Some things I cooked and baked in the kitchen today:
  • Vegetable soup: eaten for brunch.  Loaded with vegies and finely sliced ginger. 
  • Banana Bread: use ripe bananas.  This recipe ensures no bananas are wasted in our house.  
  • Chocolate cake: a no fail recipe.  I love this recipe as it is easy and the cake is light.  Perfect with or without frosting.  
  • Satay Chicken and stir-fry vegies with noodles: our dinner tonight.
  • Seed mix (for Cobie): a great topping for yoghurt, porridge etc. 
Banana Bread Recipe

125g butter, softened
1 cup (175g) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
1¾ cups  plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of (baking) soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
cup golden syrup
butter, extra, to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).  Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Gradually add the eggs and beat well to combine.
  3. Add the banana, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and golden syrup and stir to combine.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a 26cmx11cm (2.5 litre-capacity) lightly greased loaf tin lined with baking paper.  Bake for 60-65 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. 
  5. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Slice and serve with extra butter.
Seed Mix (for Cobie)
This is my own experiment for my friend Cobie (previous post).  Cobie is not a fan of nuts (I only found this out after I gave her a jar full of activated nuts that I prepared myself).  Since then, I have been experimenting on a seed mix.  I sourced the organic ingredients via health food stores and health section in local grocery store.  You really have to just judge the amounts per ingredient and adjust the portions to your liking.

I lightly toasted the following ingredients one at a time:
  • pepitas
  • sunflower seeds
  • coconut flakes
  • flax seeds
I also added (without toasting):
  • chai seeds (black and white)
  • goii berries
  • ground flaxseed with almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts and CoQ10 (Shhhh don't tell her. I only added a little bit and since it was ground I am hoping she doesn't take much notice)
If you really don't like nuts omit the last ingredient. 

A tablespoon here and there on yoghurt, porridge, chai pudding, salads etc. would add an extra crunch and flavour.
Fingers crossed she likes it!

You can find more of my favourite recipes here.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

22 years

There was a celebration this weekend - a gathering altogether.
It was a special birthday for our favourite girl.  The most sweetest person you will ever know.
She was soon surrounded by family and friends.
Good food.
Family and friends.
Soon, we all joined in to sing her birthday song. 
And, sitting on her Daddy's knee, our wishes were indeed, the same.
Happy Birthday, gorgeous girl. 
Thank you for letting us be a part of your special night. 
You are so loved.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Recipe: Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake
Source: Donna Hay Magazine Apr/May 2013 Issue 68 (page 74)

This recipe is definitely one to try for the weekend. You may already have these minimal and simple ingredients in your pantry already.  If you don't have your own lemon tree like us, you should find the price of lemons quite reasonable in the grocery store at the moment. 
1½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
120g unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

1 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

½ cup milk

icing sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.  Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. 
  2. Place the butter and lemon rind in an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until smooth. 
  3. Gradually add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and continue beating for 5-6 minutes or until pale and creamy. 
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture and milk, alternating, and occasionally scraping down the bowl, until smooth. 
  6. Spoon into a lightly greased 8.5 x 26.5 x 9cm loaf tin (2-litre capacity) double-lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 60-65 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  7.  Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  8. Dust with icing sugar and serve with orange marmalade or your favourite marmalade.
Happy Baking

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Sometimes the washing up has to wait.
Sometimes the cleaning has to wait.
There are far more important things in life.

Sometimes, we just have to be together.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

weekending...first dance lesson

My, we are only three but she knows what she wants.  After numerous requests to go to dance class I finally made the decision that Miss Flutterby could try it out to see if she liked it.  You see, I was once a dance student.  I began when I was 5 and continued dance training while studying at University.  I also taught a few classes for a number of years.  You might be thinking there are many mums out there that would love their daughter to dance.  Don't get me wrong, I loved dancing.  But...I also know the commitment, I know what this all means.  I thought yep, I give her 20 minutes and she'll be out of there.  Boy, was I wrong.  One hour later she emerged having completed the entire class; ballet, tap and jazz. 

Lesson 1 down (above)...she is hooked!  Miss Flutterby couldn't stop smiling.  We will have a few more trial lessons before I commit to purchasing shoes etc. 
Mental note: take more things to entertain a 5 year old and a 22 month old - I am sure the hour seemed like more with comments from Master Flutterbug (5) like, 'Oh this is so booooring...when is she going to finnnnishhhhh''I'm hungry, don't we have anything else to eat?' Brotherly love, don't you just love it.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Bread. Where shall we begin? Even though I rarely eat bread, our family of 5 seems to go through a couple of loaves of bread a week. I find it slightly annoying, but still annoying to 'duck' into the shops during the week just to buy more bread.  Here, we have now learnt to purchase an extra loaf and pop it in the freezer.  Personally, I dislike the frozen stuff as well.  However, in our house, the frozen bread literally does not stay frozen for more than two days.  Our Australian climate thaws most things rather quickly and it is almost as good as the 'freshly baked' stuff you buy in the shops (Ahem - well sort of).  That was until I decided to reach into the depths of my pantry and retrieve...the bread maker.  Yes, a huge appliance hidden in the depths of my cupboard...And I wondered...

Surely the thing still worked?
Surely this is a cheaper and possibly more cost-effective way to supplement our regular, store bought cased in plastic, loaf? 
Maybe, just maybe, if this worked we could stretch it until the weekend grocery shop?

I eagerly rushed to the shops to buy the flour (a whole 12kgs of the stuff).  Upon my return I realised - it pays to read the instruction manual.  I forgot the powdered milk.  I also wondered after I ripped open the bag why there were grainy bits in the flour bag - Oh that's right, upon reading the front of the bag again - I realised I had bought 12kgs of MULIT-GRAIN which is great as long as everyone eats multi-grain!  Yes, it was a day of complete stuff ups. 

To cut a very long story short; my multigrain bread turned out despite not having it on the right setting, having no powdered milk and waiting for hours for the bread to make.  Thankfully, it turned out and it was delicious! 

My new found (although rather frustrating) relationship prompted me to head back to the shops to find some white flour for bread making.  Yes, the most essential ingredient that all the family could enjoy. 

Success again!

Although I used the powdered milk, I omitted the salt and it still tasted like bread to me only 100 times better than the bought stuff.

It costs well under 2 dollars for a home made loaf with the added bonus that you can adjust your ingredients e.g. less to no salt/sugar and no preservatives.   
It might be considered 'cheating' using a machine to bake bread and if I was given more time in my day, I would love to be better at making bread with my own hands, however, using a bread maker means I can set it up and literally walk away, so for now, it works for me.  Despite the initial setbacks (my own doing), I am encouraged to keep using the bread maker and I am looking forward to experimenting further. 

Any ideas what to do with all that multigrain flour?

Monday, 10 March 2014

52 Weeks of Grateful: autumn bloom

I visited my friend's place over the weekend.  She doesn't live too far from me and her garden is amazing.  I just couldn't resist photographing some of the flowers in her garden.  Taken on my iphone; this one is my favourite.  I spotted these striking colours from her back door. 

Wishing you a wonderful start to the week.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Recipe: Gluten-Free pancakes

Gluten-free pancakes with bananas and caramel sauce

Recipe Link Here
1 ½ cups gluten-free self-raising flour
1 tbs caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 ¼ buttermilk
40g butter, melted
2 ripe bananas, peeled, thickly sliced
⅓ cup brown sugar
½ cup thin cream

  1. Combine the four and sugar in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre.  Add the egg and buttermilk and stir to combine.
  2. Brush a large non-stick frying pan with a little of the melted butter.  Place over medium-low heat.  Pour three ¼ cupfuls of mixture around the edge of the pan.  Cook for 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface.  Turn and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until golden and cooked through.  Transfer to a plate.  Repeat in 3 more batches with remaining butter. 
  3. Increase heat to medium-high.  Brush pan with remaining butter.  Add banana and cook for 1 minute each side or until lightly caramelized.  Transfer to a plate. 
  4. Add the brown sugar and cream to the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.
My notes…
We didn’t cook our banana - the kids just enjoyed the banana as is.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Laundry Liquid Recipe

Browsing through some of my favourite blogs I rediscovered Rhonda Hetzel's laundry liquid recipe.  It requires only a few simple ingredients. 


You can find the ingredients and method here: Down to Earth
Rhonda's laundry liquid recipe is extremely cost effective ($1.75 for 10 litres-Rhonda provides a break down) and this is a bonus for my family of five because I wash almost every day.  As Rhonda suggested, you can source the ingredients from our local IGA store.  It really didn't take that long to make.  I don't think I will ever buy laundry liquid/powder again.

I purchased Rhonda's book some time ago and this recipe success has prompted me to go back for more inspiration.


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

still making funny faces

My, time flies.  Baby flutterbug is well and truly in 'toddler world'.  He still enjoys making funny faces any chance he gets.

From this...
To this...
Yes, he is still as cheeky as ever!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Sunday, 2 March 2014 and now


A nature walk around the lake allows us to appreciate the new season.  Oh Autumn, we have plans.  There are plans to spend more time on projects inside and there are plans to spend time outside enjoying your balmy weather. 
Here, the sun struggles to sustain its harsh sting.  Now, the wind is stirring around these parts. 

Yes, we are looking forward to Autumn. 
Happy weekending to you and your family.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

In Autumn...

It was a perfect morning to visit the country markets.

Nestled in a peaceful location and known to locals from the region.

Here there is time; time to wander, time to sit, time to catch up with friends.

There is time to consider possibilities for our little garden space. As we venture home we plan to make time in the afternoon to plant our new additions. 
P.S Thanks for checking in so often.  It seems I am not the only one from the blogging world that has just been caught up with the busyness of life.  We are all well.  Thank you for your texts and emails. 


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