And that’s all she wrote!
And that’s all she wrote!
Yesterday was that dreaded and yet much anticipated day of days – M’s birthday. Enter the stress about presents, desserts, parties and activities. Considering we have a huge vacation coming up in just under two months, and that he has a roomful of toys that are rarely played with, I was unsure what to buy him. He also was booked in to spend time at the Ekka, which is the Brisbane show. So basically I knew he had a load of treats and adventures coming up, and decided to do a low key birthday celebration. Or that’s what I told myself was happening.
So naturally, I decide to bake a load of cupcakes for his class, like last year. But of course last years cupcakes were so decadent and cute, I felt bad sending boring old vanilla, and before I knew it I was planning yet another extravaganza: icecream cupcakes. Once again, the man in my head started in with his shiite but I bravely blocked his crap out, kept calm and carried on!
I went out the easy way with 2 packet mixes, since I had to make around 30.
1 cupcake mix or your own recipe
1 packet of icecream cones (I used small cup shaped ones with flat bottoms)
1 batch of buttercream frosting
Sprinkles, cherries, chopped nuts, whatever you like to deviate your icecream with!
Preheat oven and place icecream cones into a 12 hole muffin pan. Using the flat bottom ones will make your life easier as they Erroll balance in the tray properly. If you buy a foil bbq tray you can cut holes into it to balance proper cones if you’d like.
Make up your cupcake batter according to packet or recipe instructions.
Pour the batter into icecream cones. Only fill half way or two thirds, remember they will rise.
Bake as usual, according to packet or recipe instructions, and allow to cool.
While cooling make a batch of frosting. Buttercream gives a great soft serve effect when piped on, but glaze will look really good too.
When the cupcakes have cooled, ice according to the style of icing you have made, and decorate with sprinkles, chopped nuts, cherries, whatever.
I made chocolate, banana, and some chocolate banana, so they looked a bit like the chocolate vanilla soft serve. I really like the dribble from the cupcake running over the edge, it looks just like real icecream.
They were a hit with the class, and the one that counts came home with a big smile on his face.
So what’s with the reference to Nerf guns, Muhammad Ali and pizza in the title, you ask?
Well Mr 9 requested the biggest, baddest Nerf gun I could find:
And since I’m a glutton for punishment:
A bullet cartridge with 100 darts.
We finished the day off with dinner at pizza hut for him and 4 friends.
Oh, and Muhammad Ali? Meet the newest member of the family:
Ali, cos he’s fighter fish, der! Cute huh.
He also scored some boring clothes from his boring mother, some Lego from one mate, some Gelli Baff from tanah and tonk, sparklers and cash from another mate. Not a bad haul.
First thing this morning he was picked up to go to the Ekka, only for a long weekend since he is about to have a month off school said the big mean mum.
And that is that. Another year done and dusted. Can’t believe next year he is double digits. Time for me to buy a walking stick, I think.
And one quick pic of the pork chop to send you off with:
P.s this recipe counts towards a resolution recipe lol!!
Ok guys, here is a new resolutions recipe that is not only reasonably healthy, but pretty tasty too. I was looking for something to cook that I already had most ingredients for, the only thing I had to pick up were the choc chips. The weet-bix adds a weet-bixy flavour, while adding fibre and making them really filling. And they’re really easy!
This is not only good for little kiddies, but the bigger ones too, and perfect for lunchboxes. If you wanted to make it even healthier you could swap the choc chips for sultanas.
Banana, Choc chip & Weet-bix Muffins
3 ripe bananas
185ml (3/4 cup) milk
80g (4 tbs) margarine
225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
2 tbs brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Grease a 12-hole muffin pan. Mash bananas in a bowl, then crumble in Weet-Bix and stir in the milk.Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat together the eggs and margarine, then add to the banana mixture. Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl and add wet ingredients and choc chips.
Stir until just combined, then spoon into muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
When I was finished cooking dinner and busy getting the bath ready for the boys, the house was suspiciously quiet. I found both the boys hiding in the cupboard stuffing their faces with one each! So they must be good.
So it has been non stop raining all week, just in time for school holidays. Awesome. To compensate for the lack of amazingness occurring due to the weather, M has been bundled off to the farm for a few days, where even though it is raining, there is always something exciting happening. Animals need to be fed, babies are being born, fences need fixing, cows need moving, rain hail or shine.
While he has been away I have been incredibly bored, watching non stop cartoons and eating spaghetti on toast.
This morning we woke up and there was a bit of blue sky peeking out from behind the clouds, so we decided to head down to the shops just to get out of the house. And for some reason, we ended up back at home with all the ingredients for rocky road.
500g melting chocolate
1/2 cup chopped glace cherries, halved
250g milk coffee biscuits, roughly chopped
2/3 cup of baking marshmallows, halved
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. Cook on med for 3 mins, stirring every minute.
Stir through the biscuits, cherries and marshmallows until well combined.
Press mixture into a small slice tray that is either greased or lined with baking paper.
Place in refrigerator for around 2 hours or until set. Slice into small squares.
Yum yum. Just had to test out a piece of course. I wish I had put in some peanuts, maybe even some coconut. Oh well, next time.
Finally, I have been struck with the desire to cook and create again! It may have something to do with the weekend visit from my sister The Slacker and her family, or maybe something to do with the fact that the creeping hand of the Black Plague has finally left my house, my kiddies, and myself alone! Yay! Whatever the case, i’m just glad is gone.
To celebrate our health being restored, I made a delicious pasta bake for dinner tonight. It was soo good, and definitely going on the keeper list.
Creamy Eggplant Pasta Bake
These are only rough guesstimates for measurements, use your own good judgement with how much you need.
1 package of Penne pasta
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
2 tins of crushed tomatoes
2 very large dollops of ricotta cheese
1 large eggplant, sliced into thick rings
grated tasty cheese
thickened cooking cream
Grill the eggplant slices until they smell yummy. Highly technical, I know.
Lightly cook the garlic and onion, then add the tins of tomato.
Season with the herbs, salt, and sugar.
Add the ricotta and stir to combine.
Cook the Penne until just before it is ready, otherwise it gets too mushy in the oven.
Drain, then stir the sauce through. Pour the pasta into a large baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the amount of cheese you need to cover the baking dish, and cream.
Place the grilled eggplant rings over the pasta, and spoon the cream and cheese mixture over the top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170c for around half an hour, or until the cheese gets all golden and bubbly.
Serve with garlic bread, a salad, and if you live with grown ups, a glass of red. Milk, if you are at my place.
Yummy yummy yummy. I ate 2 serves and seriously considered a third. M complained about the eggplant but ate it when I remind him that dessert its only for people who eat all of their dinner. K will eat anything.
Ok peoples, in my previous post I put the call out for some recipe inspiration and the call was answered by The Slacker. Thanks Slacker.
I tried out her recipe night before last, and it was quite successful.
400g of ricotta
1 handful of shredded tasty cheese
2 cloves garlic
1/4 red onion
1 T vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 C olive oil
thyme, salt, pepper to taste
1 batard or some other yummy fresh bread
mix the ricotta, tasty cheese and salt & pepper, press into a baffling dish and bake in the oven at 200C for about an hour or until golden on top. I used a muffin tin.
dice up the tomatoes, garlic and onion. cook the garlic and tomato in the oil, add the thyme. when the tomatoes start to soften, remove from heat, add the red onion, basil, sugar and vinegar. add some salt and pepper if you want. stir it up and smell the yummyness.
slice the fresh bread, rub with a clove of garlic and drizzle some extra olive oil. lightly toast under the grill.
serve the tomato salsa piled high on the toasted bread with the ricotta crumbled over the top. add a side salad of Arugula and avocado, maybe a glass of wine, and you have the perfect light, no fuss meal.
Except its not enough!!! double the recipe, i’m telling you now. but other than that it was delish. the amounts listed above could probably comfortably feed 2 adults for lunch, but not 1 adult and 2 piggy kids for dinner. M requested 2 minute noodles after we finished. it would probably be really nice as a little finger food at a gathering also.
Ok I have been considering how to word this post for some time, and have decided to just lay it down.. I have cooking block! As in, I can’t decide what to cook for my next resolution recipe. But that kind of allows for some fun.
So I’m thinking, you can choose! I want submissions for a new resolution recipe.
The boring stuff:
Recipe must be vegetarian, simple and reasonably healthy.
Must not call for any random specialised ingredients – I’m not buying real vanilla beans, spelt flour or edible gold dust.
Don’t forget the photo of my depleted baking supplies if you are thinking of cakes cookies or slices. I have some stuff, just not loads.
Submissions may be made in the comments section, and I would prefer if you have tried out the recipe already, so I know its worth a try.
Sooo have a think about it peeps.. You have about a week or so. There may even be a prize for the winning entry! No promises haha.
Get to it!
EDIT: I have included a list of what I have in my pantry and refrigerator right now. I don’t mind having to buy 1 or 2 items but as I said, nothing too fancy!
Cheese, vege sausages, gerkins, Tom Yum paste, black bean sauce, baked beans, miso paste, balti curry paste, yellow curry paste, organic natural yogurt (berry), butter, sour cream, broccoli, pumpkin, lettuce, felafel balls, capsicum, carrott, cabbage, tomatoes, basil paste, mustard, sweet chilli sauce, milk, tapatio sauce, balsamic dressing, ‘chicken’ snitzel, puff pastry, frozen garlic bread, frozen spinach, frozen peas, frozen corn, 3 bananas
Salt & Pepper, olive/vege oil, soy sauce, salsa, onion gravy powder, mexican chilli powder, oregano, golden syrup, ‘chicken’ stock, vegetable stock, balsamic vinegar, tinned diced tomatoes, tinned kidney beans, tinned lentils, baking cocoa, peach slices, mi goreng (bout to eat these for dinner though) potato bake sachets, bread crumbs, weet bix,fettucine, pasta spirals, corn chips, bicarb soda, vanilla essence, almond essence, rose essence, cachous, onion, garlic, raw/brown/white sugar, vegemite, peanut butter, potatoes, bread, tortillas, plain flour, SR flour.
Last week I made a new recipe to add to my resolutions recipe database. I was actually really unhappy with the way it turned out. It didn’t taste especially bad, just not all that great. I don’t think I will be making it again. Green bean casserole is not a common Australian dish, it is mostly found in the US on the Thanksgiving dinner table. Made with mushroom soup and onion rings, it is baked until (as the picture suggests) it becomes casseroleish. Well mine got stuck halfway between soup and casserole. I even made my own onion rings since we do not have Frenchs fried onions in oz. they tasted great. But overall, I was unhappy enough with the finished product to not bother trying it again.
In other news, yesterday I made another batch of Muesli, this time with mixed nuts and dried blueberries. Delish! Keeper for sure. I lowered the oven temp to 120c and it was perfect. M and I are it with yogurt and banana for dessert last night. Sooo good.
Not much more going on. Weather still sucks, going back and forth between rainy and muggy. Today is muggy. Planning a family vacay for the end of the year. Praying for a Lotto win to cover passports haha. Still doing baby rhyme time, K is starting to warm to the other kids there.
Went to my uncles birthday bbq on sunday, caught up with some family I have not seen in a year or more. It was a really nice afternoon, with good good and company. Will see if I can figure out how to load pics from my phone to this post.
I think that’s about it from me!
Here it is, as promised – my next installment in ‘New Years Resolution Recipes’: Muesli!
I decided to make muesli because I figured it was something that I could make a largeish batch of and it could last us throughout the week, it is a basic staple, and I was hoping that it would prove to be a money saver for me.
Well it does look like the batch could last us a few days, but I’m not sure about the money saver. After buying all the ingredients (and I actually forgot one), I spent around $16. I could buy 3 boxes of fancy pants granola for that! Oh well. Lesson learned. At least I know exactly what is going into it. Although I will admit that I did not use up all of the ingredients, so perhaps it will work out to be cheaper. Another issue with regards to the ingredients was that I actually had a stupid bug invasion, weevils had taken up residence in my cupboard. Efforts to remove them was just not working – I threw away anything that was open, or looked suspect. I wiped out the entire pantry and cleaned it with eucalyptus oil (hoping the strong smell would deter them). I killed any bug I saw. And then I repeated it. Several times. Finally I gave up the battle, I admitted defeat, and had the exterminator come around. And I threw out three quarters of the food in the house. The final quarter was the food left in the fridge. My point is, if I had not had to throw out all of the food, I probably would have had most of the ingredients in the house and ready to go, as most of them are basic pantry items.
Anyway, I’m rambling, I know. The recipe. I researched a few different recipes, and then decided to kind of wing it.
2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 Tbspn honey
2 Tbspn golden syrup
3 Tbspn vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence (which I forgot to buy, so I just skipped it)
1/2 cup your choice of dried fruit and or nuts (I used sultanas, apricots, dates, pear, apple, pineapple, almonds, walnuts & sunflower seeds… OK actually I just bought some trail mix)
Preheat the oven to 175 c. Unless you’re fan forced in which case I don’t freakin know, for reasons which will become clearer as you read.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, cinnamon and salt together. In a smallish bowl, mix together the honey, golden syrup, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla essence until well combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together really well.
Spread out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake for 10 mins. This is the point that I burned and threw out my first batch. Stupid ovens. I keep forgetting how it burns pretty much everything the first time.
Remove from the oven, stir, add the nuts, then put back in the oven. Bake for another 10 mins.
Remove from the oven, stir, then put back in for another 5 mins.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool competely. Break into small clumps or teeny tiny clumps if you don’t like clumps at all, then add the dried fruits.
Keep in an airtight container, should be good to go for a week.
Enjoy with icy cold milk. Yummehhhh.
It was pretty good. M gave his tick of approval too, which was nice of him considering he is strictly a toast with vegemite or weetbix kid. Next time I make it I think I will try apple and cinnamon, or even maple syrup and banana. There are obviously umpteen variations you could do. I also think a berry combo would be really nice. I’m looking forward to eating this muesli with yogurt and banana.
And now, to send you off, a few photos from the past few weeks..
It is raining cats and dogs here, and has been for the last 2 days. It really has been the strangest summer. I have my doona on my bed and have been sleeping in my warm jammies, as opposed to sleeping under a sheet with the fan cranked on ghetto blast, wearing only a t shirt! Poor M has gone camping at Hastings Point with his grandfather, I hope they don’t get washed out to sea!
During the summer holidays the local council puts on free movies in the evenings in one of the parks along the creek. The park is really cool, and is done in a pirate theme. There is a giant pirate ship that looks shipwrecked, and there are cannons and barrels and a cave with a map to treasure, instead of the usual slide/swings set up. Last week I arranged to take the kids down to watch the movie along with some friends of mine and their kids, and have a picnic dinner. Then M’s friends who live nearby asked if they could come too, and I could hardly say no. So us 4 adults (Jo, Sarah, Jade and myself) and all 6 kids cruised down and watched Happily N’ever After. The kids played in the park while the adults set up the blankets and picnic dinner, then we all munched out and enjoyed the movie. This Friday they are playing Aladdin, and I’m keen to take the boys down again, but this time I think I will try keep it to just the older kids. My friends with younger kiddies had their work cut out for them, trying to get the littlies to sit still and watch the movie, when there was this totally awesome pirate ship just behind us!
A few nights ago M hosted his first ever sleep over. The 2 boys who came to the movie with us, also live within our complex (or ‘The Plex’ to those in the know… Or me, anyway) and play together with M every day, whether it’s X-Box, riding bikes, scooters, kicking balls, going swimming, whatever. The boys had been talking about a sleep over for a while, but since I knew none of them had ever had a sleep over at a friends house before, I thought they were all talk. Apparently not. They came to me and asked if they could have a sleep over before the holidays ended. I said it was fine, but since the holidays are nearly over (school is back on Monday), and M was due to go camping, they should organise it soon.
*Whisper Whisper Whisper* ‘Can we do it tonight please?’ Of course I had to say yes, and there was never any question of them sleeping anywhere else other than the house with the X-Box, haha. I told them to have their dinner, bath or shower, and come over in their jammies, around 8.30. I said they could play X-Box for an hour before bed but that I would be turning it off at 9.30. My plan was that by the time the boys got here, I would have K and M bathed, and K asleep. Ha. Of course K never sticks to his schedule when I need him to, does he. It was 9.20 when I finally tip-toed out of the room, then headed down to check on the boys. You know what? They were all snoring! It was so cute, I couldn’t resist taking a photo. So it was not as bad I thought it would be. Since they were first timers, I was half expecting one or the other of the boys to change his mind throughout the night and want to go home. I figured, if that happened, at least their parents were only a few meters away. I told their dads when they walked the boys down, that I would call if there were any dramas and they could pop down and take them home again. But they were great. So I guess that paves the way for what is in store for the future.
I have a new recipe I would like to share with y’all… Yes, yes, I do understand that constantly posting recipe’s of what I cook for dinner is not quite what this blog is about, however I really had to share this one! I came across this dish on FatMumSlim, she really does crank out some goodies for not being a food blog! She posted it in relation to a post about cooking within a budget – in this case, $5. Well, I think I managed this one for under $5, since I had most of the ingredients already. I only had to buy 1, and it is something that I usually buy anyway when I do my groceries, but I actually used it last week when I made a lasagna to take along to the picnic. I have written down approximate measurements, adjust to suit your personal tastes and how many people you need to feed.
So… Roasted Cherry Tomato & Garlic Pasta!
Garlic, sliced (I used 3 large cloves)
1-2 punnets of Cherry Tomatoes (Sarah left a huge container of cherry tomatoes here when she made a salad to take to the picnic, so I probably used about 2 punnets worth… Sooo could have gone for 3 if I was feeding any more people!)
Ricotta Cheese (I used half a small tub, around 2/3 cup)
Pasta noodles – I used curly
Fresh Basil & Thyme (from my friends garden)
Preheat the oven to 170 c.
Peel and slice the garlic, slice a few of the cherry tomatoes in half. Throw the tomatoes and garlic into a roasting dish, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Roast in the oven for around 10-15 minutes, until the cherry tomatoes start to look squishy and collapsed.
While the tomatoes and garlic are roasting, boil the pasta and wash the herbs.
When the pasta is cooked and the tomatoes are roasted, drain the pasta and toss together with the ricotta and herbs.
Serve and smash!
You can see how easy and versatile this dish is, and is whipped up and on the table in around 15-20 minutes.
In fact, it’s so good, I think I might go eat some more right now!
A cutie-pie pic of K to send you off with: