Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Lunchbox #17

Today's Lunchbox:

Morning Tea:  Fresh orange pieces, homemade gingerbread biscuits
Lunch:  Sweet and Savoury Jaffles - Savoury is "vegetarian pizza" with herbed tomato paste, cheddar cheese, corn kernels, green capsicum, tomato and kalamata olives in wholemeal bread.  Sweet is "custard and cinnamon apple pie" with vanilla custard, pie apple and cinnamon sugar in homemade fruit bread.
Drink: Iced water

Miss Six is on a jaffle jag at the moment and has asked for jaffles every day this week.  She calls them "baffles" which is way too cute for me to want to correct her just yet.  So I've had to get quite creative with the fillings.  The great thing about todays jaffles is that I get the other halves of both jaffles for my own lunch - yum!  Also, gingerbread is her most favourite kind of biscuit - this is the very first time I've ever iced them though and it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be!  I used a "royal icing" which is basically whipped egg white, icing sugar, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of cream of tartar (I'd link to a recipe but I'm feeling a bit lazy...just Google it!).  It set beautifully.  I did end up with piping-bag-cramp though, which I'm still recovering from!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Lunchbox #16

Today's lunchbox:

Morning Tea: Mixed grapes and two sorts of savoury mini muffin - 1.Curried cheese, chive and corn
2. Kalamata olive, feta and italian herbs

Lunch: Homemade spiced fruit loaf fingers with cream cheese filling, cherry tomatos, carrot stars and celery pieces

The spiced fruit loaf is made in our breadmaker - I have substituted the usual "mixed fruit and glace cherries" for our own mix of fruits - organic sultanas and prunes, homemade candied orange and lemon peel pieces (my mum makes those and they are much, much nicer than the stuff in bought mixed fruit) and uncrystallised preserved sweet ginger pieces.  If you don't have a bread maker, an internet search for fruit bread recipes is sure to turn up one you like and you can substitute your own favourite mix of dried fruits.  Or simply buy a good quality raisin bread loaf from the store!!  It's delicious toasted for breakfast too.

And here is the muffin recipe - it's one of my absolute favourite recipes and is also my mum's - I have absolutely no idea where she got it from, though some sort of baking workshop way back in the '90's seems to ring a bell.

It's the best ever recipe because it's a really simple base recipe which you can then choose to make sweet or savoury and the add-ins are limited only by your tastebuds and imagination. I simply divided the base recipe in half once it was made and mixed two seperate flavour combinations through.  To give you an idea of amounts, I used 1 tspn of curry, 1/2 a tblspn of fresh chives, a 125g can of drained corn kernels and about 1/3 cup cheddar cheese in the curried cheese, chive and corn muffins.  The olive, feta and italian herbs took 7 chopped olives, about 2 tblspns of chopped feta, and fresh, very finely chopped herbs - 1 tblspn parsley, 1 tblspn oregano, 1/2 tblspn rosemary.  Remember, these amounts are for mixing into batter halves, if you wanted to do just a one flavour batter, you'd double the amount of your chosen add-in combination.

Miss Six calls my mum "Nonna" so here is...

Nonna Lillabilly's Awesomely Versatile Muffins

2 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup caster sugar (ONLY if you are making sweet muffins, leave out for savoury)
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn baking powder
1 cup full cream milk
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 egg (I use jumbo size)

Your choice of "add-ins" - (see ideas at end of recipe)

1. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, add salt and sugar (if using) and mix.
2. Combine milk, oil and egg with a fork in a seperate jug
3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix lightly with a fork - do NOT beat or over mix, the batter is supposed to be lumpy.  ( If you over-mix you'll end up with tough muffins!)
4. Lightly mix in your choice of add-ins.  Use your judgement for how much to add - remember there needs to be more batter than add-in if muffins are to rise well.
5. Spray muffin tin with spray oil or grease with butter or use paper muffin-cases.  Divide batter evenly into muffin tin.
6. Bake in preheated 180 deg celcius oven for 15-20 minutes (8-10 minutes for mini muffins) until golden.  Cool in tin for a minute or so before turning out to cool on wire rack.

Add-In Ideas - Savoury
Cheese, bacon, corn and herbs
Salmon, dill and brie
Spinich and feta
Pizza (ham, cheese, onion, olives, tomato)
Greek (feta, olives, sundried tomato, red onion)

Add-In Ideas - Sweet
Apple and cinnamon
Blueberry and raspberry (you can use frozen if not in season)
Cherry, coconut and dark chocolate
Date and pecan
Banana and milk choc chips
Ginger and macadamia

Hope you enjoy the recipe, I can't wait to hear what flavour combinations you all come up with - please share!!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Togs for crafty, gardeny sorts.

Summer's almost here and I am completely dreading going togs shopping.  For those who arn't Queenslanders, togs are what we call swimsuits, ...I know they have lots of different names, even in different parts of Australia -   what do you call them where you are?  I've also noticed a sudden trend by all the magazine and designer folk to call a one piece swimsuit, a "maillot" (pronounced "may-yoo").  Apparently it's french for, er, one piece swimsuit.

So anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who dreads togs shopping and I really , really, really wish I could just magic a cute little boyleg tankini set, in an awesome cut (no halters pleeeease) and fabric, out of thin air without all the dressing room drama and pining for the boobs I had in my twenties.

Even after doing a whole lot of internet searching, I didn't come up with much.  However, I did find these three little beauties and though they are not something I personally would wear, I just had to share them with you because the prints they are made with are pretty fabuloso and crafty, gardeny designs are not something you see on togs everyday.  They are all from Hotel Bondi Swim  which is a Sydney based swimwear company. (Photos sourced from Hotel Bondi Swim also).

Check it out - for the patchwork fans...

For the crochet fans...

And last but not least, for those of us who love our garden gnomes (and also available in a maillot, now that we all know what that is)...

That last one makes me chuckle.  I think I heart the granny squares the best.  Which one's your fave?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Lunchbox #15

Today's lunchbox:

Morning Tea: Tropical fruit salad of strawberries, watermelon, mango, pineapple and baby mint leaves, pre packaged muesli bar.
Lunch: Chicken and vegetable noodle cakes with cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cheese cubes
Drink: Water

I just have to say that I LOVE the fruit that is around at this time of year!  YUM!  It makes being healthy so very easy.  Also, I tend to steer clear of pre packaged foods for Miss Six's lunch, (Miss Six...that  sounds so weird) due to her peanut allergy there is not a great deal that she can have anyway.  But it's nice to slip something in every now and then as I know it makes her feel that she is "just like the other kids".  I only recently discovered Food For Health's range of products and am quite happy to give Miss Six their lovely muesli bars on occasion.  The allergy information on the package does state that the product may contain traces of treenuts, but definately not peanuts - so if you are allergic to both this would not be the product for you.  But it is also gluten, wheat and dairy free (if you have issues with those) and the dried fruit contained in it is sulpher free.  And as an added bonus, they are Australian made by an Australian owned company.  I'm  happy to support that!  If you are an Aussie with allergies, you can find their range at many of your local supermarkets in the health food section.  Hooray!

And here's the recipe for the noodle cakes ( they're soooo good and don't taste like vegetables at all!)

Chicken and Vegetable Noodle Cakes

200g vermicelli rice noodles
3 eggs
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tblspn chopped parsley
3/4 cup chopped cooked chicken
1 tblespn sweet chilli sauce
Pinch of salt
Small amount of oil for frying

Soak the vermicelli noodles for about 5 minutes in boiling water and drain.  Place noodles in a bowl and chop into smaller pieces.  Thoroughly mix through eggs, carrot, zucchini, shallots, parsley, chicken, salt and sauce.
Heat oil in frypan until hot and place 1/4 cup amounts of noodle mix in, flattening with spatula and turning when golden brown.

These are totally great hot or cold and make a really quick and easy dinner too.  If you are after a more adult flavour, swap the parsley for coriander, throw in an extra tablespoon or two of sweet chilli sauce and a teaspoon or so of fresh grated ginger.  You could also try using chinese barbequed pork instead of chicken.  Or go meatless if you're after a vegetarian meal.  Serve with more sweet chilli sauce for dipping and a fresh green salad and you're set!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Miss Six

Just recently, my little Miss Five became a very grown up Miss Six!  Where on earth has my baby gone?

You can see what she got for her birthday there on her wrist.  She also got a cubby house (with a slide!) made by my hubby (thankyou so very much sweetheart, you're very clever.)  I totally wish I'd had a watch and a cubby (with a slide!) when I was six.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Lunchbox #14

Today's Lunchbox...

Morning Tea -  Fresh mango cheeks, homemade trail mix of sultanas, raisins, popcorn, croutons and oven roasted pumpkin seeds.

Lunch - Chicken and vegetable risotto arancini with cheddar cheese centres, salad of cos lettuce, mini tomatoes and carrot stars.

Drink: Water

If you make risotto, then you can make arancini with the leftovers!  Wear a pair of disposable gloves to ball the risotto up (do a half ball and add a cheese cube to the centre, if you wish, before adding more risotto to make the other half) , roll your arancini in plain flour, dip in egg, roll in breadcrumbs and fry in a little hot oil.  Fun and a bit messy but very easy and they are delicious hot or cold!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I have just stumbled on this beautiful little vid through the blog of one of my lovely, lovely followers, Tara, and I had to share it with you all.  I think you should head on over to Tara's blog On A Branch to read what she has to say about creating art as an adult when you havn't for some time.  I could definately relate and I'm sure many of you will be able to as well.

When I was little, I used to spend hours on end drawing and colouring and painting.  There was nothing quite like the smell and excitement of new art materials, be they paints, pens, crayons or colouring pencils.  I remember that if I ever got a new set I would have to try out every colour on a "test paper" before I could even contemplate creating a piece of art from them.  I'm pretty lucky to have a creative mother who knew the benefit of good quality art materials and provided such, though they were still pretty basic.  At least I was completely spared of felt pens which run out after five strokes, pencils which break as you sharpen them and paints that come out with colours that are thin, muddied and insipid.  I remember my Dad bringing home big reams of continuous computer paper (the kind that had blue stripes on one side, a perforation between each sheet and holes all the way down each edge for the grippers on the printer) from his work and these reams used to take pride of place on the corner of my desk so that I could tear a piece off and create as the mood took me.  I remember loving the smell of the art room when I was in primary school but hating the thick brushes that they provided which were always gummed up with old paint and only ever created thick blobby marks on the paper.  I also remember being completely envious of my best friend's super dooper brand new Crayola Caddy!!  Do they still make those?

Did you used to draw and paint as a child? What did you love about it?  What didn't you love?  Do you still create?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Today at school drop off time, all the little girls in my daughter's class were fascinated by a small snaily fellow wandering along the seating.

After I came home and was writing out my groceries list, this appeared from the end of my pen...

I miss drawing.

I need to make time to do it more often.