Sunday, October 31, 2010

How come it's Sunday already??

Where the hell did this weekend go? I swear OH and I sit down and we go well next weekend we have this, and the next weekend we have this so I think we are free sometime around February next year? It sucks! But I was actually really excited about this weekends activites. On Friday night we went to the Halloween Masquerade Ball

I think I mentioned before it is kind of a night of burlesque and pole dancing acts but this time it all had a Halloween theme, it was fantastic, girls on poles doing the Thriller dance, zombies doing burlesque acts, it was just brilliant, the crowd were really getting into it and OH even managed to get a lap dance from one of the head line acts....don't worry it was part of the act and I gave him a good clip up the ears afterwards! The night really made me want to go and do the Burlesque course offered by the same place I did my pole dancing classes though. I might look into signing up the for next one this week.

Then yesterday we went on a Bandana Run with the Veterans Motorcycle Club for Canteen, there were heaps of bikes and even though it was a very overcast day it was still quite warm. Plus there is really nothing like the feeling of riding right in the middle of a pack of bikes, I can't wait to get my license!

And we have to finish up with a recipe!
On Thursday night we had some sizzle steaks with cauliflower on the side. I have had this recipe for cauliflower since I first began collecting recipes and have never made it, I am so glad I gave it a try though!

Cauliflower with Sour Cream and Bacon
500g cauliflower
2 tbspns sour cream extra light
1/2 cup spring onions diced
2 tbspns bacon chips (you could use real bacon, but we use the Masterfoods Bacon Chips which I prefer to real bacon)
1/2 cup grated extra light tasty cheese

Cut up your cauliflower and boil it on the stove until soft. Add bacon chips. Simmer for 2-3 mins.
Drain the caulfilower then stir through the rest of the ingredients and put back on the stove top. Keep stirring it so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once cheese has melted and ingredients are combined, dish up!

Really easy and tasty way to have cauliflower, especially if you have kids (or partners) that need their vegies spiced up a bit!

Oh and we had our Halloween party last night, it was fantastic, the trick or treat bags were a hit, my friend and I decorated the shed and it looked spectacular with cobwebs and lanterns and candles plus a giant spider hanging from the roof, I have a feeling the Halloween party will become a tradition now!

Anyway I better go, we are off to tea with OH's Mum and I am dying for a cup of tea before we go!

Back tomorrow!!

Em x

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mega Exciting News!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I quit my job this morning!!! Yup I resigned, lil ol me! Who'd have thought, in the last few months I have been saying I wanted to go and looking around and applying flat out, but when it came to the crunch and people offered me jobs I talked myself out of it and ended up turning down 4 jobs in like 6 weeks....not cool, OH was literally about to disown me. But I had an interview on Wed this week, got offered the job last night and I am so very excited about it! It's a change from what I'm doing now, no more payroll, well I'll take payroll enquiries, but thats it, and I'll be doing workers comp and recruitment and more HR stuff and it's exactly what I wanted and a bit more $$ in the pocket too...did I mention I'm slightly hyperactive / over excited about this whole thing?? So I handed in my notice this morning, finish up on the 26th of Nov (same day as our work xmas dinner and OH's bucks night...) and start the new job on the 29th of Nov (OH's Bday) so I have told OH this year we are having his bday on the 28th, now I just need to figure out what to do for it...Anyway did I mention WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO *insert happy dance here*

HAPPY FRIDAY! Oh and I am seriously rocking out in my bandana today, will post photos tomorrow!

Em x

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Party Planning, Pearls and Packet Marinade!

What a week it has been so far! Earlier this week we had the most awesome Moroccan Lamb Kebabs. I just used the Masterfoods packet marinade and it had so much flavour and served on a bed of basic cous cous (just made with vegetable stock) it was pure heaven!

And last night we went to Mum and Dad's for tea. Mum made her super awesome potato bake and chicken parmis which OH has been hanging out for for like the last 4 months! It was so yummy! Then Mum and I wrote out the wedding invites while Dad and OH were on enveloping duty! It is such a relief to have them done and they look fantastic, I couldn't have imagined anything more fitting to our theme

And Mum and Dad brought me back these gorgeous earrings from their trip. They are silver hoops with pearls and seeing as I am going through a pearl phase...but still love my hoops, they are very me!

And did I mention we are going to the Halloween themed Masquerade Ball on Fri night? Well it's not your average ball, the night is made up of cocktails, pole dancing and burlesque acts and some cabaret singers. The only rule is that you must dress up and you must wear a mask. We have only been once before and it was a great night, it actually started my love affair with pole dancing and burlesque and once we saw the next one was halloween themed, well we were sold! Anyway, I got my mask today, what do you think?

OH and I also agreed to have a Halloween party here on Sat night, nothing massive just a few friends, lots of decorations, some 8 ball, some food and copious amounts of lollies! Look at the some of the cool stuff I picked up today!

I decided to make Trick or Treat bags for everyone coming and have filled them with lollies and some pairs of the lil bobble heads in the last photo. I also got some spiderwebs to hang around the beams in the shed and a big cob web wall hanging with inflatable spiders stuck to it! It's all very exciting to be honest! And how cute are the plates and the serviettes....I am seriously thinking about buying plain ones so we don't need to use them!

Anyway, I must be off, mexican stuffed capsicums to make!!

Em x

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Baking #2 - Entering Pumpkin Overload...

...I actually think I have entered pumpkin overload and emerged out the other Dad on the other hand is going to be experiencing pumpkin overload for quite some time. Let me tell you why....

Given that Halloween is next weekend I thought I better get to moving with my Halloween today I decided to make little pumpkin pies and pumpkin whoopie pies. Being from Australia, I have heard of whoopie pies before from reading American blogs, but I have never tried one or seen one in the flesh so I was slightly concerned because I didn't know what the texture or anything should be like but I am so glad I gave them a shot, have a look!

I was really happy with the way these came out and they taste delicious! The best way I can explain it is like two pumpkin pancakes sandwiched together with cream cheese icing. They were so easy to make, I think I will try some red velvet ones next time!

And then there were these lil sweethearts

A really lovely combination of pumpkin, allspice, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla and a touch of sugar, poured into some lil shortcrust pastry cases and then baked. OH thinks they have a slight custard tart flavour...kinda like a pumpkin custard tart maybe? But they have that lovely sweet delicate pumpkin flavour and being bite sized they are perfect to have with a cup of tea in the afternoon!

So this afternoon I took my Dad a shipment of pumpkin blondies, pumpkin pies and pumpkin whoopie pies as well as some mars bar slice (to break up all the pumpkin!) so I think by the end of the week he will be well and truly entering pumpkin overload!

Em x

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pizza and a Slice of Roller Derby!

Last night OH and I decided to make pizza for tea before we went to our first roller derby game! I was so excited, not only was it the first game of the season but it was the first public game of the league in general down here. Anyway, back to the pizza! OH has perfected his dough to make a thin, light and soft base that is to die for and last night we had it with capsicum, tomato paste, ham, cheese and some pizza herbs. It was so good we had to make another one for lunch today!

Are you seeing my point? Doesn't it look awesome!?

Anyway, after scoffing half a pizza each we headed out to the roller derby. The place was packed and it was great to see so many people dressed up in their finest rockabilly and vintage gear, and the shoes...oh the shoes were to die for! The derby was great to watch, the girls were really getting into each other and putting all their effort into it. I need to brush up on some of the rules though coz sometimes I wasn't sure why points were awarded and other times when I thought they should have been given they weren't lol but the crowd nearly tore the place down everytime the local girls got in front which was great to see. The next round down here is in November and I am planning my outfit and looking forward to the night already!

I have been baking most of today, I will show you what I made tomorrow!

It has been a busy weekend, I went to polefit yesterday and we tried some latin dancing moves which was so much fun! And I am not in the ridiculous amount of pain I was last Sunday which is good, maybe I am growing muscles! Then I spent some time with Mum and Dad who had just got back from QLD and went to the derby last night. Today we did the groceries, the baking, had a visit from OH's Mum and OH's 2 yr old nephew who is a real sweetheart, he was quite taken with the ride on mower!

Ok I really am going this time...

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend xx


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hits from the last few days!

Well I am still snowed under with the flu but I find if I get up and get moving I feel a bit better so I am just laying in bed having a cup of tea and some yoghurt before I go to polefit. Hopefully I'll sweat most of it out there! And i learnt my lesson last week, I will be doing yoga first thing this arvo to work out those knots and then hopefully I won't pull up so sore.

Anyway on Thursday morning I got up early and went for a walk because it was a Public Holiday here. Then I made this porridge with caramelised bananas. Not exactly healthy but oh so yummy. The porridge was creamy and soaked up the caramel sauce, the bananas were soft and delicious, it was such a nice brekkie!

Then we made this Paprika chicken on corn may be wondering why the corn is not mashed....I tried the masher, the baymix, the food processor and all I did was make alot of washing up, so we just had the corn as is. But my god was it good, totally overshadowed the chicken, and it was just cooked in some stock with garlic and thyme, definetly a new favourite!

And then yesterday I found this at Kmart, isn't he adorable! And he goes so perfectly with my Halloween kick at the moment that I just had to bring him home.

And while I was at Kmart I may have brought some black pin stripe it was only last summer that I felt confident enough to wear shorts...can I move on to capris? I know technically capris are longer and I am being a bit backwards here but I always thought stuff that stopped like just below my knees made me look stumpy...but at the moment I am also in a big vintage mood, I want vintage clothing and dresses and I am hoping these capris, with a nice black woolly jumper, a nice cinch belt and some heels will do the trick so I can wear them to the roller derby tonight...did I mention I was going to the roller derby tonight, so exciting, I can't wait!!

I am also on the track for raspberry essense..does anyone know where to get some because I can't find it in Tassie and I really think its the missing ingredient in the wedding cupcakes.

*sigh* well I really must get out of bed and go to polefit!

Happy Saturday everyone :) Ohhh and I'm attempting little pumpkin pies and pumpkin whoopie pies tomorrow as Halloween Baking Challenge #2...pumpkin overload!!

Em x

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Portugese Salmon with Spiced Lentils

Well yesterday I was sitting at my desk thinking how lucky I was to have made it through winter and into spring without getting sick this year, especially seeing as the majority of people in my office have been struck down by nasty colds and lung infections...yet they still think it is a good idea to come to work and spread the love. And wouldn't you know it, last night my throat started to feel a bit sore, and by the early hours of this morning I was nearly in tears every time I swallowed. So at the moment I am at work but I am going home to bed soon and just to make it better it is a public holiday here tomorrow and I have a feeling I will be spending it on the couch drinking tea...which really doesn't sound that bad but OH and I had planned a bike ride and a picnic in some sort of effort to mend our relationship...

Anyway, last night we had Portugese Salmon and Spiced Lentils which was rather tasty if I do say so myself!

You will need
1 tbspn oil
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tbspn freshly diced thyme
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tspn crushed garlic
1 finely diced carrot
1 finely diced stick of celery
1 red onion finely diced
1 cup water
1 tbsnp lemon juice
1 x large tomato diced
2 x smoked salmon fillets
2 x tbsnps of portugese chicken seasoning

Rub the seasoning into the salmon fillets and place in the fridge while you prepare the lentils.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft.
Add carrot, celery and garlic, cooking for two mins or until garlic is fragrant.
Add lentils, water and stock cube. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 mins with the lid on.
Once liquid has reduced and mixture has thickened, take off heat and add thyme, tomato and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Cook salmon in fry pan for 3-4 mins on each side or until cooked to your liking.
Serve with lentils.

The salmon really absorbed the flavour of the spices and the lentil mixture really thickened up and was a perfect accompaniement for the fish. To be honest I could have just had a big bowl of the lentils, they were so good! and even OH who is a self confessed lentil hater liked them!

Hope you are all well...I am off home to collapse on the couch with a blanket and a book.

Em x

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tortellini Moussaka

On the weekend when we were trying to decide on what to have for tea this week, OH mentioned that he had a craving for ravioli...and I kinda went 'oh yeah whatever' coz whilst I love ravioli, there is never enough in those lil packets you buy and I wanted something abit more substantial then just pasta and sauce for dinner...a few flicks of the recipe book pages later and hey presto look what we found! Tortellin Moussaka!! Ok so not quite the ravioli that was requested, but damn close and it met my criteria for a more exciting dish.

I actually made this on Sunday afternoon and we had it for dinner on Monday night, I find pasta baka is easy to dish up if it is cold and it gives the flavours more time to develop.

So if you would like to try this fantastic recipe you will need

1 x 630g pkt of Roast Vegetable and Ricotta Tortellini (or whatever flavour you want)
1 x 450-500g jar of pasta sauce
1 x 150g bag of baby spinach leaves
1 x cup of greek yoghurt
1 x egg
1 x large eggplant thinly sliced
salt, pepper, paprika and grated cheese

Pre-heat oven to 180C
Salt the eggplant and leave to rest whilst you prepare the other ingredients.
Place tortellini in a pot of boiling water and cook for 8-10 mins or until tender.
Meanwhile cook the spinach in the microwave until wilted. Squeeze out excess water and tear / chop up.
Whisk egg and yoghurt in a jug and season with salt and pepper.
Rinse the eggplant and gently fry in batches until golden.
Layer pasta sauce, tortellini and eggplant in a baking dish finishing with eggplant.
Pour over yoghurt mixture.
Top with grated cheese and paprika.
Bake in oven for 30-40 mins or until cheese is melted and golden.

I know I haven't said much that has been non food related lately but I will give you all a proper update tomorrow I promise!!

Em x

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Baking #1 - Pumpkin Blondies

So as I said the other day, my goal for October was to try a new Halloween themed recipe every week. Last night I made the first recipe on my list....Pumpkin Blondies

I was a bit hesitant about this recipe initially. I am all for pumpkin pie and pumpkin muffins, but pumpkin in the form of a brownie I was not so sure about...but I thought I would give it a go and boy am I glad I did! These blondies were super easy to make and the end result is a soft chewy pumpkin and white chocolate flavoured blondie with the subtle hints of allspice. I will definetly be adding these to my regular baking rotation!!

To make these delicious Pumpkin Blondies you will need

2 cups plain flour
2 tspns allspice
1 tspn baking soda
3/4 tspn salt
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tspn vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used 1 cup of severely mashed pumpkin)
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with baking paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
Mix in the pumpkin.
With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

Seriously, give these a try!!

Em x

Polefit Class and The Vintage Fair

It is currently Sunday afternoon and I am so very very sore, tired yet satisfied, I've had a great weekend!

On Friday OH suprised me at work with a bottle of perfume I have wanted for ages, and it smells divine, we have been having a rough patch lately and whilst it doesn't make things all brand new, it shows he cares.

Yesterday OH had to work so I had the day to myself, no cooking or cleaning to do, I was a totally free agent. I lazed around in bed for a little while, then got up and made myself a cup of tea and some porridge and decided I was going to go check out this Vintage Market that Mum had been telling me about and after that I would do a Polefit class...then depending on how I felt, I might even venture to a Zumba class and try that too!

When I got to the Vintage Market I soon discovered it was so much more then that, it was actually called Frock Up Hobart 2010 and included an exhibition of royal fashion and memorabilia plus a The Way We Wear Vintage Fashions Fair. The fashion fair was the market bit Mum was telling me about, but it was just brilliant, they are travelling all around Australia and I was so glad I went, the clothes were just gorgeous and all of it was real vintage stuff in as new condition and cheap as! I brought two dresses and a suprise for my Mum because she was interstate and was slightly shattered she couldn't make it, but it would have been so easy to spend thousands and thousands of dollars there! And the collection of royal memorabillia was fascinating. Did you know that when one of King Henry's wives got sick and returned to the public spotlight with a limp, the entire population took on a limp as well purely because she was the Queen?! This is what I brought anyway

And after that I grabbed a coffee and high-tailed my way to my first Polefit class! I was really looking forward to it. It was being run by the same lady who took my beginners pole class and this was her first Polefit class too, kind of like a trial to see how the routine went and if it would be worthwhile to keep running. Let me just say that by the end of it we had done everything from ab crunches to push ups, fans, body rolls, circuits and lifts and like honestly if you do these things once or twice in a routine you barely notice them, but when you do them in reps of 20 or for the length of a 4 minute song, my god do you notice!! By the end of it my arms and legs were a quivering mess and there was no way in hell I was going to make it to Zumba, I might leave that one for one night this week I think. Today pretty much everything but my butt is sore, but its great, I had heaps of fun, met some great people and learnt some new moves to practise on my pole at home, plus just the satisfaction you get from knowing you have done a good work out is great too! I think I will keep going once a fortnight maybe just to keep the motivation up and in the meantime I am really looking forward to being able to do an aerobic routine with the pole at home because just doing the one routine that we learnt in the beginners class over and over was getting abit old! And since I started doing the pole dancing in May I have noticed I actually have like defined arms muscles now, like I don't have massive guns or anything, but I never had arms muscles before and now I do which means I can often be caught flexing and doing a happy dance in front of the mirror.....

Anyway, I am off to attempt my pumpkin blondies - the first of my Halloween baking efforts!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Em x

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fantabulous Omelettes and The Case of The Missing Taste Buds!!!

Well to start with, we tried the new and improved version of the wedding cupcakes last night and initially I was disappointed. I put raspberry jelly crystals into the raspberry swirl mix to give it more of a raspberry kick and whilst they were delicious, I still wasn't getting that raspberry-ness...but OH seemed to think he could tell the difference. So just incase he was saying it to shut me up, I took some to work today and purposely didn't tell people what flavour they were...and was greeted with lots of 'ooohh the raspberry in these is delicious'.....I mean seriously what has happened to my taste buds? Is it everything that I'm missing or is it just my rapsberry ones that have bitten the dust...and even that is not awesome, I love raspberries, raspberries and cream, chocolate raspberry brownies, raspberry jam, raspberry ice cream, not to mention I only just discovered the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm and have barely made a dent in my plan to eat my way through their entire menu...this is a disaster! So I am not entirely sure what to do. I am trying to hunt down some raspberry essence and I might try adding that to the cake mix and see what that does.

Moving on to something that always makes me feel better in a taste bud crisis...Hot Chocolate! I found this recipe a few weeks ago and after a tweek here and there, we have a version that OH is firmly in love with and so far he has had one nearly every day! I must admit though, it is pretty damn good!

You will need

1 cup of skim milk
1 tspn of caster sugar
a small handful of chocolate (I used milk chocolate baking melts)
1 tbspn of cream

Combine milk and sugar and heat in microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until boiling.
Meanwhile place chocolate into a heat proof mug.
Pour milk mixture over chocolate, add cream, top with marshmallows and serve immediately!

It is so very yummy and great for snuggling up on the couch with. We have also tried this with a bit of creme de menthe or a bit of malibu added in at the end and it is to die for! But for non alcoholic versions you could just use mint or coconut essence!

Earlier in the week we felt like an easy tea so we decided on some omelettes with brocolli (from our own vegie patch!!) and some pumpkin. I am going to try and tone down my excitement here, but these were the best omelettes I have ever made in my entire exaggeration what-so-ever! I think I mentioned recently that I have become a fresh herb convert? Well I had some thyme and oregano in the fridge so we thought we would just make a simple cheese and herb omelette.

We used the following for each omelette:

2 eggs
1 tspn fresh chopped herbs (we used thyme and oregano)
about 1/4 of a cup of grated cheese
1/4 brown onion diced

Combine it all together in a bowl or jug and stir really really well.

Then we cheated and chucked ours in the omelette maker for about 7-8 mins or until they are puffed and golden.

OH added some finely diced tomato to his as well.

And really just the simpleness of the cheese and the herbs was delicious. Previously I have always tried to overload my omelettes with flavour by adding ham and chutney and tomato and garlic and salt and pepper and whatever else I could get my hands on and the result was always lacklustre, but this simple combination was by far the out and out winner. More brownie points for the fresh herbs in my book!

Oh and the brocolli from our garden was spectacular, a bit softer then supermarket brocolli but just bursting with flavour. We boiled ours for about 5-10 mins and just served it with a little bit of butter. Things always taste so much better when you have grown them yourself I think.

And have I mentioned lately how much I love pumpkin? We just cooked ours in the microwave until it was tender and same deal, served it with a bit of butter and it was great. Funny how some of your most memorable meals are the simple ones hey!

What is your most memorable meal?

Em x

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quick and Easy Stir Fry....and the return of the Cupcakes!

Yes...just when you all thought I had grown out of my cupcake phase is back...and may I say it's back with a vengence!! I mentioned yesterday about wanting to do some Halloween baking and I am all revved up to make my Halloween cupcakes like right now, but I know I need to wait and space it all out over the month so I'm trying. In the meantime I made these ones tonight for a friend who is having day surgery this week. She is nervous about it and she thinks skulls are just as cute and adorable as I do so I thought these might cheer her up. I made the cupcake toppers from scratch and then thought I would use the opportunity to make Version 2 of the Wedding Cupcakes! This time I tried adding some raspberry jelly crystals to the raspberry swirl mix to see if it gives them more of a raspberry kick. I made a double batch so I have enough for my friend and enough for OH and I to taste test I'll let you know how it goes!

And last night OH and I went to Mum and Dad's for tea. They are off to Port Douglas on Friday for 8 days I think so it was nice to see them before they go jet setting again. Upon walking in the door last night I saw hokkien noodles on the bench which could only mean one thing. Mum's stiry fry. I love my Mum's stiry fry. I have tried to copy it before with no success. So I watched intently tonight and now I know how it's done!

To create this delicious yet simple stir fry you will need:

1 x 450g packet of hokkien noodles
2 x pkts of frozen stir fry vegies (try and get as much variety as you can - pineapple, carrot, beans, etc)
2 x brown onions diced
1 x bottle of Stir Fry sauce (that is literally what its called and is in the Asian section of the supermarket)
4-5 large tbspns of butter

Cook the onion in a large fry pan until tender.
Add butter and stir until melted.
Place noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
Add frozen vegetables and cover. Cook for 10-15 mins stirring occasionally or until vegies are tender.
Drain water from noodles and add to vegetables. Pour sauce over and combine.
Simmer for 5 mins and serve!

Easy easy easy yet so yummy!! We had ours with a dinner roll to mop up all the buttery goodness!

I have made stir fries with plum sauce and honey soy and garlic sauce, red wine and garlic sauce but nothing I have tried tastes as good as this. As much as my calorie counter hates to admit it, I think the butter has alot to do with it...and that Stir Fry sauce is definetly the only one I'm buying from now on!

Anyway, that is all from me for today!

Tomorrow - the best cheese and herb omelettes and brocolli from our own vegie patch!

Em x

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Baking

I have a real craving this week to make some Halloween themed treats. Halloween is one of my favourite holidays and I wish we celebrated it more in Australia. But I have no idea what to make....some pumpkin scrolls? vampire biscuits? I even found a recipe for pumpkin fudge....but I have also found a recipe for pumpkin blondies that has taken my fancy...what to make what to make??

Well after some deliberation I have decided to make the following over the next 2-3 weeks, none of which I have tried before!

So we are going to try some Halloween themed cupcakes (I'm thinking mummies, dracula, wolves and spiders), some pumpkin blondies (because the thought of a soft sweet and chewy pumpkin slice is making me tingle) and some mini bite sized pumpkin pies (coz they are so cute!) and maybe some pumpkin scrolls too (depending on the level of pumpkin overload being experienced by my friends and family....)

All in all though I am most excited and OH is working this Sat so I'm thinking I will start with the blondies...

Stay tuned!!

Em x

Smokin' Hot!

Ok so thats what I would like to be when I grow up....but in the absence of me being smokin hot, how about we try this Smokey Beef Casserole instead? OH is going through a casserole phase incase you hadn't noticed.

The original recipe included chillies, but I fiddled and came up with this....

You will need

500g diced beef
2 tbspns oil
2 diced capsicums (red and green)
1 tspn crushed garlic
2 sliced carrots
1 diced onion
1 tin diced tomatoes
2 tspns smoked paprika
2 sticks of diced celery
2 x 125g tins of four bean mix

Preheat oven to 180C (fan forced)
Add 1tbspn oil and the beef in a heavy based casserole dish. Cook until beef is just browned. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in dish and add capsicums, onion, carrot, garlic and celery. Cook for 3-5 mins or until tender.
Add diced tomatoes and paprika and simmer for 1 minute until fragrant.
Place lid on dish and put in the oven for just over an hour, stirring ever half hour. When meat is tender, stir through drained four bean mix.
Serve with warmed tortillas.

I thought this was fantastic, kind of like a chunky mexican soupy casserole thing! It smells fantastic when it is cooking and the smoked paprika gives it a delicious flavour and its light on in the cals, which helps in our goal to look smokin hot! Would also be delicious served with rice if you wanted to soak up all the tomatoey goodness!


Em x

Friday, October 8, 2010

Catch Up Time!

Where have I been the last few days!? I was doing so well, an entry every day and then I just disappeared! Well it's ok, coz I'm back now.

It all started on Thurs night when I made Ham and Cheese Pancakes

They are really easy and so yummy, but best eaten straight out of the fry pan so these cheese is still melty. I made mine in the pancake maker though because I find it easier then the fry pan, you don't get those hot spots that stick and you don't have to worry about flipping them! They were great and they had like carrot, zucchini, fetta, normal cheese and ham in them, so many flavours and you got your vegies as well. Although next time I think I might reduce the actual pancake base but leave the vegie, ham and cheese quantities the same just so you get more filling and less pancake in every ite if that makes sense!?

Yesterday we went out for a family lunch with OH's family to a cafe at Richmond which is about 30 mins drive from home. The place was called Ashmores and it is a quaint little corner cafe and they serve these huge homely meals like quiches and pot pies, devonshire teas and old fashioned spiders, there was so much to choose from and everything sounded delicious. I settled on a toasted vegetable panini which had tomato, cheese, pesto, capsicum, spinach and mushies in it and it came with a beautiful side salad or fries. I got the fries but OH ate them all so that was ok! I was so glad I settled on that though because it was fantastic and I have been craving a toasted panini for awhile now! That kept me full until about 9pm last night when we had some soup and a piece of fresh buttered bread out of our new bread maker. You may have read a few months ago we borrowed my parents bread maker to see if we would like one? Well OH's Mum ended up giving us hers and last night was our first test run which resulted in this lil loaf of wholemeal bread

And last night I also made Mars Bar Slice for OH's lunches, it is so very easy to make and really who can go past a good mars bar slice!!

You simply melt 3 chopped mars bars with 60g butter...combine that with 2 cups of rice bubbles and spread into a lined slice tin. Then melt 200g of chocolate with 30g of butter and spread that over the top and chuck it in the fridge to set. Could it be any easier!?

It is a beautiful day here and I have just got back from a trip to town with Mum and Dad. Mum and I found this clothing sale where nearly everything was $4.95....I ended up with two work shirts and two long line vesty cardigan thingys for around $ cool is that! I love a good bargain...

I am stalling now, I have three lots of selection criteria to do and so far this weekend I have washed my car, been grocery shopping, visited friends, clothing shopping in town, dusted the house...and now I am blabbering to you in an effort to avoid it...I hate doing criteria. Hmph. And OH is out in the shed with a group of his mates having a bbq and drinking and watching Bathurst in the sun, which just makes me even more cranky about being stuck inside! Ok ok I'm going...

This week I think we are making a Smokey Beef Casserole, going to Mum and Dad's, having brocolli out of our very own vegie patch and making fish burgers!?

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Em x

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spring Treats!!

I love spring and daylight savings. Despite my quarter life crisis, I went for a walk this afternoon and there were sprinklers going, I love the smell of water / rain on a warm day : ) And spring is really my favourite season I think, the weather improves, there are baby animals about, the days are longer and brighter...not to mention we have a whole new season of foods to play with! No longer do we crave big bowls of hearty meals to warm our bellies, but colourful plates of fresh fruit and vegetables!

This week I have discovered my new favourite salad....

2 tomatoes, 1/2 a cucumber, 1/2 a small tin of four bean mix and 1/2 a cup of pumpkin that I cooked in the microwave. It was so filling and really yummy, I love pumpkin and now that it is salad weather, I can see it becoming a regular!

Now onto more important DESSERT...last night I whipped this up and it is also going to become a summer regular...

Raspberry Meringue Icecream

2 lt of light vanilla icecream
300g frozen raspberries
100g Petit Vanilla Meringues (available at Woolies)

Let the icecream soften, but not melt.
Place raspberries and meringues in a bowl and crush with a fork. Combine with icecream and put back in the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.

The meringues gave it a deliciously sweet flavour which contrasted nicely with the tart raspberries. Only problem was it all disappeared last night!! And I have so many other combinations I want to try....home made cookies and cream...or even a few tspns of honey would be delicious!

For the main course we had a Vegetable Tortilla Stack which I have wanted to make for a long time, but I needed a new springform pan, which I got last weekend!

So here is what you need:

4 x wholegrain tortillas
1 x tin diced tomatoes
2 x capsicums (red and green) diced
1 x onion diced
700g pumpkin diced into small cubes
1 tspn freshly diced thyme
1 tspn freshly diced oregano
250g extra light ricotta
1 cup grated cheese

Cook the onion and capsicum in a fry pan until soft.
Add pumpkin, diced tomatoes and herbs. Simmer until pumpkin is tender.
Place one tortilla in the bottom of a lined springform baking tin and spread with 1/3 of the ricotta. Top with 1/3 of the vegetable mix and 1/4 of the cheese. Repeat layers, finishing with the fourth tortilla topped with the remaining grated cheese.
Bake at 180C / 160 fan forced for 15 mins or until cheese is golden.
Let stand in the pan for 10 mins then remove the outer ring of the springform tin. (I was super nervous here, but it all held together!) and be sure to cut with a sharp knife so all your filling doesn't fall out!

I have recently moved my store from Ebay to Etsy and last night I was experimenting with making some cupcake toppers because I was trying to make some for a friend who is going into hospital next week, and I came up with these. I'm really proud of them and I made heaps so I thought I'd put them on Etsy too and see how they go!

Hope you all had a fantastic day!

Em x

A Side of Lamb With Your Quarter Life Crisis?

Well at the moment I seem to be experiencing a quarter life crisis. Absolutely every element of my life is making my head hurt, my job, my career, not spending enough time in the kitchen, not being able to afford new shoes, my friends...even my wedding...I just feel like tearing the lot down and starting from while I sort myself out why don't you try this recipe! Even as a vegetarian I didn't mind it!

Herbed Lamb Steaks and Buttered New Potatoes Serves 2

You need:

3 tspns freshly diced thyme
3 tspns freshly diced oregano
3 tspns lemon juice
1 200g tub of European style yoghurt
2 x 200g lamb steaks....all the lamb steaks had bone in them when I went shopping and I have not quite worked up to that stage of meat eating yet so I used beef round steak instead.

Combine 2 tspns of thyme, 2 tspns of oregano, 2 tspns of lemon juice and 100g yoghurt.
Pour into a shallow oven-proof dish and add steaks, ensuring meat is covered on both sides. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours to marinate.
Meanwhile combine remaining thyme, oregano, lemon juice and yoghurt and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
Cook the steaks on a bbq to your liking and serve with yoghurt dressing and boiled new potatoes.

Really easy and tasty, only time consuming bit is leaving it to marinade!

I followed a Margaret Fulton recipe for the boiled potatoes and OH and I agreed that they were honestly the best spuds to show up on our dinner plates. And so simple! Boil some whole new potatoes (we used 400g) for 15-20 mins or until a skewer can be easily inserted into them. Drain the water and cut potatoes in half. Add 1 tbspn of butter to the pan and swirl everything around until the potatoes are glistening. Mmmmmmmmmm nom nom nom!

Em x

Friday, October 1, 2010

The New Do!!

Ok - a brief overview of my hair history....when I was younger I had hair so long I could sit on it, I wore it in a plait all the time because it was so thick. Then at the beginning of Gr 7 I had it all cut off to my shoulders. To ease the pain of losing my hair, Mum got me some blonde foils. Over the years these gradually progressed through different shades of blonde, then into alternate stripes of blonde and red and eventually to a caramel and cherry. But the last few months I have been wanting a change, it's all very well and good to get a different shade of red or blonde in my foils, but it's not really DIFFERENT...and when I figured out yesterday I have had foils for 12 years now, that was the deciding factor. Spur of the moment decision I booked an appointment at the hairdresser and within an hour I was in the chair flipping through colour charts. Turns out my hair dresser and I both had similar ideas for what to do and we ended up choosing a deep plum so it's kind of a really dark colour with hints of red and purple through it in the light. I was mega nervous, but now that it's done - I LOVE IT! I have not had just one colour in my hair for so long...

This is the end result - please excuse my Lil Miss Naughty Pjs!

Anyway, just wanted to share as I was (and still am) a touch excited about it!

Em x

Individual Pepper Steak Pies

The other night OH and I went out for dinner and were spoilt for choice. It was one of those nights when everything on the menu sounded great. But one thing that caught our eye was the Pepper Steak Pot Pie and whilst we didn't order it, I was determined to give it a go this week!

Ok so I used mince instead of steak but I honestly think it soaked up the gravy better. The good thing about this recipe is that you could add any gravy mix and pretty much any combination of vegetables, I think some diced succhini would be delicious in there somewhere!

Pepper Steak Pie Makes 2
300g beef mince
1 x small onion diced
1 x tspn crushed garlic
1 x red capsicum diced
2 x celery stalks diced
1 x 125g tin corn kernels
1/2 cup diced button mushroos
1 x pkt of pepper gravy powder
2 tbspns bbq sauce
1 tbspn worsterschire sauce
Salt and pepper to season
1/2 sheet of reduced fat puff pastry cut into 2 squares
1 egg whisked

Brown mince in a lightly greased fry pan over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 mins.
Add gravy powder and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine and bring to the boil. Let simmer for 5 mins.
Add capsicum, celery, corn, mushrooms and sauces.
Simmer for 8 mins or until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon into individual ramekins and top with a pastry square. Brush with egg.
Bake at 150C for 15-20 mins or until pastry is puffed and golden.

I attempted to put a T on OH's with some left over pastry...

And then mucked around with the cookie cutters and more left over pastry...

And this is whats under the lid!

Personally I love to peel the pastry lid off and kinda dip it into the pie...OH stockpiles his and saves it to the end so he can savour I would like to know how do you eat your pies?

Em x


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