Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Steamed Buns

I have always loved the sweet, doughy steamed pork buns in Chinese restaurants.  Therefore, I was delighted to find this recipe for Steamed Chinese Five Spice Chicken Buns.  Although the filling isn't quite as yummy as the stir char-siu pork that the Chinese do so well, it was still pretty good and I will certainly be making them again.  Based on some of the comments on the recipe, I rolled the dough a little thinner and put a bit more filling in each one than the recipe suggests so the buns weren't too doughy.  It is also a great recipe for the kids to help with too!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Another new "oven free" Menu Plan Monday  this week.  Boy am I lucky that we are coming into salad season!

Monday: Caesar Salad
Saturday: To Be Decided

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rebound Books

While I was perusing my local bookshop today, a pile of books caught my eye.  They were diaries with oh-so-familiar Little Golden Book covers!  I SO want this one (but unfortunately I already have a 2011 diary)...

When I got home, I looked up the Rebound Books website to find out more.  Each diary is handmade, using an original Little Golden Book and Australian made 100% recycled paper.  The pages of the Golden Book stories themselves are scattered throughout the pages of the diary. They also make journals, photo albums, and sketchbooks, amongst other things.  I think this is such a charming idea, and I really enjoyed looking through the available designs and reminiscing about those that I had when I was a kid (like the one above).  Just as well they didn't have "Goodnight, Little Bear" or "Home For a Bunny"...I'm not sure I could have resisited either of those!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

With the change in weather, it's well and truly time to try some new recipes.  My repertoire, however, will be significantly diminished for a while, as our oven has now ceased working.  Our dishwasher is no longer functional either, so we have decided that it is time to start renovation plans.  I don't want to buy new whitegoods until we have a plan for our renovated kitchen, so I will just need to make do without an oven for a while.  I'm going to miss my home-made pizzas and baked treats, but the challenge is kind of fun!

So here is my oven-free menu plan for this week:

Monday: Sausage Ragu with Parmesan Mash
Tuesday: Chickpea Tagine with Figs
Wednesday: Pea and Saffron Risotto
Thursday: Tuna and Olive Pasta
Friday: Santa Fe Style Omelettes
Saturday: TBC - my husband's night to cook
Sunday: Haloumi with Lentil Salad

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Simple Sunday

What a difference a bit of sunshine makes!  After a bitterly cold and wet few months, we have finally been blessed with a delightfully sunny weekend.  Our awfully overgrown lawn has now been tamed, and an army of weeds have been given their marching orders.  Although it is really just the start of all the hard work that is needed in the garden, the difference is already obvious.  The kids spent the majority of the day playing together outside, too.

My supply of home-made laundry powder and moisturiser was low, so today I made a fresh batch of each.  While I was at it, I took the opportunity to try a recipe for a honey facial cleanser that I have been wanting to try for ages.  I can't wait to try it!

I just love Simple Sundays!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Month in Review

Gosh, I've just realised that it has been a whole month since my last post!  I guess you could say that I've suffering from general lack of mojo.  August was incredibly cold and wet (just the weather to dampen one's spirits) and my husband's new business is taking off, which is good...but...it leaves me feeling like a bit of a phoney because my life is far from simple.  Time to take back a bit of control and at least make an attempt to regain my simple living mojo!

Since my last post, we have celebrated daughter number one's 8th birthday.  She asked for a birthday cake that looked like our Kitty, so I whipped this up...thankfully it seemed to fit the bill!

Kitty birthday cake

Our local kindergarten also held their annual trivia night at the end of August.  We formed teams of about 10 people prior to the night.  Each team was assigned a different colour and we were asked to dress up and also decorate our table using our assigned colour.  There were prizes for best dressed person, and for the best dressed table.  My team was assigned the colour Orange.  I managed to find a nice piece of orange fabric at the opp shop that made a perfect tablecloth.  One of my team mates had a lovely contrasting table runner.  I made a centrepiece by placing a couple of branches in a vase.  I cut out some orange tissue paper leaves and glued them to the branches.  I also made orange some tissue paper pom-poms and placed a few in the branches.  To add to the orange-ness, I lined the vase with slices of orange.  On the table we also placed some orange coloured objects, including Christmas baubels and orange jack-o-lanterns that I made by hollowing out a thick-skinned orange, carving a face into it and placing a tealight inside (the orange scent was beautiful!).  We even colour coordinated with orange food!  The one thing, however, that got us over the line was a couple of vases containing goldfish!  It was a really fun night...even the goldfish had an enjoyable time ;-)

The Orange Table

Miss Eight has also been doing some creative things recently.  Her primary school held it's annual Show Day yesterday.  Show Day is a scaled down version of a country fair, and involves craft exhibits and a pet parade.  Miss Eight decided she wanted to enter the cake decorating and flower arranging sections, and here are her entries:

Alien cupcakes
The cupcakes were inspired by  Martha Stewart's Creepcake Cupcakes.

"Keep off Grass" flower arrangement
Special acknowledgement to Miss Five for this one for donating the wheat she sprouted at kindergarten :-)

There were so many delightful creations on display...but silly me forgot to take photos!  Thankfully Christine had it covered and has given a wonderful description of the day here.

To wrap up my overview of the last month, here is a picture from yesterday's pet parade.  Miss Eight took Pierre along.  It seemed like a good idea in theory, but the poor thing was one of two cats in a sea of dogs!  This picture says it all really...

Pierre and some canine friends

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Apologies for not posting for a while, I've had a big project at work that has required my attention.  Despite last week being on the stressful side, it ended up being quite a good week (excuse me while I put my "proud mum" hat on).  It was my turn to do parent duty at Miss Five's kindergarten last week so I took Mr and Miss Three with me.  I am hoping that the twins will be able to attend kindergarten next year, but as they will be on the younger side, I was starting to doubt their readiness. Miss Three in particular was so excited when I told her we were all going to kindy, she couldn't wait to choose which lunchbox to take with her!  Anyway, they both fitted right in and enthusiastically participated in the activities, so I don't think I have anything to worry about.  I was also really proud to see my shy Miss Five standing confidently in front of the class for Show and Tell.

Miss Five constructed this "Ballerina Robot" at kindy
My proudest Mummy moment happened at the end of the week.  The principal at Miss Seven's school retired on Friday, so they had a special day at school for the kids, which involved a hike, a sausage sizzle, and a farewell assembly.  On Thursday night, after I had put her to bed, Miss Seven came to me and asked for a piece of paper.  She said that she had decided that she would like to write a speech for the principal.  I gave her some paper, and she sat up in bed and wrote her speech.  The next day, she read her speech in front of the whole school.  So, so sweet!

So now onto this week's dinner menu...after revisiting my old menu plans over the last few weeks, I finally feel inspired this week to come up with something new. 

Monday: Rosemary arancini
Tuesday: Rice noodles with tofu and peanuts
Wednesday: Bean and coriander quesadillas
Thursday: Spicy lamb, tomato & chickpea broth
Friday: Soup or omelette (with whatever is left in the pantry/fridge)
Saturday: My husband's turn to cook
Sunday: Chermoula fish tagine

Have a great week everyone!