Friday, December 5, 2008

Flash Game Friday

I know I haven't blogged in a long time, ok, 3 weeks, but it feels like a lot longer. There's been issues with my computer, and issues with excessive housework, and not to mention Miss Three's birthday party. And now Summer Solstice is fast approaching, with all the associated xmas parties at various family homes. And with that comes cooking of course. I'll try to get our 4 ingredient Rocky Road up for KCT, since we've made it twice so far, and it's a huge hit with both the kids making it, and with me eating it! ;) We've also made mini xmas puddings, and they are too cute not to put up here, so I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get posting again.

Whether that happens regularly or not this year, once school starts again next year, and Master Four starts Prep, I should have time to blog again during the day. I'm going to try and get ahead of myself this year, so that a lazy day or a rush at night (or DP and I taking time out to watch a favourite tv show together) won't interfere with the bloggy goodness.

Anyway, end rant, and here is today's flash game. It's called Bubble Spinner and it's a variation on one of those match the coloured ball games. You know the type where you shoot a coloured ball next to a group of the same colour to clear them from the board. That's what this is... only the "board" spins on a central axis, making your strategy a lot more important.

My best score so far is 288, but I've only been playing a couple of hours. Today's leaderboard boasts a top score of 8,000 something though, so I'm not up there with the best. Though I may have mentioned before how much I suck at these things.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flash Game Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! (Desktop Tower Defence)

A throughly addictive game, I spent weeks on this game the first time I came across it. There are so many variations on the theme, space versions of this game, cuter versions, more violent versions, you name it, but this is the first one I ever played, and one I kept coming back to. If you need to practice your strategy, trying playing with unlimited money (in the fun mode section).

Desktop Tower Defence

Friday, November 7, 2008

Introducing Flash Game Friday: Lasagna from Heaven

Because Friday tends to be a lazy dinner night fairly regularly, and because it's friday, and you need to kick back, I'll be starting a new weekly theme post. You'll get this whether or not I post a "real" post on a Friday, so be prepared to waste entire weekends, and away we go...

This wasn't a highly addictive game, but I thought I'd start with this as it's semi-food related, and c'mon... it's Garfield! Just be careful not to eat Odie!

Lasagna from Heaven

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kids Cooking Thursday: Sausage Rolls

We did something a little different from ordinary sausage rolls today, which we are going to be serving up at Miss Two's third birthday party Saturday week. I know I've not been posting for a while, I've been getting snowed under a little, but things should calm down after the party at least.

Australian Sausage Rolls

Mine were in for a little too long

1.5kg sausage mince
500g kangaroo mince
2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tbsp Wild Pepper sauce (or other "bush tukka" type sauce - try Coles)
2 large onions
4 celery sticks
2 cooking apples
2 tbsp lemon myrtle (or any indigenous herbs, mountain pepper or dried bush tomato would go very nicely in this)
1.8kg pkt puff pastry sheets (10 sheet pkt)

Place onions, celery, sauce and apples in a food processor and mince very fine.
Place in a large bowl with the mince, add breadcrumbs & herbs and mix thoroughly.
Cut pastry sheets in half and roll out a bit thinner, place sausage mince on pastry.
Wet it one side and roll into a large sausage. Cut into required lengths and bake in 200c oven for 30min.

Also this week I'm sharing what the kids made last week, another dish for the birthday party, that I never got around to posting

Cheese Twists

Please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules, and remember, if you don't leave a comment, that's fine, but I have no way of knowing you've left a link otherwise!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Crafty Tuesday

Small boquet

Every Tuesday I try to do something crafty with the kids, even if it's just some drawing. Today we made some decorations for Miss Two's upcoming Pink and Blue themed birthday party. These are really easy to make, but look very effective.

Close up

Cut tissue paper into squares, and stack 8 - 10 on top of each other. Accordion fold all together, then secure with a pipe cleaner. You can just wrap one end of the cleaner around the centre of your paper, or you can do as we did, and fold the cleaner in half, twisting the two halves together under the paper. Then just gently seperate each layer of paper. There's no need to scrunch the paper, the scrunchiness forms automatically as part of the process.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My monthly reads - October

Dragon Harper - Anne McCaffrey & Todd McCaffrey
Wong's Lost & Found Emporium - William F. Wu
Hologirl - Robert F. Young
Paper Dragons - James P. Blaylock
Baily's Bones - Victor Kelleher
Thebes of the Hundred Gates - Robert Silverberg
The Makers - Victor Kelleher

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blogging By Mail...

Lots of goodies

My BBM parcel arrived today, and I was most excited to get it home open it up. I love getting suprise parcels - hell, I love getting any mail at all, (except of course those letters with windows in front!) so even when I am expecting something, and know what's inside, a package for me is a big excitement. My gifter was Lauren from I'll Eat You and she gave me a stack of neat things, as you can see in the above photo.

Bacon flavoured chocolate!

The first thing I saw when I opened the box was this bar of bacon flavoured chocolate. I'd heard about this ages ago somewhere in the blogosphere, and had wanted to try it, but the particular website I got linked to either didn't ship overseas, or was charging more than I could justify on chocolate to do so. I can't remember. What I do remember is wanting to try it, and getting laughed at by my housemate and weird looks from my partner. So I guess now I don't have to share! I've always loved sweet and salty, so I'm looking forward to cracking into this.

Also I got a really cute spatula, perfect for Kids Cooking Thursdays. I'm sure my two eldest will appreciate that you thought of them Lauren! And since Master Four will be starting school next year, the little Cupcake Caddy will be great in his lunchbox - it's a plastic cake box that exactly fits one cupcake, how cool is that?

Somehow Lauren picked up on the fact that I'm a sucker for American candy, and included a pack of Mike & Ike's, Peanut Chews and Mallo Cups. They are all made near the city she lives in, as are the Herrs potato chips. (And yes, we have Salt & Vinegar flavour here - it happens to be my favourite flavour! lol)

Ghiradelli chocolate and Blueberry-Lime jam

I've heard lots and lots of people says how good Ghiradelli chocolate is, and now that I've tasted some, I'm almost upset that Lauren sent it to me. Because I know it's not likely that I'll be buying it online often (if that's even possible) and I extremely doubt I could find it for sale over here. Which is a damn shame, because my oh my is this chocolate goooooood. It's 60% cocoa, but it doesn't have the bitter taste I've come to associated with very dark chocolate. It had a very deep strong chocolate flavour, without being bitter, and a very deep sweetness. It had almost a fruitiness to the chocolate flavour, and I really think I need to start spending more on chocolate, if this is what the good stuff tastes like. Maybe I could set up an exchange program, fancy chocolate for Tim Tams anyone?

The other item next to the chocolate is Blueberry-Lime jam which sounds like an awesome combination. I think I'll have to have some of that on lunch tomorrow.

The green box at the back of the top photo is really neat. It's a mint plant/seedling... sealed inside an eggshell! You crack the top off, and water it, and the plant grows. How cool is that?

And last, but not least, is some Olivier herbed salt. Lauren and her husband use this all the time apparently, and I know how that goes. Whenever you get a new herb or spice you try it in everything, and everything seems to go with it! And I'm definately with Stephanie... I never thought I'd be someone who get excited by salt, but now I know better. Vanilla beans too. I'm a sucker for fancy ingredients, even if you don't see me cook with them a lot. Unfortunately, I cater not to you, my audience, or even to my own tastes, but to DP who likes simple food, and to two preschoolers, who will eat the fancier stuff, but let's face it, with sun-dried tomatoes at $20 a kilo, it's not really something you let a 3yo snack on! Still it's nice to play grownup once in a while, and don't for a second think the kids are getting anywhere near my new chocolate stash! Perhaps I'll let them share the Mike & Ike's. Maybe.
Blogging By Mail is hosted every so often at Dispensing Happiness. I don't know how often, so maybe you should just follow the blog, it's a great read anyway!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday - Yummy Chicken

I was going to make Creamy Chicken and Noodles today, but I didn't have the soups or noodles, and I've been trying to cut back a little on the spending. But I had a tin of condensed Tomato soup, so I thought I'd wing it. (no pun intended!)
I put the soup and 1 cup of homemade chicken stock (see here) in the bottom of my slow cooker, and mixed them together. I placed 5 chicken thighs (500g) on top, and liberally sprinkled them with Lemon Myrtle. I turned the cooker onto LOW, and then went and fed my four month old his breakfast. When I came back about half an hour later, I chopped 6 medium potatoes into eighths, and a medium onion into small wedges. I threw these in the slow cooker and gave it a stir to coat. And sprinkled in more Lemon Myrtle. Then I let it sit for another 7 hours. About 5 or 10 minutes before serving, I threw in a few handfuls each of frozen corn, peas, and green beans. They cooked perfectly without having to defrost, and they didn't go mushy or grey. Master Four emptied his plate in ten minutes. I think this is one for the remake list!
Sandra over at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom hosts Slow Cooking Thursdays, so go have a look for more slow cooked deliciousness!

Kids Cooking Thursday: Strawberry jelly cake

Today we made another Strawberry Cake, this time a variation on the jelly and cake mix theme from Little Ivy Cakes, whom I was partnered with for this month's Taste & Create. I'll let you check out the recipe here on her site, so you can drool over all her other gorgeous cupcakes while you are there. I only made a few changes, I used a whole punnet of chopped strawberries, because I'd thawed the whole punnet, and I added an extra Tbsp of jelly crystals because I used extra virgin olive oil (the only oil in the house) and then the batter didn't smell like strawberries anymore. Everything was going fine until the very last ingredient, the water. I think, had I not added that, it would have been perfect.

Instead, after 25 mins, the cake looked cooked, but when I pulled the shelf out of the oven to check, it wobbled inside! The middle was still liquid, under a thin crust. So I cut the top bit off and mixed it through the centre, turned the oven up to 200°C (from 180°C) and put it back in for another ten minutes. I then did the same thing and put it back in for five minutes, and then another five. Curse my non-fan-forced oven! It didn't look pretty, but it was cooked.

Then, I tried to be clever with the icing, using a recipe I saw in delicious. magazine. But it was a lamington recipe, so the icing turned out to be more of a glaze. I chose that because it had strawberry jelly in it too. So the combination of the runny jelly icing, and the rough, 'openness' of the top of the cake, turned this into a sort of "Poke" cake I guess. Which would have been fine, except the middle was already kinda super moist. I chopped up five of the strawberry October Tim Tams (the pink ribbon ones - man I love those!) and scattered them across the top. It looked nicer than the crummy camera on my phone could cope with. The inside doesn't look so nice, but it tasted great.

Loved the chopped Strawberry Tim Tams on top!

And after all that, Miss Two has changed her mind and decided she wants a blueberry cake with pink icing for her birthday. I think I may scream.
Please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules, and remember, if you don't leave a comment, that's fine, but I have no way of knowing you've left a link otherwise!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Lemon Chicken with rice
Tuesday Vegetarian Fettucine
Wednesday Freezer Suprise (or Pizza)
Thursday Creamy Chicken & Noodles (slow cooker)
Friday Potato & Tomato Bake
Saturday Sausage Rolls
Sunday Sandwiches

Sunday is a birthday party afternoon tea, and it's an hour drive away, so I don't think anyone will want much more than a light dinner.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and don't forget to come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Chicken Parmagianas with pasta
Tuesday Freezer Suprise
Wednesday Chicken and Leek Lasagna
Thursday Sweet & Sour Pork(slow cooker)
Friday Calzones
Saturday Cauliflower Soup
Sunday Big lunch at ILs so sandwiches for tea

Starting tomorrow, I'll be making an effort to blog more regularly again. I may blog tonight, but it's just Parmagianas and pasta, and that's something I've done so many times before. DP was telling me he'd like Parmas at least once a fortnight, and since it's reheatable, just because he's not home for dinner time anymore, I don't why I can't still oblige. So be prepared for Chicken Parmas to show up in some form or another every second week.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and don't forget to come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kids Cooking Thursday: The "sick" edition

Things have been a little manic around here this week. DP starts his new job today, and all three kids were sick for the last two days. Those of you who have been reading for a while know that Master Four almost always ends up in hospital every time he gets so much as a cold (damn asthma!) so I'm very proud he managed to avoid that this time. We're not completely out of the woods yet, so no cooking today, but I thought I'd leave the Mr Linky up for anyone who is cooking today, or has lovely school holiday cooking posts to link up.

Here is the recipe for what we were going to cook anyway, Coconut Ice. We might get to this another day. Truth be told, if I'd had a chance to go out and buy marshmallows, I reckon we probably could have made this this afternoon anyway.

Please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules, and remember, if you don't leave a comment, that's fine, but I have no way of knowing you've left a link otherwise!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Leftovers
Tuesday Steak + Salad Rolls (homemade rolls)
Wednesday Empanadas
Thursday Easy Chicken and Potatoes (slow cooker)
Friday Potato & Tomato Bake
Saturday Croquettes
Sunday Picnic on the waterfront

Bit of a slack week this week, but I'm making some changes with how I organise my home and schedule, so I want to have dinners fairly easy until I get into the swing of the new schedule. More to come on that soon, but in the meantime, if you haven't read the simple mom blog then you really should take a look. She doesn't make it all sound so easy, but she makes it sound so do-able. Do-able I like. Because if someone makes it all sound too easy, then I feel worse when I can't do it. I love her no frills approach to things, so much so that it's the only non-cooking blog I follow on a weekly basis.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and don't forget to come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday - Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

This evening's recipe came from and it was great. The simplest recipe, yet it tasted 'just like a bought one'. My only problem was that I sliced the potatoes too thickly, so some of them didn't cook. But it's ok, because I served this with broccoli and garlic bread, so there was plenty to eat, and I'm sure I can think of something to do with semi-cooked potatoes in awesomely cheesy, creamy sauce. Or you can. Can't you?

Sandra over at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom hosts Slow Cooking Thursdays, so go have a look for more slow cooked deliciousness!

Kids Cooking Thursday: Strawberry cupcakes

Sadly just a box mix today, as I wanted to try out the Strawberry Baby Cakes box mix to see if it would suit for Miss Two's third birthday cake. Some of you may remember that she asked for a "blue" party, and a "Strawberry cake with blue icing". Well, the party has now been upgraded to Pink and Blue, because her favourite colour is now pink lol. But the cake request remains the same. I'm a bit iffy on these. They tasted liked strawberry bubblegum when raw, and only slightly better cooked. I did like the tiny cupcake option, since most kids don't eat much (if any cake) after licking off the icing, but I'd need more than the 18 that this box yields. If anyone has a great strawberry cake recipe they'd like to share, we'd be happy to try it! (PLEASE!) I'd prefer a strawberry flavour in the mix itself, but more than likely will add in extra fruit pieces to that as well.

Please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules, and remember, if you don't leave a comment, that's fine, but I have no way of knowing you've left a link otherwise!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


DP cooked tonight, so I got the night off. Here is the recipe he used, it's from San Remo Apparently it's the wrong recipe, but all he told me was "It's the one on the back of the box". How was I supposed to know he wanted the spinach and ricotta recipe but to switch the spinach and ricotta for mince? That doesn't exactly make it easy for me to make the shopping list up. But then, I wasn't a huge fan of the old recipe either. Must find a new meat and tomato based cannelloni recipe. Anyone got any ideas?

You got a recipe tonight, so it wasn't really a lazy dinner night post, but I'm feeling lazy, so you can have a link anyway.

Cake Wrecks - it's funny because they're true!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pernese Bubbly Pies

Those over run juices? Best bit!

This recipe is taken from the "Dragonlover's Guide to Pern", written by Jody Lynn Nye with Anne McCaffrey. For a verbatim recipe try The Sninge's Lair. I'm going to paraphrase, and add the few tiny, little changes I made. And fill you in on the lazy bones way I did it all. (Warning: Epic length, sugar fuelled post!)

1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice water

Cut the butter into chunks. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Work the butter gently into the dry mixture with a fork until pieces the size of peas form. Sprinkle the water over and work it in. (Do not overwork the dough.) Form the dough into a ball.
You can make the dough in a food processor right up to the water step. Then you really are better off going by hand, or at least be more paranoid and stop more often than me, because I did the whole thing in the food processor, and somewhere between dough coming together and just right, I waited too long, and ended up with tough dough. This pastry was nothing special though, so I'm sure you could use a combination of shortcrust or puff pastries or even just your preferred sweet pie pastry.

5 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp citrus juice (I used an Orange, Mango & Pineapple Nudie, because that's what I had)
1-2 tbsp butter or margarine (I forgot this)
Gently toss berries with sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Sprinkle citrus juice over mixture. Spoon berries into crust and dot with butter. Or take your frozen berries in their neat little resealable bag, tip the sugar, spice and juice in, and shake it all through. (Close the bag first!) If you are making the big pies as listed via the link, then I would use the butter. If making the little ones though, I'd skip it, because I didn't notice the loss, and it might interfere with setting of the awesome leakage toffee. ***Edit to note*** Somehow I got my sugar wrong, and added 2 1/2 cups instead of one. I've fixed that here, but just be aware that if you use the original recipe, you probably won't get the toffee awesome-ness I've described

For Twelve Gather-Pies
1 crust recipe
1/2 filling recipe

Divide dough evenly into 24 parts. I did that by making a large flat disc, dividing into 8, then rolling each triangle into a log, and cutting that into 3. Then I rolled each log piece into a ball. Put a piece of baking paper on a flat tray, cookie sheet, whatever. This is really important. Do NOT skip the paper. I added this in because I always bake everything on paper, because I'm lazy and don't like scrubbing trays. And it's a good thing too. Because these suckers are going to boil over, leaky sticky juices everywhere. And you are going to want to catch all that, and not only are you not going to want to clean it up, you are going to want to eat it. Every tooth achingly sweet tiny crumb. Berry toffee. How can you go wrong? And best of all, it comes 'free' with your pies!
Anyway, I was saying, paper your tray, then flatten 12 of your pastry balls and place them on the tray. Top each with about 1 tbsp of berry mix. Flatten the other 12, and cover the berries, picking up each pastry and making sure the edges are folded over and squooshed nice to fit. You can glaze these with 1/4 cup of water and 1 1/2 tbsp sugar if you like. I didn't, but in future I might use a bit of an egg wash. I got a lovely golden colour, but if they had golden'ed up a little earlier, my pastry may have behaved nicer. Stab the top of your pie 3 or 4 times, or you can more politely cut 3 or 4 small slits in the tops of your pies. Either way works, providing you don't stab through the bottom piece of pastry. Not that I did that. I'm just saying.
Bake at 200°C for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden. Then walk the fine line between "serve hot" and "don't burn yourself on that molten toffee, ah shards these things are hot, oh the pain, the agony" because if you have to go to the emergancy room, your pies will be cold by the time you get home, and while that means you can get straight into that wonderful, wonderful toffee/leaked sugary goodness/mess on the tray, the pies are nicer while hot. At least small-children-bath-water-hot at any rate. Again, not that this happened to us, not with the speed my kids eat we were lucky to have them warmer than tepid, but I'd hate for it to happen to you. After all, sugar at high temps makes toffee, and that's one of the worst kitchen burns to get, right up there with oil or bacon fat (darn bacon, how can you be so good, yet so evil?).

Sorry, I think I got a little off track today. Must be all the sugar. Or not. They haven't really proved that have they? Somewhere I read today (no I can't remember where) that children in sugar-filled situations like birthday parties tend to get hyped no matter what they eat. Well, to you scientists, I say, what about a 19 year old who downs 32 of those little prepackaged teaspoon serves of sugar that you get in cafes, in one hour, and then is buzzing all night like a bad speed rush hmm? Except that I never took speed, but my friends and I regularly used to down "sugar shots" as we called them, to the point that the cafe we used to hang out at had to stop putting sugar on the tables, and only have them at the counter next to the registar.

Oh, right, the pies. Sorry.

Master Four ate two, as well as half a Turkish Delight that his father bought for him to have (as) with his dessert, and a third of my Double Dipped Cherry Ripe. (Nice concept, but I have to say, if they stuck with the regular 45% choc instead of switching up to the 70% I'd have liked it better. I don't like my dark choc super strong) Miss Two ate the other half of Turkish Deligh, a 1/3 of the Cherry Ripe, and the filling from one pie. She then ate a little of the pastry, and procedded to poke dints in the rest of it with her fingers until bedtime.

I had three. Plus all the toffee I could flake off the paper without tearing up the leftover pies.

This was going to be an entry for Novel Food #5, but in a moment of absentmindedness, I rearranged my menu plan calendar and put these in a week past the deadline! But go check out the round ups anyway, over at Champaign Taste and briciole.

Pesto Cheese Pocket Chicken

Ooooh, fancy!

This recipe was modified from the one in September's recipes+. It called for sliced mozzarella, and mustard, not pesto. Oh, and middle rasher bacon, not fancy, incredibly tasty, smoked prosciutto.

Pesto Cheese Pocket Chicken
100g pesto
150g grated mozzarella
100g ricotta
8 slices prosciutto
4 small chicken breasts
snow peas

Mix the cheeses and pesto together. Slice a deep slit into the thick part of each chicken breast, and stuff with cheese. Wrap until fairly well covered, with prosciutto, securing with toothpicks if need be. The recipe called the chicken to be browned on the stovetop, but I put it straight into the oven because I was making pies for dessert. 30 minutes at 200°C and it was good.

Master Four informs me that he doesn't like pesto, but I think if I don't let him see me put it in dinner, he wouldn't mind. He likes basil, just not the green colour of the ricotta mix. We'll see tomorrow, because the Gnocchi bake calls for pesto too.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Pesto Cheese Pocket Chicken, with rice & snow peas
Tuesday Cheesy Gnocchi Bake
Wednesday Cannelloni with Garlic Bread
Thursday Ham & Scalloped Potatoes (slow cooker) with Broccoli
Friday Chicken Parmagiana, with peas and chips
Saturday Bulk Meatballs and pasta
Sunday Sandwiches

I've had these bulk meatballs on my menu plan for forever now, it feels like, and I'm determined to get them done this time! Sunday is lunch @ the ILs house, and it's MIL's birthday, so no one will want much more than a sandwich (or half) for dinner.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vanilla Vodka Strawberries.

After one day, the vodka was already turning red

Take two punnets of strawberries, washed and hulled. Add to an air tight container with a split vanilla bean. Cover with vodka. Let sit for three months. I'm not sure if this needs to be refrigerated or not, but I'm not taking the chance - mine is living in the back of my fridge.

I meant to take a photo when I made this yesterday, but forgot. Ah well, I tohught, it's going to be there for a while. But already today the vodka is going red. It's quite cool actually.

Around xmas time I plan on removing the vanilla bean and blenderising the rest. To be served with either chocolate ice cream (perhaps in the blender to make a smoothie?) or Baileys or Creme De Cacao... I'm going to call it a Neopolitan. Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate, get it?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday - Roast Beef with Pumpkin

There really wasn't much to this. I fried the (seasoned) roast to seal it, placed 4 big chunks of pumpkin in the slow cooker, and rested the meat on top. Then I deglazed my frypan with 1 cup of water that had been mixed with a packet of french onion soup, and tipped the resulting gravy over the roast. I cooked that on low for 8 hours. The pumpkin didn't go mushy, but the parts that were under water (juices) was so good, I ate the piece the kids left behind. The pumpkin was awesome I wawnt to make this again, just for the pumpkin. I lurve french onion flavouring. Just not in soup.

Sandra over at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom hosts Slow Cooking Thursdays, so go have a look for more slow cooked deliciousness!

Kids Cooking Thursday: Vanilla Bean Melting Moments

Just like bought ones!

A simple recipe for DP's favourite biscuit Melting Moments, was spotted in an ad for the vanilla brand, in a magazine. I don't particularly like Melting Moments myself, but I do like vanilla, and I love DP. And the recipe seemed easy enough to use for KCT.

These turned out just like bought ones: crumbly, kinda floury, not enough icing to biscuit ratio (despite my best attempts to fix that), and had that dry fresh-bread-and-peanut-butter kind of texture that glues your mouth shut. For a whole 45 seconds (which is longer than it sounds, really). So of course, DP loved them. The kids ate the first one, asked for seconds, ate the icing, then left a big crumbly mess. But I got lots of brownie points.

I think I'd rather have had brownies.

Miss Two forgetting biscuits go in your mouth, not around it

Master Four making a mess

Master Four's mess

Please spread the word, and remember, if you don't leave a comment, that's fine, but I have no way of knowing when you've left a link otherwise!

This is an entry for Eat to the Beat over at Elly Says Opa. I wanted very much to be a part of the first round of this, but couldn't think of anything. This time around, all I could come up with was 'Cookie Day' by Shonen Knife. I tried for some, better, more clever ideas, but that kept getting in the way. So I figured I'd better use it, so I have it out of the way for the next round ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Five Cheese Jaffles

We love string-y cheese (mozzarella)

I had leftover cheese, and couldn't be bothered cooking. Jaffles were made with a mixture of mozzarella, tasty, parmesan, jarlsberg and cream cheese spread on one slice. Mmmmm Cheeeeeeese.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuscan Pasta Bake

Sorry, not in a very bloggy type mood. The recipe for this vegetarian pasta bake came from The GI diet website, so it's low GI as well. Tasty, but DP informed me he didn't like beans, (as he left all his beans in his bowl - not before dinner when I could have something about it) so we won't be having this again, regardless of it's tastiness and healthiness.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Crispy Chicken Bake

I made this in the morning, and left it for DP to put in the oven, while I went to a funeral. It's from the retro AWW menu planner book I have.

1 bbq chicken
3 sticks celery, sliced
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup cream
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup grated tasty cheese
50g potato chips, lightly crushed

Remove chicken meat from bones, chop meat roughly. Combine chicken, celery, almonds, mayonnaise, cream, onion and lemon juice in a bowl, pour into shallow ovenproof dish. Combine cheese and potato chips, sprinkle over top. Bake in moderate oven 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

I didn't get to taste this myself, but DP left a sticky note on the recipe for me: "minus almonds, cook without lid or for 30 -> 35 mins" After 35 minutes it still wasn't throughly cooked apparently, but that's because our oven doesn't cook well on the bottom shelf. I only used the lid to store it in the fridge - I would bake this uncovered myself.

Goodbye Mate...

It's an old, old photo, but it's how I'll always remember him. Goodbye Jas, we loved you mate.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Chicken Crispy Bake
Tuesday Tuscan Pasta Bake (LOW GI)
Wednesday Southern Fried Chicken
Thursday Roast Beef (slow cooker)
Friday Pea Soup w/ homemade rolls, Pernese Bubbly Pies
Saturday ?
Sunday ?

This week Laura gave us homework :(. No, nothing terrible, in fact I look forward to going around the blogverse checking out this one: recipes or links to our family's favourite recipes. I had a hard time picking out these, since it's hard to get feedback out of small children (or DP) but I think these are winners. I've given links to the respective blog post, not the original recipe link (when applicable) so you can read what our thoughts and reactions were. (always important when dealing with young children!)
Chicken & Vegetable Pies, a favourite both fresh and from the freezer
Cauliflower Soup, a recipe lovingly stolen off my mother... via my sister. (multigenerational favourite!)
Mallee Quiche Another recipe from Mum's folder
Calzones Outside-In Pizzas!
Triple Choc Brownies The perfect brownie recipe.
Croquettes Yet another Mum recipe. I think there is something to that. But then, any recipes that can stand up to fifty years of marriage, seven kids, numerous parties and fourteen (soon to be fifteen!) grandchildren are bound to be pretty universal favourites.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and everyone else's Family Favourites.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Look! Fancy folded edge and everything!

Tonight I made Empanadas. I've been wanting to make these for absolutely ages, but they kept getting put off as things cropped up. I was a little intimidated by the amount of work involved. Then I found this recipe for Beef and Sultana Empanadas over at Taste.Com.Au. The filling is simple, and it uses frozen shortcrust pastry. I followed the instructions, but somehow ended up with 24 instead of 18. So I have 14 in the freezer for an easy meal some other time. Everyone seemed to like them. Miss Two only ate one and a half, but that may have been because Master Four left the table, and she wanted to go play too. She certainly didn't seem hungry afterwards, and she said she liked them. Master Four ate three. My cold ones tasted good, but I didn't get back to the table in time for hot ones. I'll be making these again. And I don't just mean cooking the frozen ones either, I mean more batches. I liked these.

Don't forget the competition running over at The Martha Blog, there's some tips for newbie bloggers there too!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday - Tasty Chicken

Tasty Chicken
4 Chicken thighs
1 can of tomatoes
3 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
small can of tiny taters
1 carrot, sliced
capsicum, chopped
Mushrooms, chopped

Throw it all in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. You might want to thicken it up with some more tomato paste right before serving. Despite many protests from Master Four that he didn't like it, and he needed to "go to a doctor because [he] ate a lot of things" when I came back to the table after Feeding Master Three-Month-Old, all that was left were the potatoes. Which is fair enough, because they didn't taste like normal potatoes. I liked them though. So I ate his as well.

Sorry, no photo, these r/l issues are making me scatterbrained.

Finally linked this up to Slow Cooking Thursday over at Diary of a SAHM

Kids Cooking Thursday: Chocolate Spaceships

I'm getting very behind in my posting, and I do promise to fix that, but I'm having enough trouble getting myself to cook, let alone blog about it at the moment. The same R/L issues are what inspired today's KCT dish - that, and Master Four asked to make them last week. I promise this is going to be the last "assembly" cooking the kids do for a long time.

I made one to show them how

It's not very hard. Take a mini swiss roll, and put a small slit in three sides, starting from one end. Into this slit, place an After Dinner Mint that you have sliced in half diagonally. Roll a Roll-up or other fruit leather type thing into a cone, and place on the end. So easy, even a two, but almost three, year old can do it.

Miss Two's handiwork

Master Four eating the demonstration one, with "his" one in front of him

Please feel free to use the banner or sidebar images to spread the word!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spinach and Pumpkin Lasagna

It's been a while since I took part in a Cooks Club Challenge. This is the recipe taken straight from the forum over at Taste.Com.Au

Spinach and Pumpkin Lasagna
baby spinach
½ pumpkin, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups tasty cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt & pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tub philly cream cheese
Lasagna sheets

Melt butter in saucepan, add flour, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Stir until smooth. Add milk and stir over medium heat until sauce thickens. Add cream cheese, garlic and 1 cup of tasty cheese. Stir until melted. Place a layer of pumpkin slices in base of a roasting dish. Add a layer of silverbeet and a layer of onions. Spoon 1/3 of sauce over veges. Sprinkle with a little parmesan. Top with lasagna sheets. Repeat until all ingredients are used up, ending with cheese sauce. Mix remaining cheeses together and sprinkle evenly over lasagna. Bake at 200C for 40 minutes or until browned on top

This is one of my all time favourites - so handy to have in the freezer - just pull out and heat and serve - yum. You can also add bacon to the layers for a carnivore who just won't eat it without some meat.

The white sauce took ages to thicken, so the kids ended up having sandwiches, and DP and I ate this after the kids were in bed. There was heaps left, enough for everyone to have some tomorrow for lunch. I loved the pumpkin in it, but not too fond of the spinach in it. I used to love baby spinach, but I'm starting to go off it now - tastes too metallic-y to me. I ate it a lot and never minded the taste when I was pregnant, I guess my body just needed the iron so it tasted good then. I might experiment with other vegies instead of the spinach, maybe zucchini would go nicely.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Spinach & Pumpkin Lasagna
Tuesday Roast Tomato & Beef Fettucine
Wednesday BLT Risotto
Thursday Tasty Chicken (slow cooker)
Friday Cauliflower Soup w/ homemade rolls, Meatball Pasta
Saturday Turkish Roll Steak Sandwiches
Sunday Chicken Crispy Bake

The meatballs I'm making for the pasta on Friday will be part of a bulk batch - I expect to get about 90, so I'll be stocking up the freezer too!

Posting may be a bit sporadic, as r/l is a bit ick atm, but if I don't post on the day, I'll try and get it up within a few days.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cheesecake Truffles

When I heard that Stephanie over at Dispensing Happiness was having a birthday theme for this month's blog party, I knew I had the perfect thing lined up to cook for her. It was simple, and delicious, and if my kids were scared of the noise the food processor makes, they could have pretty much made these themselves. Stephanie loves cheesecake, and this is the perfect bitesized version.

Take one block of cream cheese (250g). Use it at room temperature, unless it is 24°C in your kitchen, then you might need it a little colder. Put it in your food processor (or someone else's, I'm not fussy) with 2-3 packs of Oreos. I used cheap imitation oreos. It still tasted great. Whizz up until you get a smooth mixture. Roll into little balls, and chill. Or it your kitchen is enjoying the start of beautiful warm spring weather, chill, then roll into balls, then chill again.

Melt some chocolate and coat the balls with it. I didn't have enough chocolate, so I mixed in some Freckles (chocolate discs with hundreds and thousands on the top) that I had leftover from making the teacups the other day. Then I ran out of that mix, so I bought another bag of Freckles. That's why some are bumpier than others. I brought these, with the teacups, to my niece's 13th birthday party, so they are doubly birthday-ified.

Go check out the round up!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday from the freezer.

Tonight we had Pea Soup, bread rolls, and croquettes - all from the freezer. Then we put the kids to bed and watched more MacGyver. DP got the 6th season for Father's Day.

MacGyver rocks. Are you as clever as MacGyver?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kids Cooking Thursday: Cups and Saucers

Welcome all to the first interactive Kids Cooking Thursday! Hopefully by posting your links here, we'll all have more recipes to encourage our little junior chefs with.

Today we cooked two things. The first was cupcakes using our Fruit Salad Bread recipe. We were all out of cupcakes in the freezer, for afternoon teas, and I liked having these on hand for me to grab as breakfast on the run while feeding Master Three-Month-Old.

Mmm, fruity!

But I couldn't just throw up a link to an old recipe, not on our first interactive week. So we made these:

Tea cups!

I saw these over at Planning With Kids and have since seen them in a few places.

Normally, this isn't the sort of cooking I do with the kids (Pretzel Butterflies aside), as I prefer to be teaching them how to cook, and not just assemble things. But these were so cute, and we are going to a birthday party on Sunday, for afternoon tea, so I thought we could bring these along. (And we did do some actual cooking today, so I thought we could get away with it ;) )

Now here comes the fun part... Please leave your name (with what you cooked) in Mr Linky, and let's get those little chefs cooking!

Slow Cooking Thursday - Beef Olives

When I was growing up, we always got to choose what Mum cooked for dinner on our birthday. I always choose Beef Olives, with the special deep fried mashed potatoes Mum made. She'd use a piping bag to make little spirals, then dunk them in the deep fryer - not healthy, but terribly tasty!

It's not my birthday today, but it is Slow Cooking Thursday over at Diary of a SAHM, and I thought since Steak and Onions cooked so well in the slow cooker, perhaps I should give beef olives a go. I made the rolls up last night, and put them in the fridge, so all I had to do this morning was brown them, and place in the slow cooker.

Last night

Beef Olives
Thin steak (I used round steak)
bacon pieces
sweet/sour cucumber
salt & pepper

Cut onion, bacon pieces and cucumber very very fine. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the beef, then put the onions, bacon and cucumber onto the beef slices. Roll them up and secure them with toothpicks. Lightly brown them in a frypan with a little oil or butter. Fry any left over stuffing bits you have too, it'll be nice in the gravy. Place in the slow cooker, along with the fried stuffing bits, and add a little water.

Ready for a loooong simmer

Cook until well cooked, about 6-8 hours on LOW. This might be different for you. Everything I cook in my slow cooker cooks from about 11am till 6pm on LOW, it seems to work for me. You can thicken the juices with a bit of gravy powder. You could try that in the slow cooker, by taking out the meat rolls, and turning up to HIGH, stirring constantly, or you could just tip the juices and bits into a saucepan. That's what I do, as I can never get any sauces to thicken in my slow cooker, but then, perhaps I just don't give it enough time.