Monthly Archives: August 2012

Thermomix Demo – Beetroot Salad

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I had a Thermomix demonstration at my place today. If you know nothing about this wizz-bang kitchen appliance, take a look at your own risk.  Without fail you will think it is amazing.  You will want one.  No, you will need one….And then you will see the ticket price.   They are very expensive.

But I digress from the point of this post.  The demonstrator made the best beetroot salad.  Whether I buy a Thermi or not, this recipe is going to be made again! You can make it too, with either a food processor or with a grater. I found the basic recipe for this on Quirky Cooking.  I have altered a few of the ingredients to mirror what the demonstrator used, and to suit those that are easy to find here.

BEETROOT SALAD

Ingredients 

400g raw beetroot (peeled & quartered)
100g carrot, quartered
 1/4 small red onion
1 green apple, quartered & deseeded
1 handful of fresh coriander/Italian parsley leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp sugar
pinch salt
1/2 clove garlic

Method

Place roughly cut vegetables (including apple,  garlic and herbs) in Thermomix/food processor and chop on medium speed (sp. 5) until evenly chopped (2-3 seconds in Thermomix). Add oil, sugar and salt.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and chop again for a couple of seconds until you reach the desired consistency. Squeeze lemon over before serving.

You can see from the pic that this one is quite finely grated/chopped but you could leave it chunkier.  It would be great as a dip, in which case you could process it all a little longer. 

I am so glad there were left overs of this today.  I am going to enjoy having it with dinner tonight.

 

Lightening up my Entrance

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Today I thought I would share with you the little shake up of my entrance I completed this morning.

The entrance of my house can look quite dark despite a large glass door.  The reason stems from the fact our bedrooms sit off this main hallway.  As Master C is now mobile I need to keep the doors closed, reducing the light to the  hall.

I decided that a little shifting of wall hangings in this area would help until we can again keep our doors open.  Take a look at what was here before. 

As you enter the house I had a canvas print hung.

Then on the other side of the double doors to the study sits our hall table and some more canvas prints.

I had quite fancied putting a canvas print gallery in our living room, so I removed the prints I had hung here for that project.

I scored a large square Ribba frame in the clearance section of Ikea some time ago.  It has a great aluminum finish.  I hung this at the front door and unsure of what I wanted to put in it, I have settled for the moment on some left over scrapbooking paper from my command centre project.

I purchased a large round bevelled mirror to sit above the hall table to help reflect the light in the area. It has also given me a spot to check my hair and make-up before I step out the door.

 

Overall I think removing the canvas prints has made the area less busy and the mirror and aluminum finish frame has helped lighten the area.

Caramel Macadamia Biscuits

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I was doing a quick grocery shop today and I came across Nestle’s new Caramel Bits. With 1/2 off their price, I had to buy a pack and sample them.

 

After a nibble – or two, I decided they would be a great substitute for white chocolate chips in a biscuit/cookie recipe.

After a bit of a search on taste.com.au, I found this chocolate and macadamia biscuit/cookie  recipe. 

Makes

36

Ingredients

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups  Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 180g caramel bits

* These measurements are from an Australia website and are slightly different to American guidelines

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder over butter mixture. Add nuts and caramel chip. Stir with a large metal spoon until well combined.
  4. Drop heaped tablespoonfuls of mixture onto baking trays. Bake, 1 tray at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden and firm to the touch (not crisp). Repeat with remaining trays. Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

I suggest that this recipe is best left unaltered.  I thought I was channeling Nigella,  playing around with a few of the quantities and my biscuits turned out crumbly and a little dry.  That is not to say they weren’t yum.  Next time I will keep the caramel bits but follow the recipe to the letter. 

Now the kids are up from a nap, we are off to the park.  Master O is going to love being surprised with one of these for an afternoon tea picnic.

Living Centrepiece

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I love succulents.  I have wanted to create a vertical garden  for these for some time now.  I envisioned something like this…..

You can find the tutorial for these at  Sunset Magazine.

Or something like this one Luna-See made.

The only thing is, growing your own succulents for this project is slow and buying them ready to go is quite expensive.  Focused on the long-term goal, I have started to slowly gather succulents for my living art .  Until I have enough, I wanted to feature my collection in some nice way.

After a little brainstorming, I settled on creating a centrepiece for our outdoor setting.  After picking up a cheap rectangular storage box from a dollar store, I punched holes in the bottom and gave it a spray paint.

Throwing in a little cactus potting mix and a little manipulation of the succulents, I had potted up my living centrepiece.

The leftover succulents I placed in a bright green pot to put in the alcove.  You can read about the process of transforming this space here.

Now I can enjoy these lovely plants while I gather a few more of their friends to complete the vertical garden.

Linking up with some of these fun parties
Monday: Singing Three Little Birdies, I should be Mopping the Floor, Polly Want a Crafter?, Cherished Bliss, The Gunny Sack, Skip to my Lou, Craftomaniac, It’s so Very Cheri, Keeping it Simple, Creating Really Awesome Free Things, Alderberry Hill, Its A Blog Party, A Pinch of Joy, Making the World Cuter, Mad in CraftsSew Can Do, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings,  How to Nest for Less, Watch Out Martha, Clairjustinexoxo,

Tuesday: Coastal Charm, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons , DIY by Design, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Home Stories A to Z, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Organising HomelifeCarolyn’s Homework, The Blackberry Vine, The Kurtz Corner,  A Little Tipsy, Gingersnap crafts, Time Warp Wife, These Creative Juices, The Thrifty Home, Its a Very Cherry World,  Cornerstone Confessions,   Rae Gun Ramblings, Northern Cottage, Clean and Scentsible, Creatively Living , Kathe with an E, Ivy and Elephants, Romance on a Dime,   The Real Housewives of Riverton, DIY DreamerPrimp, JAQS Studio

Wednesday: Oopsey Daisy, My Girlish Whims, Uncommonly Yours, Creations by Kara, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, Twin Dragonfly Designs, A Creative Princess, Sugar and Dots, Seven Thirty Three, Fabric Bows and More, Someday Crafts, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Trendy Treehouse, Women Living Well, We are that Family, The Mommy Club , Raising Homemakers, Sew Much Ado,  Fireflies and Jellybeans, Beyond the Picket Fence, Free Pretty Things for You, DIY by Design, Bloom Designs, Mom on Timeout, We Like to learn as we GoFamily Home and Life, Savvy Southern Style, Fine Craft Guild, Embracing Change, HandyMan, Crafty Woman, Polkadots on Parade, No Minimalist Here

Thursday: House of Hepworths Delightful Order, Its a KeeperThe Frugal Girls, The 36th AvenueThrifty 101, A Glimpse Inside, Brambleberry Cottage, Bear Rabbit Bear, Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas, Shabby Creek Cottage, Goings on in Texas, Happy Go LuckyRaising OrangesThe Answer is Chocolate, The Taylor House, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Imparting Grace, Made in a Day, 52 Mantels, Loving This Crazy Life, Days of Chalk and Chocolate, Confessions of an ADD Housewife

Friday: The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, At the Picket Fence, Whipperberry, French Country Cottage, Thirty Handmade Days, Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Stuff and Nonsense, Fingerprints on the Fridge Naptime Crafters, While He Was Napping, My Romantic Home, Bacon Time With the Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, Remodelaholic, Happy Hour Projects, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Tidy MomYoung and Crafty, Serenity Now , Life as Mom, At the Picket Fence, Tatertots and Jello, Craft Junkie Too, A Little Knick Knack, Blissful and Domestic, Maiden D’Shade, Petites Passions, Bubbly Nature Creations, Here Comes the Sun, Liz Marie Blog, THe Grant Life, Craftionary, Redoux Interior, Common Ground, Just Us Four, Delicate Construction, AKA Designs, Family Ever After,

Saturday:  Be Different Act Normal, The Girl Creative , Funky Junk Interiors , A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid , Its Overflowing, Natasha in Oz, Shaken Together, Homemaker in Heels, Addicted to Decorating

Sunday: A Rosie Sweet Home, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table Dreaming, DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrift Things, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Homemaker on a Dime, DIY Home Sweet HomeCherished Treasures, My 1929 Charmer

Hanging Herb Garden – Finished!

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This weekend just gone we finally finished our hanging herb garden by adding a few more pots and herbs. You can read about our decision to put in this garden and a woodfired pizza oven here and here.

Take a look at our finished creation.

 Lots of space left to add more if we get our green thumbs in order.

At the moment we have an assortment of potted colour, cherry tomatoes and the following herbs:

  • Italian Parsley
  • Curly Parsley
  • coriander
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Chives

My salads have already benefitted from the addition of  my newly growing herbs.  Yum!
Linking up with some of these fun parties
Monday: Singing Three Little Birdies, I should be Mopping the Floor, Polly Want a Crafter?, Cherished Bliss, The Gunny Sack, Skip to my Lou, Craftomaniac, It’s so Very Cheri, Keeping it Simple, Creating Really Awesome Free Things, Alderberry Hill, Its A Blog Party, A Pinch of Joy, Making the World Cuter, Mad in CraftsSew Can Do, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings,  How to Nest for Less, Watch Out Martha, Clairjustinexoxo,

Tuesday: Coastal Charm, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons , DIY by Design, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Home Stories A to Z, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Organising HomelifeCarolyn’s Homework, The Blackberry Vine, The Kurtz Corner,  A Little Tipsy, Gingersnap crafts, Time Warp Wife, These Creative Juices, The Thrifty Home, Its a Very Cherry World,  Cornerstone Confessions,   Rae Gun Ramblings, Northern Cottage, Clean and Scentsible, Creatively Living , Kathe with an E, Ivy and Elephants, Romance on a Dime,   The Real Housewives of Riverton, DIY DreamerPrimp, JAQS Studio

Wednesday: Oopsey Daisy, My Girlish Whims, Uncommonly Yours, Creations by Kara, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, Twin Dragonfly Designs, A Creative Princess, Sugar and Dots, Seven Thirty Three, Fabric Bows and More, Someday Crafts, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Trendy Treehouse, Women Living Well, We are that Family, The Mommy Club , Raising Homemakers, Sew Much Ado,t SimpleFireflies and Jellybeans, Beyond the Picket Fence, Free Pretty Things for You, DIY by Design, Bloom Designs, Mom on Timeout, We Like to learn as we GoFamily Home and Life, Savvy Southern Style, Fine Craft Guild, Embracing Change, HandyMan, Crafty Woman, Polkadots on Parade, No Minimalist Here

Thursday: House of Hepworths Delightful Order, Its a KeeperThe Frugal Girls, The 36th AvenueThrifty 101, A Glimpse Inside, Brambleberry Cottage, Bear Rabbit Bear, Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas, Shabby Creek Cottage, Goings on in Texas, Happy Go LuckyRaising OrangesThe Answer is Chocolate, The Taylor House, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Imparting Grace, Made in a Day, 52 Mantels, Loving This Crazy Life, Days of Chalk and Chocolate, Confessions of an ADD Housewife

Friday: The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, At the Picket Fence, Whipperberry, French Country Cottage, Thirty Handmade Days, Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Stuff and Nonsense, Fingerprints on the Fridge Naptime Crafters, While He Was Napping, My Romantic Home, Bacon Time With the Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, Remodelaholic, Happy Hour Projects, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Tidy MomYoung and Crafty, Serenity Now , Life as Mom, At the Picket Fence, Tatertots and Jello, Craft Junkie Too, A Little Knick Knack, Blissful and Domestic, Maiden D’Shade, Petites Passions, Bubbly Nature Creations, Here Comes the Sun, Liz Marie Blog, THe Grant Life, Craftionary, Redoux Interior, Common Ground, Just Us Four, Delicate Construction, AKA Designs, Family Ever After,

Saturday:  Be Different Act Normal, The Girl Creative , Funky Junk Interiors , A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid , Its Overflowing, Natasha in Oz, Shaken Together, Homemaker in Heels, Addicted to Decorating

Sunday: A Rosie Sweet Home, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table Dreaming, DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrift Things, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Homemaker on a Dime, DIY Home Sweet HomeCherished Treasures, My 1929 Charmer

Fixing Crooked Picture Frames

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Everyday as I walk out of my bedroom, I overlook a picture gallery my husband and I hung a few years back.  I love it because if I don’t laugh in remembrance of the hours it took to perfectly align the hooks and frames, I smile as I am reminded of all the lovely events and people we have had in our lives.

Lately though, it seems like every day I have to stop and straighten the frames.  It is so frustrating.

Errr…just about every one of the frames is crooked!

Finally sick of it, I implemented the solution – double-sided tape.  A small strip at the base of each frame and a little push to secure it to the wall, the gallery was once again straight. 

So more smiles and laughs and no more sighs in frustration.

Organising Recipes

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Some time ago I told you about the clean up and reorganisation of my hall cupboard.  One of the things I found frustrating about this clean up was organising my recipes that were stored in there.  Not having the time or the know-how, I had to leave the project of organising them to another day.  After taking on board some of my reader’s ideas and many a long night, I have finally sorted through the hundreds of magazine clippings and have my recipes under control.  Before I share with you my new organisation,  lets see what it once looked like….

The magazine holders were holding LOTS of magazine recipe clippings.  At the end of last year, heavily pregnant I trolled through about 3 years worth of recipe magazine subscriptions and cut out recipes of interest with the intention of organising things but that job was so mountainous, I gave up once all the magazines were picked through.

So reinvigorated, I went through all of the recipes again, culling heaps.  If they had hard to source ingredients, or too many steps, they were gone.  As I went, I sorted them into categories like chicken, seafood and desserts.

Grabbing a whole wad of paper and a glue stick I was just about to stick them all together like jigsaw pieces when I had a realisation.  Most of the magazines I had collected recipes from, compile their recipes on the website, taste.com.au.

I have written before about my love of this site.  Most of the recipes are reviewed and the comments left by others are often helpful in gauging difficulties with the recipe or provide suggestions for changes.   This was helpful in the culling process too, as some of the recipes I intended to pin did have poor reviews.  However, more often than not, Taste had links to similar recipes with fantastic reviews.

The other ‘rouge’ recipe cutouts were mostly out there on the net too – with the original pictures I had found so appealing but had not cut out of the magazines or newspapers.  So given these were so readily available on the net, I was not going to spend hours gluing together pictureless recipes to probably not use because they were hard to find or index.  I was going to use my latest love - Pinterest!

For those of you unaware of the wonderful world of Pinterest, it is virtual pinboard.  It allows you to store, sort and share things you love on the net.  To use this medium to sort my recipes made so much sense.  I take my Ipad so many places so most of my recipes would always be at my fingertips.

Jumping on the net I looked for each of the recipes I had found in magazines and pinned them to category boards.

I love that I have these stored here as I am always stumbling on pin-worthy recipes on my favourite blogs.

After doing this I was still left with a number of cutouts.  I decided that I would glue these onto paper, divided into the categories I had used for my Pinterest boards.   I then put these in a ring binder and separated them into their categories with dividers.

I re-evaluated the recipe books I owned and any that I was unlikely to use, I gave to charity.  While I flipped through the books I took the time to tag recipes I have used or really love with sticky tabs.  This way they will be easy to find.

With everything back in the cupboard, you can see how much of an improvement this organisation project has made.

Not only is its heaps neater, I think it will be much more user-friendly.

Outdoor Suite Refresh & Easy Envelope Cushion Tutorial

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Since we are putting in the pizza oven and hanging herb garden in the back patio area, we have had to do a little shuffle of plants and furniture into other outside areas.

Our outside alcove area that sits between our master bedroom and dining room has always been a bit of a ho-hum area.  We really have struggled to do something with it that we like.  Up until recently we had a water feature out there but I have been waiting for inspiration to hit. With no idea in sight and sick of not utilising the area, I just took the bull by the horns and started.

We had to move the couch from the back patio to make way for the pizza oven so I moved it to the alcove.  Here is a pic of where it once stood.

Its green covers were looking less than  their best, so I investigated recovering the cushions as they were in satisfactory condition.   Good outdoor appropriate material was going to cost me near $50 a metre and the sewing would have taken a good deal of time and sewing skill, which I don’t really have.  I was beginning to think I would have to put up with the green covers a little longer.  But once again, the Ikea Gods looked favourably on me and provided a solution.

I took a look in their outdoor furniture section, which I have never have done before and I found on clearance, seat pads and cushions exactly (well almost)  the size I needed for the suite.  They came in a nice neutral tone which suited me as I often  like to change things up with scatter cushions in different colours and prints.

Picking up some canvas material from the local craft store, I decided to make some envelope cushions for the suite.  You too can make these with little investment of time or sewing ability as they have only 4 seams and no zip.  If you want to cut this work down even more, pick up a nicely printed large tea towel for your cushion material and you will only have to sew the side seams.

Firstly you must determine the size of your cushions by measuring the size of your cushion insert.  I work with the metric system but I know many of you use inches so I will give you both (please note the conversions are are approximates but won’t affect the final outcome of your slip, as long as you always work with the one unit)

My pillow is 13 x 13 inches (35 cm). I was a little generous with this measurement making sure I didn’t under-measure.

Cut your fabric to the following guide: Width of cushion + 1 inch (3 cm) x length of cushion x 2 + 6 inches (15 cm)

So my material ended up being 14 inches x 32 inches or 38 cm x 85 cm

Hem the two small edges of your fabric.  I used a 1/2 inch (1 cm) seam allowance.

Fold the small edges of your fabric towards the middle allowing these edges to overlap by 4 1/2 in or 12 cm.  Makes sure you fold the material so that the printed side is facing the inside.  Sew along the side seams using a 1/2 in or 1  cm seam allowance.

Turn your cushion right side out and fill.

I have added only a little wiggle room for the cushion – 1/2 in or 1 cm for both the width and length as my cushions did no have much height and I like my cushion to look generously stuffed. If you have particularly lofty cushions, or like a softer looking cushion, add a little more width and length to your cut material. 

So here is my finished suite with my new scatter cushions.  As it is a public holiday here in Brisbane, I think an afternoon refreshment on the ‘new’ lounge is in order.

The rest of this alcove area will get a little bit of a overhaul when I claim some free time.  I have a project I am itching to start that involves some serious garage sale shopping and spray painting.

Liebster Blog Award

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What a lovely surprise to be passed the Liebster Award from the lovely Cass from Cassadiva.

Cassadiva was the first blog I started to follow, so Cass is responsible for my own entrance into the blogging world. If you haven’t checked out her great posts on organising and decorating, I urge you to pop by and follow along.

In accepting the Liebster Award there are a few rules to follow:

•Copy and paste the award on your blog

•Link back to the blogger who gave you the award

•Pick your five favourite bloggers who deserve to be recognised

•Hope the five chosen bloggers will continue to spread the blog award love

Here are five blogs I would like to see recognised.  They are great reads and I am sure you will find them interesting.

With a Blast

Linda’s blog is chock-full of mouth-watering recipes. Her recipe for Caramel Mint Dream is calling me.

We Like to Learn as We Go

Alexis shares her experience as a SAHM and has some great projects for you to try for yourself.

Triple T Mum

Amie is not only a Mum to twins, a toddler and a teen, she is a great blogger.  Her blog is an inspiration for parents wanting to engage their kids in meaningful, fun and educational experiences. Her Kids Co Op link up on a Thursday is a must view.

Little Becky Homecky 

Kate shares some great craft, DIY and sewing projects.  Her sewing tutorials are always easy to understand, great for someone like me who is learning as I go.

Garage Sales R Us

I love seeing the Ferguson’s garage sale shopping finds.  They inspire me to find the treasure in another’s trash, even though I never seem to nab as good a bargain as they do!

Thanks again Cass for the award and I hope everyone else finds some great reading among these fun blogs.

DIY Fridge File

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I was doing a little internet surfing a few weeks back and came across this great product from Mead.

It is a Fridge Filer.  It has three plastic pockets with tabs and a large magnetic strip at the back so it can be hung on the fridge.  As many homes use their fridge door as the family filing cabinet,  I could see that this was a great piece of stationery to organise all those documents and a must have for my house.

In the Cooked Household I would normally pin my ‘To Do Lists’ and my ‘Meal Planner’ to the fridge.  As they are both printed on A4 sheets of paper, they can take up a fair chunk of space.  I wanted the Mead Fridge Filer but as my luck would have it, they don’t sell these in Australia.  Not content to give up on a great idea, I set about making one for myself.

As a teacher and stationery lover, I have a huge stockpile of all sorts of folders and plastic sleeves.  After a rat around, I found this clamp file.

With a little hot glue, I attached some magnets to the back.

Now I had my fridge file solution, but as per usual, I decided to extend the project.

Hating the idea of throwing out my paper to-do lists and meal planner each day/week, I decided to go a little more environmentally friendly.  I created some proformas for these documents in Word, then printed and laminated them for the fridge file.  This way they only need a quick wipe over to be used again, or in the case of my daily to do list, I can remove the items I have completed, leaving the remaining ones for my next day’s list.

So here is my fridge file in place.  I have attached a suction cup toothbrush holder to the fridge to hold my pens, including some whiteboard ones for my laminated lists.

Maybe when I get some more time down the track I will make this fridge file a little more pretty.  For the moment I am just happy to find a solution to my messy fridge filing system.