Sunday, February 28, 2010

Provincial Home Living

One of my favourite stores online is this amazing homewares stores. They are mostly located in Victoria with one store in New South Wales. That store isn't close by in Sydney though, and Albury is a distance to travel. I would love to see some of their furniture in person, so I have emailed them in to ask about potential expansion into Sydney metro. Hopefully in the future ;)

Check out their gorgeous stock, I just love their rustic style that mixes contemporary and classic - just my style! Have a browse, i know you'll be impressed at the product, but also the prices (which is a big plus in
my opinion)!
Can't wait to order some things for our new house from here. YAY!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Colour codes, baskets and labels - OH MY!!!

There are MANY things that make me happy. Those that know me well know that one of these things is when my world is all in order. By order I mean colour codes, height/ size order, labels, baskets and containers! It does something to me in a funny way when I see things ordered and organised. If I had my way the whole world would be labelled, catagorised and organised (but I have since found out not everyone shares my passion - lol).

I do love creating things like stamping, scrapbooking and sewing (got my L-plates on there though) and so leads me to tonights inspiration. I found some amazing craft rooms and storage solutions that encourage me to think about my new craft room/ office at the new house.
Like many people I practically froth at the mouth thinking about a trip to IKEA (or any container storage store) and having money to spend!!!!

However, my obsession isn't limited to craft rooms though. I love my linen press being organised like a store front and my clothes are always organised and colour coded (yes, even socks and jocks hehehe)! So where else do I go to find inspiration but none other than the world of Martha Stewart and Goodhousekeeping!!!!

I have also stumbled across a crowd on facebook called Complete Organizing Solutions who wrote an article about the cost (both time and money) of being disorganised. It reassured me that my quirkiness of being (over?)passionate about organisation is saving me both money and time! So, I am normal --- right????? :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The gift that keeps on giving

Although I LOVE baking I have often picked up vanilla beans in my gocery trips and then put them back because of the price tag. I usually buy the bean paste or the extract instead. Recently I decided to give it a go. And whilst it gave the recipe a nice punch I was more impressed with the domino effect of making my own vanilla sugar. Once I scrapped the pods, I placed them in my sugar container. It has added the nicest subtle vanilla taste and fragrance to everything even the humble piklets!

For a simple recipe see here:

Sift (or wisk) 1 cups o
f self raising flour, 1 dessert spoonful of the vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt.
Wisk together 3/4 cup buttermilk (normal will do) and 1 egg and wisk into the dry ingredients.
Heat non-stick pan and dollop in the batter for the desired size.

Good Mums......

I found this post on a blog and it struck me. I had a chuckle at the things that we quite often as Mums tell ourselves we need to do, in order to be a "good mum". An interesting thought from the blog My Many Coloured Days. If you are a mum....enjoy this knowing that you are amazing. Your kids love you and we aren't perfect, but we do our best and that is all our kids ever ask for! Bless you all for doing the best and hardest job on the planet!

The "Good Mum Rule Book"
What? You haven't read it? Well, where the heck have you been hiding? In case you were wondering:

Good moms make their kids a school lunch every day.
Good moms go to story hour every week.
Good moms play with their kids all day.
Good moms put themselves last.
Good moms serve a balanced meal at every meal.
Good moms are the first to rise and last to go to bed.
Good moms have taught their children to read and write BEFORE they get to Kindergarten.
Good moms have the playdates at THEIR homes.
Good moms don't need breaks.
Good moms don't get sick.
Good moms' kids never act up.
Good moms never run late.
Good moms never freak out.
Good moms' kids are always well matched, their clothes are never holey, and they never have messy faces.
Good moms' homes are always clean and tidy.
Good moms don't let their kids watch television.

Just a few of the myths I let infiltrate my confidence as a mother. I know that there are some moms out there who are able to follow some of these rules, easily perhaps. Kudos to them. But they are the areas I find challenging.
What unrealistic rules are in your "Good Mom Rule Book"?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Refreshingly Sweet

There is nothing like reclining with friends and sharing a little sweet bite after a main meal. I have made this before but added a new ingredient recently that just 'made' it. Sometimes i love the kind of recipes where you don't really need quantities and you eye-ball it depending on your taste. This is one of those recipies.

Rosewater IceCream Pudding:
1. Soften some good vanilla ice-cream in a stainless steel bowl.
2. Crush some merrangue through the ice-cream (make it or buy pavlova nests).
3. Fold through some frozen rasperries.

4. Pour in some rosewater essence (found in baking isle - next to vanialla essence etc..). I used about 1/4 bottle for a 2L ice cream mixtrure - but taste as you go and add as much or as little as you like.

5. Cover with glad wrap and freeze overnight.
6. Flip upsidedown and rub outide of bowl with warm cloth to help get 'pudding' out.
7. Serve on a chilled plate, top with more rasperries or edible rose petals and slice like a regular pudding

I hope you will enjoy this very refreshing dessert like I do. Purely Delicious!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Product Review: Table of Plenty

I am one that loves to give new things a go and in my last grocery shop I picked up a box of Dukkah and thought I would give it a go. I really to be honest just chose this particular brand cause I liked the brand name "Table of Plenty", the packaging caught my eye as did the price (on special at woolies for $3.26). But as I started to do more research into the brand I was so impressed with it. Kate Weiss founded the company and she is commited to donating and founding great causes. Along with being an entrepreneur - she is a devoted Mum of two one of which has a disability.
Now that I have given you the details that have impressed me - what about their product???
I bought the pistachio dukkah and there is SO much scope for this condiment that you can let your imagination take over! As it says on the packet " sprinkle, roast, crumb, dip"

I will put some ideas here, but there are some more great recipes on the website.
*Using a nice fresh turkish loaf of bread and a good quality olive oil, dip the bread in oil and then dukkah.

* Mix juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tbs olive oil, 4 tbs dukkah into a paste. Place 4 chicken breasts on an oven tray with baking paper and then place paste on the chicken and bake at 180 for 20 mins. Serve with salad.
*Sprinkle over potatoes with a dash of olive oil and roast

For more of their recipe ideas see here:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sweet but Light

I have made this recipe a number of times and it has always had comments. I am a MASSIVE fan of cheesecake and even though I appreciate the richness - I have met many who don't like how heavy cheesecake usually is. This recipe is great because it is light and fluffy in texture but still retains that delicious cheesecake taste.
Although it may be tempting to dismiss the added strawberry step on the recipe - it is definitley worth the extra it over the edge from a good dish to a show stopper!!!! YUMMMMMM!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Enough to make me want a 3rd baby ;)

One of my favourite blogs Jack and Izzy, has been on a 'hiatus' whilst she settles with her new son Noah (ps Luuurve the name). She finally posted some pics of her GORGEOUS nursery. Which I fell in love with!!!! We are building our first house at the moment, and so since we have always rented when having babies, its enough to make me want a third baby so that I can do something like this!!!! JUST SOOOO PRECIOUS!!!!

Ahhhhhh - "Miss Chacha "

Yes I am a mother of two, a wife to my man and wear SO many other hats. Although I am not one for the superficial, I do have an insatiable passion for HOT shoes.
There is something about sporting a pair of pumps or out-of-this world wedges that makes me a little giddy! It sounds silly I know, but for a split second, I am transformed from a world of changing nappies, preschool drop offs and mashing bananas into what seems like another universe!
These caught my eye whilst browsing online....YUUUU-MMMMY!!!!! I have a pair similar to these
in black (granted they're not Christian Louboutins' "Miss chacha's") and they are my favourites!
So, even if you think you would develop a fear of heights on these baby's - just admire them for the style and craftmanship! In my eyes - this is heaven on heals :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DIY Take-Away!

I made a beef curry from scratch after being inspired by watching the Biggest Loser masterclass recently. It was quick, healthy delicious and didn't cost very much either!

700g beef (could easily substitute chicken, fish, kangaroo or lentils)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground corriander
2 tsp ground tumeric
fresh chilli (omit if you don't like it spicy)
dash of olive oil
1/4 roughly chopped butternut pumpkin (skin on)
1/2 cauliflower
1L beef stock
1 heaped dessert spoon of tomato paste
1 bunch of corriander
1 cup of green peas

1. Dice the beef (or other) and fry off in the bottom of a large saucepan with a spray of olive oil.
2. Whilst the meat is cooking place the spices, garlic and ginger, chilli (if using) and oil in a mortar and pestle and mash up into a paste.
3. When the beef is lightly browned, push it to the side and pour the paste in to the pot and cook through for a minute.
4. Stir together with the beef.
5. Add the pumpkin, cauliflower, stock and tomato paste.
6. Chop up the corriander using all the stalks (chop right up to the root - no waste hehe) Set a few leaves aside and put the rest in the pot. Simmer on low heat for 1.5 hrs min.
7. Right before serving add the peas and then garnish with the remaining corriander.

***Can eat on rice or on its own***
***Good thing about this kind of meal is that you can leave it on the pot simmering for those nights when you may not all hit the dinner table at the same time. The longer it marinades the better it gets. This kind of meal freezes well and makes a great 'go-to' for those busy nights. Better for you and quicker than dialing takeaway***

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rabbit Snacks

I have a little tradition with my 3 year old Son when I take him grocery shopping. I let him choose a fruit or vegetable to take home. Usually its apples or watermelon or strawberries. With far too many additives in foods these days I'd prefer to spend a few dollars on a punnet of blueberries than on a packet of processed carbs and sugar! I like making our own biscuits at home so that Joshua doesn't get used to thinking food originates from a packet :)

I love eating fresh food too - and I think that passing that onto your kids is such a gift. This leads me to our new favourite snack. I just buy a bunch of baby carrots, chop some of the green 'tops' off (leaving some on though) and peel them. I often serve these with homemade hommous (recipe on first post) and sometimes add other veggie sticks (cucumber, celery, capsicum in different colours) and even plain rice crackers sometimes for a healthy afternoon snack.

We LOVE Rabbit Snacks in our house ---- hope you do too!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Favourite Online Shop :)

Appologies for being quiet over last few days - been busy cooking up a storm for a Valentines Day event - YUMMM!

Now I know I have mentioned this website before when I first discovered Susannah Tucker Photography. The diversity and quality of the ALL AUSTRALIAN handmade wares at is never ceasing to amaze me!!!
I ordered something for a friend and it came today - the delivery was so quick. So, check it out and I am sure that you will find something to suit any occassion....(appologies for the time you will spend window shopping online-hehehe)!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sheer Beauty!

Last year when our second Son was born, we had some photos taken by a lovely company who I could not recommend highly enough! With such a good eye for 'that' shot you will be glad you contacted Sheer Image Photography. I wish I had more photos from my parents and grandparents generation - what a gift for yourself and future generations to capture a moment in time with your loved ones!
Above are some of my favourites that Naomi shot and I know I will book her again for new ones - we were SO impressed! So, if your in the Sydney area....give the team a call - you WON'T be disapointed!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mexican with a twist

Well, I adapted a few recipes and made this dish about a year ago. It is now an absolute favourite of my Hubby and myself! There is a slight tang to it, so if you don't like a medium spicy flavour, this may not be for you, but if you have a led lined throat, add extra chilli to taste ;) It is a cheap meal (I served this for four guests with a homemade apple crumble and 2 course meal cost about $30 for 4 people - wooohoo) and easy - ONE POT (gotta love that)!!!!

1/2 kg of your choice of meat (I have used pork and beef, but chicken or turkey could work just as well too).
1 pkt Old elPaso Fajita Seasoning
1-2 red capsicums finely sliced (i have aslo used the 3 colour mixture which gives it good eye appeal)
1 onion (any colour will work - or use a handful of the frozen onion to save time and tears)
Hanful of fresh Corriander

1. Marinade the meat in seasoning (few hours is best, but as long as you can will do).
2. Cook the meat in saucepan in batches till all cooked.
3. Remove from pan.
4. Add the onion and capsicum to pan and cook till slightly tender.
5. Add meat back to pan and add a few tablespoonfuls of water to de-glaze and start making a sauce.
6. Add a generous bunch of Corriander right before serving.
7. Serve up on a bed of fresh Basmati Rice and sprinkle with a little Coriander to garnish.

* you could easily make this vegitarian by using mushies and eggplant instead (or just add these for more veggies into the base recipe)
* to the above recipe you could add chilli if you like really spicy food
* a sprinkle of fresh lime juice over is also nice

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

5 Sleeps....

I want to put this table together one day - SO LOVELY!!!

There are a few times of year that I love. I love kids Birthday Parties I love an Aussie Summer Christmas, I love celebrating our wedding anniversary and of course Valentines Day! I am such a girly girl and anything pink, cute, classy and glamorous has my immediate attention. Which is why I have found some amazing ideas to help inspire you celebrate your Valentines Day in a special way this year.Thank you Amy Atlas Photography (via Design Dazzle)
for this beautiful display that just made my heart smile!
I hope you have been inspired to put a personal and HOMEMADE touch on your Vallentines Day XOXOX

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gorgeous Homewares!

I stumbled across this website when getting more decorating ideas for our new house. Their stuff was SO nice, I was just waiting for the USA only shipping info as i clicked around. I saw that they have an Australian store and again preparing myself for it to be interstate (likely to be melbourne). No, Their only Oz store is in SYDNEY!!! I love some of their beddings and accessories and really want to go and visit the shop when I have a child free day to enjoy the lovliness of it all. So - take a browse over to Serena and Lily and i guarantee you will be impressed too!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

{Homemade Pasta Sauce}

This a very yummy way to be ultra healthy and eat with no preservatives and additives. Bake a tray or two of veggies like tomatoes (this is your base ingredient so i tend to add more and I like roasting the cherry or grape variety), garlic cloves, zucchini, capsicum, red onion, olives and a chilli. Then drizzle with olive oil and roast in oven.
Once its finished, try to resist eating the yummy roasted veggies (it smells amazing).
Using a food processor, stick or normal blender; blend till it makes a sauce.
Then add some freshly chopped herbs like parsley and basil, season and 'voila'!!!

Serving ideas:
1. On pasta
2. Over lentils instead of pasta

3. Spread as a Pizza sauce.
4. Top Cannelloni with it (see past blog)
5. Put sauce in oven proof dish and pop freshly made meatballs in it and bake in oven.

Lauren x

Saturday, February 6, 2010

3D Car stickers....A fun no cost craft idea!

Joshua (3.5yrs) and I quite often wait till Daniel (8mths) is asleep and we often try to do a special activity just the two of us. I look forward to these moments - sharing "little wisdoms" over craft or cooking or just playing.

Last week we did a crafty activity that was great because it a) cost nothing and b) was played with for ages!!! We turned a sheet of car stickers into a 3D road. Josh even added in a hotel made of their imagination.

What i love about this idea is that it is adaptable to anything.....jungle animal stickers, girl people stickers, insects, trains, boats, the list is endless!!!!
All you need is some glue or sticky tape and some paper/ card. You can reuse old boxes even to make it a "green/ enviromentally consious" activity. Try it - the kids will LOVE it!

Friday, February 5, 2010

INSPIRATION POINT: Decorating ideas

Although this room is a girls room (which is stunning) SO adaptable - I love the stripe on the wall and also the ikea furniture.....LOVE IKEA!!!!!

I Love the colours here and the canvases (i guess thats what they are) with the name. Loving stripes and polka dots at the moment, but its subtle, which i like!

The colour pallette here is so cool for boys and yet so modern!

I just love the big accent of the letter in this one.

Design dazzle is an amazing blog with AMAZING ideas for kids rooms of all ages and playrooms too.....makes you want to do something different and personalised in your kids rooms. It has been great for me to start dreaming about ways to decorate the boys rooms in our new place (that we will hopefully be in 6 months from now). Hope you are inspired to add some special touches to your place that give you that WOW factor and make you all smile!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cupcakes for Dinner???

Well, Joshy and I made the coolest dinner the other night. Meatloaf cupcakes. So easy too - just HAD to share!

1. Just make your regular meatloaf recipe, if you need one, try looking on
taste. Then instead of cooking in loaf tin. Just cook in a muffin tray.
2. Make mashed Potato as normal
3. Cook up some veggies as normal. It's important to use smaller cuts, I bought peas, corn and dieced carrots.
4. Once meatloafs are cooked and cooled, place on oven tray and spead the mash potato 'icing' on top.
5. Then once veggies are cool enough to touch, decorate the 'cupcakes' with patterns. The options are endless: patterns, initialls, smiley faces, shapes etc.....

6. Place back in oven or in the microwave to heat before dinner.
7. Finishing touches can be added with tomato sauce.....YUM!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Family Favourite

Our Family tries to stick to a healthy diet Mon-Thur and allows treats on Fri-Sun. Part of that is "meat free monday". We aren't vegetarian, I just like to serve meat free meals occasionally during the week. This meal I have made countless times I don't even use a recipe any more. So, for the sake of blog land, I decided to cook my Cannelloni today but actually take note of what I put in it.
This recipe is enough for my big lasagne tray or two smaller trays (I used the double packet of foil ones with lids from woolies in bbq section). These are great because you can make this size batch and freeze one in case a friend needs a meal or you need a meal on a busy night!

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
1kg Ricotta (the dryer kind ofen found in the deli - I sometimes buy Brancourts from woolies)

2 eggs

1-2 packets frozen spinach (depending on taste 1 cup of cheese (you can cut calories and only add half a cup
1/4 tsp of fresh grinded nutmeg (using it from your spice rack is fine too)
2-4 cloves of fresh garlic minced or chopped finely!
salt and pepper to taste

2 packets Barilla Cannelloni tubes (or similar brand...i just find these on good value. you won't use all of them, but this mixture filled 32 tubes. The good thing is it's dry pasta, so keeps for next time).
I never make this the same way each time. It depends what i have in the pantry. But this amount of tinned tomatoes and/ or pasta sauce works fine :) 1x pasta sauce bottle 1x tin tomatoes Some extra grated cheese to top with


Preheat oven to 180'C
1. Defrost Spinach in microwave or in fridge over night. Make sure you squueze all the water out of it before you add to ricotta.
2. In a big bowl add ricotta, spinach, eggs, cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.
3. I use a teaspoon upside down to stuff the tubes. This is the most time consuming part of the recipe but worth it!

4. Once tray(s) is full, you can use any left over ricotta mixture to fill any gaps.
5. Mix the tomato mixture together and pour over the cannelloni tubes.
6. Sprinkle extra cheese down centre of the sauce and bake for about20-30 mins or untill cheese is melted and slightly golden and the cannelloni tubes are soft (do the skewer test).

**Serve with Salad**

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Craft and Dinner - A winning combo with RAVE reviews!!!

This afternoon, Joshy and I created a dinner that we called "Pizza Boats". We bought those yummy bake at home dinner rolls that everyone loves. Decorated them as pizzas which becomes the base of the boat. While cooking in the oven, we decorated a whole lot of flags and stuck them onto skewers. So simple. So creative. So much fun!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Quite Simply - CUTE AS A BUTTON!

I had an oddly productive morning recently. I decided to make biscuits with josh. I started with a basic biscuit recipe (see below) and adapted it to make three types of bikkies out of the same batch.

1. HIGH-FIVE COOKIE: After dough had chilled I rolled it out and got Joshua to do a handprint in the dough and cut it out. Its a bit fragile to transfer to another sheet of baking paper, so just bake it on that sheet. This cookie looks darker cause i made sure i left it in a little longer so it wouldnt snap too easily.
2. BUTTON COOKIE: Once rolled out, find two different sized glasses or circle cutters. Press one in all the way through the dough to form first circle. Press second glass/ cutter only a little way in to form the border. Using a chopstick (or similar) press the 4 circles in the middle. 3. RAINBOW COOKIE: Then hand mix in some sprinkles to the rest of the mixture and form by hand.

185g butter
1 cup castor sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract (add 1 tsp if using essence)

2.5 cups of pl flour
1 egg + 1 egg yolk extra

Preheat oven to 180'C. Process butter and sugar in food processor till smooth. Add flour, egg, and egg yolk and process again to form a smooth dough. Knead lightly and refridgerate for 30 mins. Roll out the dough between sheets of baking powder. Cut into shapes (see above) and bake for 10-12 mins. Cool on wire rack. ENJOY!!!

** I wanted to ice the "High 5" bikkies but they were eaten too quickly....good sign i suppose**


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