Thursday, September 20, 2012

{Gift for a Chocoholic : Chocolate Strawberry Bouquet}

So my mother in law's birthday is today and she is hard to buy for. I know she loves chocolate though, so I decided to create a homemade gift that I knew she would love! It is only a little time consuming, a little messy but doesn't cost a lot, which is great considering the wow factor you get!
Here are my tips for making your own chocolate dipped strawberry bouquet.

I used:
- 2 punnets of strawberries
- 3 blocks of choc (white, milk and dark)
- 3 saucepans and glass/ stainless steel bowls to make double boilers for melting the chocolate
- bamboo skewers
- disposable piping bags
-a case (this one was $2 from Kmart) or you can reuse an old jar which I usually do but ran out
- tissue paper
- green cellophane
- sticky tape
- to help them dry : baking paper, rubber bands and a few vases or jugs

Hint 1:
Place some baking paper over your vases/ jugs and secure with a rubber band. Pre-poke some holes and use this to stand the strawberries in whilst drying.

Hint 2:
Cut cello into squares and poke a skewer through the centre. Then fold up around teens and tape the base to create 'greenery' for the arrangement. This also helps stabilize the strawberries. Trim some of these lengths so they don't all poke out the top and create a rounded arrangement.

Hint 3:
Once you have covered your strawberries with the base chocolate (1/3 of the qty with each different chocolate), go nuts decorating. Fill some of the piping bags with melted chocolate and pipe designs on them. Leave some plain if you like to balance it out.

Hint 4:
Line your vase/ jar with the tissue facing coloured side out. Scrunch another piece of tissue inside and use this to poke your skewers into. Foam would work best but I didn't have any ;)

I am sure anyone would love to receive this as a gift and it would suit almost any occasion too I think!

Lauren x

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

{All in One Breakfast Bake}

This is the kind of cooking I like. Its a no recipe, tailor to your own taste, use what you have kinda meal.
I actually made this one night for what we call "BRINNER". Breakfast for dinner. It was a crazy day and I wasn't going to the shops with crazy children after school and issued myself a sort of 'mystery box' challenge!

I can see so many adaptations of this idea. I can imagine family all digging in to this for a late Boxing Day morning together while using some f the left overs from Christmas Day. 

I'll show you how I did this and then show you how you could change it to your tastes. 

{A SUPER Birthday for Mr. 3}

I love how when you get married your family automatically enlarges. In my case (thanks to my husbands large family) I not only doubled my family, I probably tripled or quadrupled it! One of his cousins in particular we get along with very well. When their little man turned three recently, I was excited to put a twist on a gift I'd crafted before (read here) to help him celebrate.

I made the cape similar to what I have made several times by now. However, this time I made a mini version for his favorite toy. The little 'L' is for his toy lamb "Lambie". Isn't it just darling! My boys are so jealous that I now have two capes for my boys and two for their teddies on order and in progress - lol! 

Here is my little 'Mr 3'  posing for the camera to show it to you with his little lambie friend.

Reports in from the birthday boy, and this gift was a total hit! Maybe one of these days I might figure out how to be clever and put a pattern on here ;)

Lauren x

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

{Spring Cleaning : ZONE 1 Master Wardrobes}

Well spring has finally sprung!
For those that know me, the fact that I loathe clutter and love organising MAY surprise you ;)
Last night I finally sat down at midnight after (what was meant to be) simply putting away the folding. However my crazy wardrobe inspired me to cull, cut and cleanse!

For the next few weeks, I am choosing 1-2 areas of the house each week and spring cleaning the house!

ZONE 1: Master Wardrobe
Spend some time going through the clothes in your wardrobe and get ready to make a donation to your local vinnies/ salvos.
Get rid of
-any winter clothes you didn't wear last season.
-any summer clothes you haven't warn in a year
-anything with holes
-those 'inspiration jeans' that are 3 sizes to small and you are keeping in hope (we all do it!)
-colours / styles that don't suit your body shape or your age...time to be really honest here or get a best friend to help you 'evaluate' lol
If you have a few items that are 'sentimental' and you can't part with them, can you keep them? My answer is KNOW YOUR LIMITS.
*If you want to keep your whole wardrobe from highschool to remind you of your highschool body : NO! Move on and maybe keep your jersey or A uniform etc..., but get it out of the wardrobe & put it in a 'memory box' or similar.
Make sure sentimental / inspirational pieces are few and are proportional to your wardrobe size also.

So, are you a hoarder? Do you spring clean? If you are like me and love the clean out, hate it or somewhere in between, take the challenge and choose 1 or 2 areas a week to organise yourself. You may just find extra space and time in your world!!! ;)

Lauren x

Monday, September 3, 2012

{Smoked Salmon Bites : Bring a Plate Idea}

Well, Spring is here! I have already seen some of the blooms around Sydney streets. It wont be long till we all start sunning our selves and being social again as the daylight stays around for longer. This time of year is great, kitchen teas, baby showers and lunches with family and friends keep our BBQ's and Aussie decks very busy.

Have you ever been invited somewhere for a morning tea or something where it's 'bring-a-plate' and you aren't sure what to bring?

This is the simplest thing to make and it looks VERY impressive. 

Smoked Salmon Bites

1. Make up a basic pikelet batter and I usually omit the sugar from recipe and add a pinch of salt. You can get fancy and make buckwheat pikelets, or add garlic to the mixture etc... I just keep it simple. 
2. Once you have cooked the batch of pikelets, let them cool and then spread with cream cheese.
3. Find a small round cookie cutter to make the shapes bite-sized and uniform in shape. 
4. Top with a ribbon of smoked salmon, sprig of dill, lemon zest and salt&pepper.
5. VOILA!!! So simple and easy to create that WOW factor for your next BBQ or afternoon tea. 

Lauren x


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