Tuesday, March 26, 2013

{An Egg-cellent Easter Dessert Idea}

I couldn't resist the joke above - lol! A few sleeps till Easter, we love celebrating in our house and here is a snippet from something I did last year.
It's perfect if your having a family dinner for Easter this year. After you've had the main course, a special occasion calls for a special 'ta-da' moment dessert.

I posted yesterday about the Easter egg hunt cake (click here). Why not make that for the kids and trying something fun yet sophisticated for the grown up's.

Easter Cheese-Cake Eggs:
This is a tricky recipe to give measurements for as it depends greatly on the size of the chocolate eggs you use.

Get Ready:
You could use fancy vintage heirloom egg cups. If you have them go for it. OR, use an egg carton and cut it up for individual serving.
Then unwrap a hollow chocolate egg and gently crack off some of the top and set aside (slash nibble on them for sustenance whilst cooking for your family - I know you want to lol).

The "egg white" filling:
Mix up done cream cheese, castor or icing sugar in an electric mixer. Add a teaspoon of vanilla, a splash of fresh lemon juice and some lemon rind. Taste test to make sure it has a good balance.
Spoon into the 'egg shells'.

Top it with the Yolk:
Strain some passion fruit pulp so you don't have the seeds left and place in the middle of the cheesecake mixture. You could also use mango pulp or lemon curd if you prefer.

I served these last Easter and they were very well received. The great thing is that they are portioned, so depending on the size of the egg, you may leave your guests wanting more! (That's not a bad thing ;)
Lauren x

Sunday, March 24, 2013

{How To Make an 'Easter Egg Hunt' Surprise Cake}

Last year I made the teachers at pre-school Easter Egg Cake Pops (see here).
This year I wanted to do something fun and different.

Introducing the Easter Egg Hunt Cake! 

Start with the Cake:
Basically you require a round cake with a whole in the middle. There are two main ways you could do this.
1. Use a ring tin. I didn't have a regular ring tin, so I used a bundt tin that I had on hand anyway.
You also need to put some batter in a small cake tin/ ramekin to use as a topper.  
2. You could even bake a regular round cake and cut a hole in the middle afterwards with a cup or something else round. If you've cut a hole out of the middle, set aside.

Fill The Cake:
Buy a packet of candy covered Easter eggs (the ones without foil) and fill the hole with them. Place the extra cake circle on top of the Easter eggs.

Finish The Cake:
Use a vanilla butter cream (or similar - choices are endless) and frost the entire cake using a swirled kind of texture. This is so that you can't see the extra circle hiding the hole.

As this was a gift I didn't get a photo of the finished product when cut. However, if you were serving this for a family Easter dinner, there would be such WOW factor at discovering the hidden Easter eggs inside as you cut it at the table!

How much fun is that! I hope that however you and your family celebrate, you have a great Easter!

Lauren x

Thursday, March 21, 2013

{Bringing a Meal To a Friend in Need}

There are many reasons why a friend may need a meal. I am sure you have taken a meal to someone with a new baby, recovering from an illness, lost a job, a very busy week or maybe they are about to move or just moved into a new house. There are many reasons why you may take a meal to someone in your world.

No matter what the reason, there are a few things that make this gift of generosity one that will be appreciated.

1. Give warning:
If someone isn't coordinating the meals, call or message ahead to see what time is convenient for them.

2. Make it Brief:
Don't turn up with the whole family on the doorstep and make yourself at home. Organize (if possible) to have your kids minded while you drop the meal off and unless they offer, don't plan on staying or going inside. The reason your dropping a meal may mean that persons life is a little hectic and their house may be in a state of organized chaos that they may not feel like showing it off!
Also, don't stay and chat although there is likely to be a lot to share, deliver it with a smile and politely excuse yourself so the family can enjoy the meal you have made.

3. Serve it Thoughtfully:
Don't drop your meal off in your best baking dish. Often the recipient will have better things to do than coordinate the handing back of all the dishes they have received. There are plenty of disposable options which also gives them a night off washing up too. If you want to make it extra presentable, place meals in a cheap dish/ jar that you bought (ie from Kmart) and male sure you say that you don't want it back.

3. Dietary Requirements:
Know who you are making a meal for. Are they a vegetarian, gluten intolerant, do they have young kids that are unlikely to eat anything fancy or a new mum who may not want spicy curry if feeding.
Always include a list of ingredients on anything you made or you took out of the packet. This avoids any confusion.

4. Variety:
Whenever a friend has meals coming in there are often a lot of main meals. I have often been thanked for including a side salad, muffins, brownies, a loaf of bread, homemade muesli, a jug of juice or a small bag of groceries to help with the rest of the day.

5. Be Sensitive to Time:
If you are bringing a meal for that night, don't turn up at 8:00 when they may eat much earlier. If weeknights are tricky, consider offering a weekend delivery or perhaps offering to drop off one night for the previous evenings' meal.

Now there are some suggestions for the delivery and 'etiquette' of meals to those that may need it.

Q: Have you ever been the recipient of a meal? What was a favorite meal/ snack you have been given?

Lauren x

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

{Slow Cooker Roast & No-Potato Mash}

Tuesday afternoons now are busy afternoons due to soccer training that finishes right before dinner time. Since its Autumn, and we are heading into winter, it's the perfect time to get my slow cooker out and make my time away from the house work for me.

I bought an $8 roast beef from Aldi and put it in the slow cooker dish. Then i covered it with:
- A jar of passatta sauce (or tinned diced tomatoes if that's what's on hand)
- Splash of left over red wine (or open some vino and have a glass with dinner).
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 an onion sliced
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 tin of butter beans or other white beans
- salt and pepper

{I actually then put the bowl back in the fridge and let it marinade overnight. You can prepare the meal in the morning for the same night.}

Turn on high at lunch time (or low in the morning) and hours later walk in the door to the delicious scent of a tender, juicy 'fall apart' roast. The best part is the sauce creates a delicious kind of a gravy.

I served it with green beans and a no potato mash. Simply cook some cauliflower and mash it with a tin of white beans. Then season it with a tsp of garlic powder, a TBL of margarine and salt & pepper. As I can't have potato at the moment this makes it possible for the family to eat the same meal at the same time.

This was met with rave reviews in the house, definitely doing this again!!!

Lauren x

Monday, March 18, 2013

{Forrest Gump Party}

Each year for our birthdays we do a joint themed fancy dress birthday. Since we are 2 years and 2 days apart, it's easier to celebrate together and we have been doing so for many years now.
This year was a movie theme and we chose Forrest Gump.


We were in awe at some of the costumes! The film gave so much scope for imagination and our guests definitely took advantage of the many ideas! We had people dressed up as peas & carrots, a shrimp, hippies, a box of chocolates, the feather, waitress Jenny, the bus driver Dorothy, we even had (an almost) naked Jenny! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

{The Fairy Is Coming : Part 2}

I shared before {here} about how the tooth fairy is coming to our house soon. The infamous tooth is slowly getting more wobbly and so I decided to have a play at the sewing machine and with no real plan, attempt at creating a tooth fairy pillow with NO budget, using only scraps.
I have an ever growing stash of fabric, bits and bobs. So, "shopping the stash" wasn't a challenge. I even had an old pillow insert left over after a cushion cover ripped. I cut it open and used the batting to stuff the little creature. 

Its not my best sewing attempt, I didn't even change my thread over to green to match the fabric, but my 6 year old loves it and it was more just a trial run to put what was in my mind into reality.

There is a cute little mouth sewn into the cute monster that doubles as a pocket for the tooth and money.  
I am not 100% happy with it, and think I might try another kind of design just to mix it up. 

Q: How does your house celebrate the tooth fairy? Glass of water? Under the sleeping pillow? In a special place? 

Lauren x 


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