Monday, May 30, 2011

Bulk Baking and Recipes!!!!

Saturday is my baking day. I like to bake on the weekend so that we have plenty for lunch boxes and morning teas for the week. It's hard to bake on Sundays as I almost always have a roast on Sundays. So until I get my fabulous multi door oven when we win xlotto this is how things will be.

This week I seems to have enough mini muffins still in the freezer to last us at least this week so I thought I'd make some big cakes that I can then cut in half and have in the freezer to pull out when the need arises. Often for the boys weekly play date with their friend Will.

Of course I have been craving chocolate since Brian and I have been loosing weight so I had to make some choc chip brownies and I haven't made my butter cake recipe in eons so that was on the menu too.

I find the best thing to do when you are baking something, especially cakes, for the freezer is to make double. It's really minimal effort to make that one extra.

I have two bowls set up next to each other. I then dump the ingredients into each bowl as we go along.

Then pour then into greased and lined tins, doesn't matter if they aren't the same size, just adjust the cooking times to suit. Easy peasy.

I also baked some Pineapple Rock Cakes as I had some crushed pineapple leftover from making a Carrot and Pineapple cake for our play date last week (I froze the leftovers and defrosted for the Rock Cakes).

The butter cake.

And here are the cakes all cut in halves and wrapped up for the freezer. We kept one piece of brownies for afternoon tea mmmmm.

Now who wants recipes?

Flying Brownies
The recipe for the brownies came from a girl in the FlyLady forum, I'll call then Flying Brownies

1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1t baking powder
1t salt
2 cups sugar
2t vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
3 eggs
125g walnuts or choc chips

Preheat oven to 180C, grease and line a square cake tin.
Mix all ingredients together.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 180C for 25-30 minutes

Rich Butter Cake
This recipe is from my mum. She got it from one of the womens mags when I was a kid

2 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup custard powder
2 cups castor sugar (I use normal white sugar)
1 cup milk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
250g butter softened
2t vanilla

Preheat to 180C, grease and line a 25cm square cake tin.
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer.
Beat on medium speed for 10 minutes (5 is usually enough) until thick and creamy.
I mix all the ingredients except the butter with a wooden spoon first so that once my Kenwood is turned on flour and sugar doesn't go everywhere as I don't have a collar on my bowls.
Pour into prepared tin.
Bake for 1 1/4 hours. Coll in tin for 5 mins before turning out onto a rack
Yumm iced with buttercream icing, however it's best to freeze uniced cakes and ice once defrosted.
Buttercream Icing
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2T milk
Beat butter until smooth.
Add sugar and milk in two batches until well combined.

Pineapple Rock Cakes
From The Australian Family Circle Favourite Cake Recipes cookbook.
2 cups self raising flour
Pinch salt
1/2 t mixed spice
90g butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup drained canned crushed pineapple 1/3 cup sultanas
4T syrup from pineappple
1egg, well beaten

Cut butter into the flour, salt and spice. I usually do this in the food processor.
Stir in sugar, then mix in pineapple and sultanas.
Add syrup to the egg and mix into dry ingredients.
Drop small rough heaps onto a lightly greased tray (I cover with baking paper).
Sprinkle lightly with some extra sugar.
Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

Would love to hear form you if you try my recipes.

Take Care

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Menu Plan May 26th - June 8th

I love pumpkin soup! Infact I love pumpkin full stop and love that it is in season again now.

Menu for this fortnight:

Thurs - Spaghetti Bolognaise and Garlic Bread
Fri - Going Out (my sister taking us out for dinner!)
Sat - Veggie Soup
Sun - Roast Pork
Mon - Impossible Quiche, baked potato and veggies
Tues - Chicken and Leek pie with mash potato top
Wed - Stroganoff meatballs, rice and veggies

Thurs - Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna (from Play Time Snacks on FaceBook)
Fri - Steak sandwiches
Sat - Pumpkin Soup
Sun - Roast chicken
Mon - Sausages and veg
Tues - Chicken tender burgers
Wed - Shepherds Pie

trying out some more Cake Mix Cookie recipes
Pineapple Rock Cakes
Choc Chip Brownies

I plan to boil up and chicken for the base of the veggie soup. I will then shred the meat and bag up into at least 2 meals. One bag will be used for the Chicken and Leek pie. The other will be for another meal another time. Then I'll be able to boil up the bones again for another soup! So at least 4 meals from one $10 chicken!

I am loving pumpkins right now. They would have to be my favourite veggie for sure. I usually add in some carrots and red lentils to my pumpkin soup. They help to add extra colour (especially if you use Queensland blue pumpkin) and lots of extra nutrients.

The Chicken tender burgers are a bit of a leftovers meal too. I bought chicken breast the other week and kept the tenders off them and out int he freezer. There isn't many for a meat based meal, but plenty for burgers.

The pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna is from the Play Time Snack page on FaceBook. This recipe has 8 different veggies in it! I use lots of Play Time Snack recipes so pop on over to their FaceBook page and check them out!

Take Care

Friday, May 20, 2011

Veggie Ladened Lasagne

Like many parents I have been trying to find ways to get my two toddlers to eat more veggie and to add more pulses into our meals.
So I thought why not bulk our a bolognaise sauce with some veg and lentils.

So I made my usual bolognaise sauce but added some finely chopped celery, grated carrot, finely chopped capsicum and a can of drained and rinsed lentils.

(sorry for the nighttime pics, flouro lights aren't too good for taking them)

It was yummo!!!!!
I served it with homemade potato wedges and a side salad.

My 20 month old greeted his plate with 'Mum yummy Mum!' and The fussy nearly 3 years old eat his all up too.

So do you want the recipe?

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed (we like lots of garlic)
2 sticks celery, finely diced
1 red capsicum, finely diced
2 carrots, grated
1 can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
500gm beef mince
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 jar Five Brothers Four Cheese pasta sauce (or your fave jarred pasta sauce).
Bechemel sauce
Lasagna sheets

Cook the onion for a minute. Add the garlic, then the other vegetables one at a time.
Add the mince, brown off.
Add the tomato paste and flour, cook off for a couple of minutes.
Add the jarred sauce.
Half to three quarters fill the jar with water and add in too.
Stir through the lentils.
Bring to the boil and let simmer for about half hour.
Season to taste.

Layer as you normally would for a lasagna and sprinkle with grated light cheese and some good old fake parmesan cheese (you know the stinky long life stuff).
Bake for an hour at 180C

I only baked a small lasagna. Mainly so that we wouldn't gorge ourselves on leftovers. I managed to only use half this sauce mix this way, so the rest is in the freezer ready for next fortnight.

Next time I make this sauce I will add mushrooms and grated zucchini to it too. I might try using low fat ricotta instead of bechemel next time too.

Take Care

Monday, May 16, 2011

Scrummy dishcloths, swaps and special parcels

Be warned girls this is a long post!

I had been contemplating crocheting my own dishcloths for a couple of days when I found this post at Rhondas Down to Earth blog.

You see for years I have always used the 'Wonder' type cloths which last for months then go into the rag bag for dusters once they are passed it for dishcloths.
Then a few months back our dishcloth went missing. It simply vanished and I didn't have a spare. So I grabbed an old face washer out of the cupboard and used that instead.
It did sure a wonderful job that I decided to keep using them. After a while they were looking pretty ratty (didn't help that I had a son who insisted on wiping the blade of my sharp knives so that it cut the facewashers grrrr he's learnt now luckily) so I needed to buy more.
That's when I happened along the idea of crocheting my own. I thought it couldn't be that hard. I had made my own pot holders a few years ago and dishcloths would be similar. I just wouldn't make them double thickness.

The post on Rhondas blog talked about a dishcloth swap so I joined up and started practicing.
I loved the look of the basket/waffle weave cloths so adapted a pattern from a couple of different ones I found on the net and this is what I came up with.

Doesn't it look so lovely???
I was very happy with it although the scalloped border was a little uneven and try as I might I just couldn't get it right.

So I thought I'd try a different pattern. One that didn't use as much cotton. This above one used a whole ball! Also one that I could do a plain edging too.
Here it is:
I didn't bother to block the dishcloths, didn't really see the point.
With this pattern I think I could get about 3 dishcloths to the ball too.

So I thought this would be a good pattern to use for my swap. It was stated in the 'swap rule' that we could add a couple of extra items to our dishcloth IF we wanted to so thought I'd make a set of three dishcloths in coordinating colours.
I chose citrus colours seeing as it's coming into winter here and these colours would brighten any kitchen.

Aren't they pretty?!

I hooked up a white doily to go with and then the parcel was ready to be on it's way to Nelly, my swap partner, come shopping day.

Well shopping day came and I could not for the life of me find Nellys parcel!
I hunted high and low all Thursday and Friday and could not find it.
I gave in and started a new set. Was half way through the last item and I found the parcel! It had fallen down behind a shoebox of embellies in my scrap room!
so guess who else has a set now??? Me!!!!!

The next day I received my parcel form Nelly. OMG it was so lovely!

Isn't it lovely?!
can't believe Nelly learnt to knit for this swap, she has such even stitches!
I have been using the soap and it's very moisturising. It's a facial soap so have go my pimply teenage son onto it seeing as he's been begging for pimple stuff that the budget just hasn't been stretching for lately.
The roundit's on my fridge,
and last week I used the dishcloth, which was lovely and thick to use.

Then of course I was addicted to hooking dishcloths wasn't I.
So thought I'd hook up a nice rainbow set for my dear friend Sam, who has needed some cheering up and I know would appreciate them.

Now wouldn't these just brighten your day?

Sam loved them but couldn't bring herself to use them as dishcloths so she's going to use them as facecloths.

If you've read this far WTG and thank you!
If this post has inspired you to make some dishcloths or facewashers then I'd love to see your work.

Take Care

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Menu Plan 11th - 24th May

Yep menu planning time again!

We managed to do a mini meat stock up this monday which has certainly helped things menu and budget wise.

we got 7 2.5-3kg Pork forequarter roasts for $3.99/kg!
Budget BBQ snags for $2.99/kg
and some beef mince 2kgs for $9.90.
Now there is some meat in the freezer!!!

I have found setting certain meals (with a bit of license) on certain days a so much easier to plan for.

So here's this fortnights menu:

T - Spaghetti Bolognaise & Garlic Bread
F - Steak, Baked Potatoes and steamed veg
S - Chicken and veg soup
S - Roast Pork and veg
M - Chow Mein
T - Special Baked Beans
W - Stroganoff mince, rice and steamed veg

T - Lasagne & Garlic Bread
F - Steak sandwiches
S - Veggie Soup
S - Roast Chicken and veg
M - Spare Ribs and veg
T - Chicken Casserole
W - Rissoles and veg

Linking along with:
The Organised Housewife

Take Care

Easter goodies!!!

Yeah I know a little late but I have been offline for two weeks changing ISPs. Now that is all sorted I will hopefully be able to blog more.

So this year I thought I'd love to have a few Easter goodies on the table for Easter weekend.

I saw this fab idea at Super Organiser Mum.

They are Easter eggs filled with double thick custard mmmmm.

But I had a decadent idea. I filled mine with homemade caramel. very rich but oh my! You could use a can of Top n Fill but I prefer to make my own caramel but simmering the whole can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water for 3 hours (or 7 hours in the slow cooker).

I found a recipe for Easter biscuits somewhere on the web but cannot for the life of me remember where.

The original recipe said to take arrowroot biscuits, perfect shape for Easter. Spread on with Top n Fill, then microwave a marshmallow on the other and then sandwich together.
I took it a step further and coated the biscuit sandwich with melted chocolate and sprinkled with 100's and 1000's. They are sorta like Wagon Wheels.
These were yummy, they didn't last long, but you couldn't really taste the caramel. Have decided I'll use raspberry jam next time.
I used just one can of caramel for the dozen eggs and a packet of arrowroots.

I just realised I never took a photo of the cupcakes I made :((((

Well I took a packet of Betty Crocker Vanilla Cake mix (on special at Woolies for $2.40 that's half price!!!) and made it up in mini cupcakes. That took forever as it made about 7 DOZEN!!!! mini cupcakes!
I iced as many as I could with the sachet of vanilla frosting that came with the packet mix (about half the cupcakes I think).
I then coloured some dessicated coconut with green food dye to look like grass.
I sprinkled the cupcakes with the 'grass' the placed a couple of mini speckled candy birds eggs onto so they looked like nests. The boys LOVED these!

Next year I plan to make a few other things along with something a little different for the filled Easter eggs.
I also want to start decorating a little for Easter too. So much fun!

Take Care