Monday, October 31, 2011

Menu Monday Linkup - Can't be Farked Edition

We all want to provide healthy, tasty meals for our family, but lets face it - there are times when the fingers start itching and you're tempted to dial a pizza.
In the interests of avoiding forking out $40 and feeling a helluva lot more virtuous, here are some meal ideas we use in our house that require very little preparation, and end up tasting much better than the semi warm KFC burger!

1 - Cheats Fried Rice.

We prefer brown rice, but the time it takes to cook puts me off. I use the 'pouches' of rice that you pop in the microwave. OK, so they may not be economically a great idea, but when you want a quick accompniament to a meal they are SO easy!
Pop the rice in the microwave for suggested cooking time, then pour into a container and stick in the fridge whilst preparing other ingredients. You can throw in whatever combination of veggies you like, we use capsicum, peas, and carrot. Fry an egg, a chopped onion and a couple of slices of bacon (or you can use ham). Chop up and add all other ingredients and pour in cooled rice. Toss until warm and cooked through. I also add some ketcap manis (sweet soy sauce) for a nice tang.
This is not my version, but looks pretty close!
If you in a slightly more energetic mood, you could cook up some BBQ pork and slice over - I use the bottled Char Sieu sauce - 20 mins in the oven is all it takes!

2. Fish and Vegetables

A pretty obvious one, but it disappears from my kids plates in a flash and requires very little time and effort. Grill or pan fry your fish fillets, cut up and steam your favourite veggies, and pour over some cheese sauce (packet or home made.)

3. Slow Cooked Corned Beef.

OK - so this one takes some planning to KNOW that you will be in a CBF mood. Cut up a few carrots, halve an onion and dot with cloves. Add it to your slow cooker with your beef, pour in a little brown vinegar and brown sugar. Cook on low for about 7 hours. Serve with peas, mashed potato and a white sauce.

I've cheated a bit today for Kate's Menu Monday, in that I have not actually posted a recipe, but hopefully have provided a little inspiration for the days when the last thing you want to do is cook!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Things my Nose Knows

     My nose knows that thanks to the wonderful team at Air Wick and Soup, I have been sniffing my little heart out -

One of the three fabulous fragrances.(Image source)

     I know that coming home to a clean house is great - coming home to a 'stale' house is not. That's where Air Wick Aqua Mist can help! In a huge 345ml bottle and a clever metered pump spray, you will be able to keep your home smelling fresh for ages!
I know Aqua Mist is available in three different fragrances, and I had trouble deciding on my favourite!

Wild Lavender and Mountain Breeze is great for freshening up any space you want to maintain an atmosphere of calm in. Bedrooms, studies you name it - one spritz an hour or so before bedtime will have you snoozing soundly.

Fresh Waters - is not a floral fragrance; has hubby's 'man cave' become a little too lived in? Does the smell of used running shoes hit you every time you venture past? Eradicate the problem with Aqua Mist's Fresh Waters fragrance; your nostrils will no longer be assaulted, but he won't complain it smells like a florist shop in his hideaway!
Magnolia and Cherry Blossom - sweet but not 'sugary' I said goodbye stale and hello to exotic with this fragrance. I know this became a quick favourite with my girls, a word of warning though - if you want a fresh home and not an overpowered one, don't let your 5 year old loose with this one!

     I know Air Wick Aqua Mist is versatile and safe enough to use on most fabrics, so freshening up your sofa or chairs is a breeze. I also know that one spray goes a long way which makes for great value for money.

      Lastly I know that you should check back in soon to learn how you could WIN your very own Air Wick Aqua Mist pack!!

     Come and share all the things you know with Yay! For Home today!

** No payment was offered or accepted for this review. I received 3 cases of product for the purpose of trial, review and soon - a giveaway!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Plane Spotting

A bit of Plane Spotting on a glorious spring day.....

...... Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Melbourne, it is currently a sunny 20 degrees.......

You will have the opportunity to observe the locals at close range -

But just before we land.......

You will note the wussies who thought it was 'a bit loud' to get out of the car!!

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys today, come and play too!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Countdown to Christmas - #1

With only a handful of weeks to go before the man in the red suit arrives, I thought I would share some of the things that have helped me really enjoy this time of year.

This week, in the interest of trying this out before serving to guests (because you will REALLY want to !) I am sharing the recipe for this Choc Cheesecake loaf.  It does require some preparation, but it is SO worth it, and if I can manage to knock it together, you will breeze through it!

                               Make Ahead Choc-Cheesecake Loaf
                          * From Super Food Ideas Dec/Jan 2005 edition

Find more inspiration HERE

1 250g pack Unibic Sponge Finger Biscuits
350g cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
2 x 50g Violet Crumble bars, crushed
3/4 cup mango nectar
200g good quality dark chocolate, broken into squares
100ml thickened cream

1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Beat in sour cream. Stir in Violet Crumble.
2. Line base and sides of a 7.5 cm deep, 8 cm x 26 (base) loaf pan with baking paper, allowing a 3cm overhang on both sides.
3. Dip biscuits, one at a time into nectar. Arrange in base of pan, trimming so base is completely covered. Spread with one-third of the cream cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice. Cover. Refrigerate overnight.
4. Microwave chocolate and cream in a heatproof microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes on Med-High (70%) stirring every minute with a metal spoon, or until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes.
5. Turn loaf onto a platter. Pour over chocolate sauce.

Serves 10

   At this stage I get lazy because I can't wait to eat it - so instead of making the chocolate stars I crumble one white Flake over to look like snow. It is very rich, so for that extra hip padding goodness, serve with chilled whipped cream.

If you are super talented, here are the directions to make the stars;

1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Empty a 375g packet of milk, white, or dark melts (or use 100g of each in three different batches) into a heatproof, microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on HIGH (100%) stirring every 30 seconds with a metal spoon, or until melted and smooth.
2. Spread chocolate over prepared baking tray. Allow to set at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes or until surface no longer looks wet.
3. Using different sizes star cutters, cut stars from chocolate. Refrigerate until set.
4. Drop a small amount of melted chocolate onto centre of each star. Gently press a sparkling cachous onto chocolate. Refrigerate until set.

* Make sure you really drench the biscuits in the nectar, almost to the point where they are falling apart. Otherwise they dry out too much.
*If you want to reduce some of the calories and fat content ( a bit redundant in a recipe like this but what the hell!) Use light cream cheese and sour cream. It doesn't affect the consistency, but make sure to use proper thickened cream in the sauce.
* Left over mango nectar makes GREAT mango Bellini's - just fill one third of a champagne glass with the nectar, and top up with your favourite sparkling white!
* Watch every ones face light up with delight when you serve this and crow loudly to anyone who will listen "I made it myself"!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A History of Shoes

Once upon a time I had a shoe addiction. Not exactly Imelda Marcos size, but enough that you would have to drag me kicking and screaming out of the shoe store. When you are a short arse vertically challenged, like me, things of beauty like these leave you drooling.......

Come to Mama sweetheart! (source)

During my late teens and uni years I owned many a high heel - especially when I met my future husband - who happens to be pushing the six foot mark. Hubby could care less about shoes - in fact standard issue for him would be something close to this;

At last count he had four pairs I can't tell apart! (source)

Of course, when you become a parent your priorities and disposable income change drastically, these days you would be more likely to find these on my tootsies....

Sad, I know but SO comfy ;-) (image credit)

Right now I have to live vicariously through blogs like Fox in Flats and
Retromummy . They remind me that I have no style any more, but one day I aspire to these again .........

If any or all of the designers above would be willing to send me a pair, I would humbly accept the challenge of wearing them in all manner of inappropriate places (kinder pick up anyone?) - and wearing those killer spikes to a stub in as little a time as humanly possible!

What is your fashion weakness? How do you indulge it?
Drool fest here   !!


 I am happy to be flogging at Where's my Glow? today, cos these pretties NEED to be shared!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Knit one Purl one

Thanks to my friend Jess, I am learning to knit! Don't know if I'll ever be able to do this kind of stuff - but they are SO CUTE!! Enjoy!

Source: via Tricia on Pinterest

Source: via Joke on Pinterest

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys to share some cuddly toy love on Wordless Wednesday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Singing and Pinning - So Sweet!

I will admit it - I have a sweet tooth! Not a good thing when you have two kids birthday parties to attend on the one day. In honour of all things sweet and sugary, you have never heard "I want Candy" sung like this! .....

While you are drooling (or trying to stop your teeth from aching!) over these, jump over to 5 Minutes just for me, and see what everyone else has found this week!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Workin' 9 to 5

Eight years ago I was working in a job I hated - it was high stress, long hours and subsequently led to me becoming run down and being diagnosed with Glandular fever.

With a new mortgage and a looming wedding I found myself with no job and a bank account that was dwindling fast. Hubby and I married in the November of 2003, and by New Year 2004 I was still jobless. In the classic "it's not what you know but who" style I asked hubby if they might consider interviewing me for a sales position at his work. At that time he had been there for about 5 years and I had never heard him once say he hated the job or didn't like working for the company.

Getting the balance right!

Fast forward to today and I have been there for nearly eight years. They have accomodated two lenghs of maternity leave, a change in position from sales to admin and allowed me to job share so I can still have quality time with the girls.

I know how lucky that makes me in a world where a lot of mums have to make the choice between 'all or nothing' where reutrning to work is concerned. So today I am thankful that my employers took a chance, employed me when there was no job actually available, for privacy's sake I won't mention them by name ( the boss HATES facebook etc and anything related to it!) But send karma out to them as a great bunch of people to work with!

Linking up with Kate today 'cos I'm grateful that I've got the day off!!

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