The adventure of trying to make a house a home that we built for our family of six plus some craft, home d├ęcor, recipes & any family fun we might have.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas


I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope that you enjoy the time spent with family this holiday season. Tomorrow I'll be celebrating with my children, husband and a few of my extended family members which I'm looking forward to. I'm praying that GOD blesses us all tomorrow with cooler weather and that in the coming year he'll bless each and everyone of you.


I thought I'd share a few of our treasured Christmas memories from this year and I'll hopefully see you in 2014. This holiday season I'm looking forward to spending more time with these little people because they grow up so quickly. My eldest daughter is off to school next year and my other daughter is starting kindergarten. This means that after nine years of been a mummy I'm going to have my baby boy all to myself two days a week while everyone else is off learning. I'm going to have to get organised and plan some fun things because before you know it he'll be off to school and I'll before you know it I'll be all alone.\



Thank you for all your comments this year and all the support you have shown me I really appreciate it and I'm grateful for your continued support. I'm taking the time over Christmas to think what my family's needs are for next year and that might mean that my blog takes a backseat for a while. However, I will let you all know whats going on in the New Year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe this holiday season.

Megan

Friday, 20 December 2013

A Crafty Christmas - Christmas Tree

I'm participating in a fun crafty challenge with Emily from Nap-Time Creations today. She's hosting different bloggers who are sharing things that they've crafted, sewn or cooked to help celebrate the meaning of Christmas. I signed up for Decorations from the recipe category. If you've visited here before you'll know I ENJOY cooking so I thought I'd challenge myself by making a decoration.


I can't believe it'll be Christmas soon and I've still got a heap of work to get done before the big day. This year I was planning on spending the day at home celebrating with the children instead of cooking up a family treat to drive for over an hour to meet up with our extended family. Now don't get me wrong I love that the kids get to see their grandparents and cousins but with the amount of traffic and the fact I don't get time to relax. So this year when I found out my parents were travelling to visit my sister and her family I knew that staying home would work perfectly for us, that was until this morning.

My youngest sister is moving out of home just before Christmas so I invited her over for lunch, easy right. I'd planned a simple menu of fruit, turkey, salad followed by Pavlova and maybe a drink especially if it was an extremely hot day. Well I'm now having to change my plans up a bit because my sister has told me that she's asked my brother and his girlfriend to come too. Now don't get my wrong, I'm not upset I have just realised that I'm going to have to be more organised as he's having to travel back home to his girlfriends place that afternoon for her families celebration. So I'm now thinking a light lunch with cold turkey and salad followed by a Shortbread Christmas Tree which will also be a table decoration. Thank you Pinterest.

To make the shortbread biscuits I used the same recipe from here but you could also use this recipe that I made last Christmas. Now to make it a little bit more special I added about a quarter cup of crushed candy canes which were leftover from the Candy Cane Bark earlier this month. So after making the shortbread dough I rolled it out and I shaped into star's. Now because I'm creating a tree I used three different sized cookie cutters to get the three star shapes.


Construction
There are few things that you can do with your shortbread biscuits to make them stick together but I wanted the bits of candy cane to be visible so I went with a minimal approach in order for the little bits of red to stand out. you could use a simple cake icing and spread it over each biscuit, place on top of each other and press down so they glue together. The method I used was to melt a small amount of white chocolate, place a small amount on your largest star, place another large star on top and press down gently so that it sticks. Keep building with the various sized stars.


When it's the way you want it place it somewhere safe so that the chocolate can harden completely. I made this while the kids were at home and I found it somewhat difficult because they stood on top of me so close that it was squashy. When I put the tree together, I had four sets of eyes watching closely this also caused a few issues when taking photographs but I finally bribed them with leftover shortbread and I got a few good pictures.


As you can see from the looks on their faces they really like the look of the table decoration so I'm sure that when I make these again on Christmas Eve the children will probably eat these first before they eat the food from their plates. My two year old loves shortbread so much that he asks for more every time I give them some for morning tea. Now that I'm having nine people for Christmas lunch I'm thinking I'll make two tree's and make them the centre pieces on Christmas Day. So do you use food to decorate your table or do you use a beautiful tablecloth and other traditional items to decorate your table?



Megan

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Thermomix

Let me started by saying that I'm not a Thermomix consultant, this isn't a sponsored post in any way shape or form,all opinions are mine and I haven't been compensated in any way. Last week I purchased a Thermomix and it arrived in my kitchen yesterday morning. My consultant ran through things with me, showed me how to make a stock and then she left me to play with my machine.

I spent about ten minutes looking through the cookbook that comes with your machine and there were a few things that caught my eye. One thing I loved straight away was the number of Gluten Free recipes that were included in the cookbook, so menu planning should now be somewhat easier. When my machine arrived I hadn't planned on making anything in it for are few days as I was a little scared that I'd make a huge mistake and the recipe would be ruined. However, I lasted about five hours before I cracked and I make the kids something for afternoon tea. I had a bit of leftover berry sorbet from my demonstration and I wanted to give it to the kids before it got freezer burn so I refreshed it a bit and added two apples to make it like a Slushie. This was a hit with all the kids which was a good start.

As many of you know I'm presently doing Weight Watchers so I've been getting all our meals from various cookbooks so that I can plan and track my points for the entire week. I planned on having '5 Spice Chicken with Noodles' for dinner last night. I'd had a couple of glasses of cordial during the day because my blood sugar level had dropped so our planned meal was going to need adjusting because the meal was 10 points per serve. After a quick look through the Thermomix cookbook I choose Apricot Chicken Risotto as it had a few vegetables in it that I could hide from the children and they were more likely to eat it. Twenty minutes after turning the Thermomix on I was serving dinner to the children and I'd even included five vegetables that they couldn't see and they ate it up without too many hassles. In our house that's a win because I usually always have ONE child who refuses to eat what I've made.

Now because they had eaten all their dinner without complaining I made decided to make them Chocolate Custard while they had their bath. This also allowed me to surprise them and instead of having to drink their nighttime milk in a cup I was able to give them the custard and a spoon so that they could still get their daily serve of calcium. So far I've used my machine three times today and I know that is unusual but so far I'm happy with the way things have gone. I was able to make dinner and dessert within thirty minutes and everyone ate it.


So when it comes to planning next weeks menu I know I'll be consulting my new cookbook and Pinterest to see what other great Thermomix recipes I can find on the Internet. I thought I'd share a few pictures I took of our dinner, now keep in mind that these photo's were taken quickly and moments before the children got their hands on their bowls. So I apologise for the bad photographs but like I said I had to hurry to get them taken so staging wasn't an option.

I'm going to continue to have a play around the the Thermomix for a few more months before I review it and I'll give you the pro's and con's as I see it. So do you have a favourite appliance so do you enjoy chopping and dicing things yourself.

Megan

Monday, 2 December 2013

Candy Cane Bark

Christmas is twenty three days away and I've been a busy bee making Christmas ornaments, helping the children write out their Christmas cards and organising the last pieces of the teacher's gifts. Mackenna's kindy teacher loves chocolate, all the mother's know this so you can imagine how many chocolate bars she's going to receive in the next two weeks. Mackenna and I spoke about what chocolate to give Karen, however many of her suggestions were expensive therefore out of the question.

I'd recently visited one of my fellow Aussie bloggers and on this particular day Corrie talked about her love of Peppermint Bark thanks to Pinterest. It got me to thinking that this might be the be the ideal present for a lover of chocolate. So I followed Corrie's directions as I loved the look of hers but I did something different. Wait for it, I added CANDY CANES. The kid's had picked up at least fifteen of them at a recent event and I just didn't want them eating all that sugar in the lead up to Christmas so they were ideal to use for Karen's Christmas gift.
Now I was really happy with the way my Candy Canes turned out, especially after I'd spent an hour trying to crush the candy inside a plastic bag. My plastic bag and rolling pin method failed because the candy was soft and it just stuck together. I was fortunate enough to be having a Thermomix demonstration and she was able to produce the slivers that I wanted. To stop them from sticking together I just refrigerated them overnight and then banged them with the rolling pin before I sprinkled them over the top of the chocolate.

I'm really happy with the way my Candy Cane Bark turned out and I have to say that it was extremely easy. I will definitely be making this again as the children get a heap of lollies at Christmas. When Mackenna gave her present to Karen she was surprised to learn that I'd made the Candy Cane Bark for her. I'm really happy with how the gift looked and I know that Mackenna was smiling from ear to ear when she walked into kindy with her gift. For my first attempt at Chocolate Bark I'm really happy with what I created, so much so I've hidden some in the refrigerator. Shh don't tell anyone.

Megan