Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cooking under pressure


The other day I saw a huge stack of Bellini multifunction cookers in front of Target. Of course the black and sleek packaging and design caught my eye and I stood there having a look at what they were selling. It was an all in one pressure, rice, porridge, cake, steam and slow cooker. It was half price so I really couldn't resist. I plonked it in front of the pram and the toddler walked.

I tried it with rice yesterday and it was fine but wasn't happy about how loud it was as it let out the steam and it spurted rice water over the lid so it doesn't win any gongs in that department. However, I made 15min soy chicken for lunch today so I was really pleased with that. In fact, I don't know how I lived without a pressure cooker for so long! I use to cringe about how it would take me 30mins at least to make a meal and now I can go from frozen to the table in about 25mins. How awesome!

I made this soy chicken using 8 drumsticks, 1/2 cup soy, 1 cup of vegetable stock and set it to on-demand pressure. It tasted really yummy and the kids enjoyed the soft chicken and I spooned the sauce over their rice. Mmmmmm.


Last week I made this Lemon Syrup Coconut Cake freely supplied on the back of the caster sugar packet. I must admit it had too much butter but I went ahead and made it anyway. I think it turned out pretty good. The kids didn't like it though as it wasn't sweet. I liked it but couldn't eat it all by myself. It tastes really good with icecream though.



It came out moist and evenly baked for once. It was a bit too coconutty for me so next time if I make this I'll leave it out. For now I think we'll stick to chocolate cakes.

Hope you're having a good week. I've been nursing sick children and the baby is really clingy so nothing much is getting done. I'm looking to more pressure cooker meals to come. I'm a little glad it's Winter so I can indulge in soups and casseroles.

Send me your pressure cooker recipes if you have any or can recommend any good books.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I love Salvo's


I love that the Salvo's store is right next to the medical centre down the road, so on the odd occasion where I have to take a little one to get checked out, we pop over there for a little browse. I picked up this knee length skirt which I think would look great with boots and tights or it would be just a nice skirt for spring. It was a rather small size but I tried it on and it fit so for a measly $6 it came home with me.


It was a bit wrinkly but I'll just give it a wash and iron it out. It's a nice cream colour so I won't need to dye it but that's a good idea if you find something that's not in a particular colour you're after. I love that I can re-use something instead of buying from a store where I know that I can reduce wastage.

 

I also went to the craft bin and found these on top. I couldn't believe my luck. I can't wait to start on them so that I might have something pretty to wear come Spring time. They look like vintage McCalls pattern and the one on the right has a Junior size option. Ooooh.....

I also grabbed a zipper and I've used the pull bit to fix the missing one on hubby's jacket. It worked a treat so that saved me time and money on buying a new zipper and haviing the trouble of sewing it together. Go Salvo's!

Have you been op shopping lately?

I better go check on my lemon syrup cake. I'll tell you how it tastes later.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Everyone's a Winner Baby


This week I decided to make macarons and see what all the fuss is about. They actually don't require too many ingredients which is what draws me to make things from recipes. Anyway, these are the chocolate ganache filled type and I guess they turned out alright. They are very sweet though due to the icing sugar so I'm on the fence about whether I like them or not. They are quite chewy which is what I do like and the ganache is easy to make.


Here is a close-up of them. They didn't have 'feet' like real macarons and only a few puffed up. The rest of them were rather flat and some cracked. I think I probably undercooked a few of them. My brain is telling me they are too sweet but my hands keeps reaching for them. Hmmm.. But now I have macarons under my belt I can scratch that off the bucket list.

Yesterday I had some child free time (very rare) and I finished the lining of the jacket. This jacket project was dragging it's feet as I lost pieces of lining, didn't cut all pieces of lining and I was ready to leave it for next Winter but I pushed my procrastination aside and did bits and pieces here and there. The first time I did the lining I had no idea what Burda was trying to tell me. I tried sewing the whole collar and top edge all at once in a hurry to 'just-get-it-done' but that didn't work out well for me. So I unpicked it and realised what I had done wrong.

The self-facing piece (I think they call it) forms that rectangular shape under the collar. It was that scary piece I cut out at the beginning and wondered how it would sit after folded. Anyway, The (pink) lining piece fits in all the gaps and you hand stitch the lining to the collar. Urghhh. I wanted to avoid the pain of (my wobbly) handstitching but it turned out for the best... really. So now that I'm happy with the lining I can try to figure out where to put button holes, hand-stitch the bottom lining to the hem and we're done.

I recently discovered this little handy storage compartment in my machine. It's really easy to grab what I need without having to find the hidden sewing box. I think my other machine had it at the back but I never used it.

We've been enjoying lots of sunshine and a bit of warmth lately so I made tabbouli to go with some grilled chicken for lunch. Yummmmy!

Thankyou to the helpful coments about cutting down sugar in our diets. And the winners of the Natvia giveaway are... lol... all the comments in my last post! Yippeee, no-one misses out. Please send me your mailing addresses: Melinda, Cha-cha, Linny, Pam and Jennie (Posie Patchwork) and I'll have the great team at Natvia post out your goody. Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Natvia and a giveaway.


You know, since my fourth baby I've upped my tea/coffee/hot choc consumption.
I may not have noticed it a whole lot except that I still look a bit pregnant and I.am.not! So, as counting calories is not my thing (or anyone elses), I wanted to try an artificial sweetener but those things are just baaaad for you. Lucky for me I have now tried Natvia and I love it. It tastes great and will surely help my waistline.


Did you know that Natvia has 95% fewer calories than sugar, has no aspartame or saccharin, low glycaemic index, low carbs and is great for coffee and cooking! More importantly it doesn't have that icky after taste. I tried this Mocha Drinking Chocolate and it is delicious.


There's even a range for the whole family. I surely have to try the flavours for the kids. I have trouble getting my eldest daughter to drink milk so this is right up my alley. They're also having a Bake-off with some great prizes so go check it out: http://www.taste.com.au/kitchen/competitions/201/



So, would you like to try some Natvia at home? Sure you would. Just leave a comment with a tip about how you cut down sugar in your family/kids eating plan. I'll pick out the best 5 tips and Natvia will send out a cannister to you.
If you're stuck for some tips go here, another great website for tips to cut down sugar in your life using Natvia.

Giveaway ends next Wednesday. Australian residents only.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Janome 19110

















Meet my new baby, Janome 19110. Ok so maybe it needs a pet name but for now I sit at my sewing table in awe of her. She is a little bit of an upgrade to my current Janome 521 which has been having a bit of a tanty as of late. This one has 50 built-in stitches and 3 types of buttonholes. Did I mention they are automatic buttonholes! Awesome. There are the 7 piece feed dogs which should mean that my fabric won't get sucked under and hopefully will move much more smoothly AND the bobbin shouldn't get caught inside (unlike my old machine).

That being said there's not much else fancy about her as she was one of the bottom range of computerised sewing machines. You could get fancier but I know myself and I'm not running any type of sweatshop in my office I tell you. I am all about keepin' it real my friends (most of the time).



I started off trying a few stitches and trying the buttonhole foot.
It sewed the first two parts and then it stopped. My heart dropped. What just happened and why did it beep at me??? Then it had a BL message on the lcd screen. I've read about this before but I collected myself and read the manual.
I skipped the part where it said to pull down the Buttonhole Lever. Ahhhh, heart continues to beat steadily.




So now what? Time to finish off that jacket with those damn welt pockets!

















If you've ever tried welt pockets you will understand the trauma. I am not going there again any time soon. I'm just glad I was able to make it look decent by stitching in the shorts edges of the pockets. Arghh those pockets.

Let's just get a move on.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Qubies















What are Qubies? Apart from the cute name they are the best way to store breast milk, baby food and purees. They were created by Aussie mum Alexandra Wardle who was frustrated at not being able to get baby food out of cheap ice cube trays.

Since its inception, Qubies has been proud to be winner & runner up to a number of awards, including:

· 2010 Winner for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2010 for Nokia Product Innovation

· 2012 Runner Up for the My Child Excellence Award (feeding)

· 2010 Finalist in the AusMumpreneur Awards – category of Product Innovation

· 2010 GCGhOV Star of Excellence (Gold Coast Grapevine House of Vitner)


 

I love this picture because I make pumpkin soup all the time and it's a healthy and easy dinner or lunch for children (or adult).

How clever is this idea, freezing apple juice. You could freeze lemon juice to use in cooking at a later time when you're out of fresh lemons!

Passionfruit puree anyone?





I was lucky enough to try out a set of these great trays. I've tried the "ice-cube tray" method (rolls eyes) and I can tell you that it's very messy, the food dries up even with plastic wrap and it's not easy to get out a few cubes you need. With other cube methods I've found that the lid pops open and you won't have any of these problems with the Qubies. The soft silicon (BPA free) lid stays on! It has a flat bottom so you won't get any spillage either and it's nice and compact so it doesn't take up room in your freezer.

















I froze potato mash (our favourite) last night and was able to twist the tray (it separates the cubes) and pop out three cubes to feed my hungry 1 year old. It's so, so easy to use and easy to wash up as it's only two pieces.



After 45 (very long, leg tugging) seconds in the microwave, his breakfast was ready and he gobbled it up. It's so relieving to know there are quick no-nonsense plans for a busy mum who needs to feed their baby pronto.








I'm so happy to have a Qubies on hand in the freezer and will surely be getting a few more to save me time, money and tears. You really can't go wrong with having these in your freezer.

If you want to get yourself one you can find them on-line or local stockists here.