Sunday, February 28, 2010

Train Trip, Cooking & House

Yesterday (Saturday) was family day. I decided to take the Termites on a train ride to Kiama. Note to self: when something seems like a good idea, take note that it probably isn't. I mean, the weather was great, we did a few activities when we got there, but I just didn't realise how much I rely on a car and there was so much WALKING involved! It was ME who was very tired on the return trip home. I came home and had a nap.

The food markets were on so we looked there first. Then we went to the park for a little while. After the park we went and had lunch at the wharf at Barnaby's. We just buy the kids' pack of fish and chips. At the wharf the boys got to watch someone put their boat onto the trailer (that's a HUGE deal in our household... wheels, trailers, boats, wheels REVERSING, trailers REVERSING.... HUGE deal - is it a boy thing?)

After lunch we went and looked at the lighthouse and blowhole. The boys wanted to know if someone lived in the lighthouse cause they saw the door at the bottom. And the blowhole? Well the boys got to see the hole.. that's all. It wasn't blowing at all.

Although it was a very tiring day we all had fun and it was just nice to get the kids out of the house and do something different.

To sum up the day here's a picture of the Termites in front of the train:

Now onto Sunday...

I got up at 7am and got stuck into the housework. Did some washing, cleaned up the kitchen (didn't do it last night) and then did all four bedrooms - changed sheets, cleaned up each room, vacuumed and then folded and put away clothes. It took ages!

After all that it was time to cook!

Today I made Chewy Chocolate Sugar Cookies I found on My Baking Adventure. The mixture made over 40 cookies.

The other thing I made was Hummingbird Slice with Orange Icing. This is featured in the March 2010 issue of recipes+. I happened to have all the ingredients for this including the overripe bananas that had to be thrown away soon. So perfect!

Tonight's dinner is a yummy pork roast. I must remember the apple sauce I've got in the pantry.

Oh, and the big finale!!!

Drum roll pleeeaaase.......
The land has been levelled ready for the footings and then the foundations. I can't believe it! It's finally happening. Woohoo.... So now I'm going to have to go up every day to see the progress. And just to think that the other day I was so excited cause there was a port-a-loo on the block.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Keeping Kids Busy

Another fairly early morning. I got the Termites brekkie (pancakes of course), did some clothes folding and putting away (trying sooo hard to follow Flylady - would probably help if I read my email) and then thought I would get the wadding ready for my nephew's quilt.

Last night whilst reading another blog it was questioned how working mums and those with young children (that's definitely me) manage to spend any time doing anything creative. I found the answer to that. Here's what you do:

I let Termite 3 have some fun. He so enjoyed carefully making a track around the quilt. I even stopped pinning the quilt so HE could finish what he was doing. When he finished I took a photo of his achievements (at his request) and then told him I had to use some of the pins to finish pinning the quilt. He was fine with that.

So that's how I get to do anything creative.

Now since I've pinned the quilt (which I wasn't going to do until next weekend) I'm ahead of myself and I get to start quilting it next weekend instead - or maybe I'll start on Wednesday (that's my day off).

Oh, and amazingly... no cooking done today! Today it was about the quilts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rainbow Cakes

It's Saturday and I awoke at 6am. I lay in bed for an hour before getting up. I couldn't get back to sleep. So I started my day. I decided to start making the backing of my nephew's quilt.

It's called Tomato Mustard and is in yellows and reds. I really like this quilt. It came together very nicely. I have so many quilt tops made but no money to get them professionally quilted. This one I'm going to attempt to quilt myself!

I also like to try and find backing that matches the quilt top. I found this fabric at Spotlight a long time ago. It matches perfectly.

Tomorrow I will attempt to cut the wadding to size and then next weekend I will attempt to baste the quilt together.

Last night I made a heap more recipe cards like I made last weekend, thinking that I would make one or two of the recipes, but no, I was surfing the blogs and came across rainbow cakes. Termite 2 and Termite 3 have been drawing lots of rainbow pictures so when they saw these cupcakes they wanted me to make them. So I obliged.

Termites 1,2 and 3 helped put the decorations on once I had piped on the white ganache.

The fun part was getting to cut them in half to see what patterns occurred during the cooking process. I made them two ways; the first I just put blobs of cake mix into the patty cases and the second I tried to do layers.

I came across a wonderful idea for frosting by Steph of Cup Cake Project. She used this on her Basil Infused Olive Oil Cupcakes.

This is what they are supposed to look like:

But mine looked like this:
Now I'm determined to master Steph's frosting for future cupcakes. I'm guessing that white ganache is just not suitable for this method. I need a stiffer frosting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Day's Events

It's been raining here since Friday afternoon. We were going to go to the local show but the rain just hasn't stopped. Drag three boys around in the rain? I don't think so. All of the little towns are having their shows around this time so I do think there will be one we go to next weekend.

So the day begins with breakfast. I've tried to create moments for my boys for when they're older. So if someone said, "What do you remember about your mum?" They might say how I made them pancakes and milkshakes (nearly) every Sunday. My pancake recipe is something I've created after finding a dairy-free, egg-free version online a little while ago. Termite 3 has allergies although he is now growing out of most of them, but I really like how these turn out. Now look at those bubbles! I think it's a combination of the soy milk and baking powder. I've made these with just milk and they don't rise like this. How yummy do they look with maple syrup?

It's my turn for morning tea tomorrow at work. I thought I'd make a few things. I started the day by making Red Velvet Cupcakes. This version required buttermilk (which I already had in the fridge) and cake flour (which I had to look up). The recipe comes from Joy the Baker. She also provided a very yummy Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting.

So what is cake flour? To make your own you use 1-3/4 cups of plain flour (all purpose flour) to 1/4 cup of cornflour (cornstarch). That simple.

Now of course when I had mixed up the batter I had to have a taste. It is custumary in our house (as it was when I was a little girl in my mum's house) that once mixed, the beaters, spatula and bowl are shared amongst the children for a 'taste'. The texture of this batter was so very, very light. And the colour is soooo intense. I loved it!

I bought some disposable piping bags from the supermarket and I used these scrumptious cakes as an excuse for giving piping a go. I have to say that they worked out pretty damn well. Oh, and this is my first piping anything!

The next yummy thing I made was Choc Caramel Brownies from Spoonful of Sugar. These are pretty good too. Very chewy though so you either like that or you don't. See some of those holes in the brownies? That's where some of the caramels were as I was cutting the brownies up. They got pulled out from the knife!

So two things to take for morning tea isn't enough is it? I decided to make the Cheesecake Brownies I made a few weeks ago. This is so yummy. I'm afraid that I undercooked it though. We had a quick taste test and it just feels creamy to the palette. I think it will pass.

Let's make one more thing! By this stage the kitchen was a mess (photo to come) so I thought that one more thing would be OK. I've been looking at lots of cooking blogs (see yesterday's post for the links). I came across Crumb Cakes and then found a version for a Chocolate Crumb Cake. I made it up and made the mistake of putting it into a small round pan so there was a bit of a mess on the bottom of the oven. Oh well. It also looked like it had caved in the middle. Oh well.

My cooking adventures stop there so it brings me to the state of my kitchen. One must make a mess to be creative (or so they say).

Here's BEFORE:

and AFTER:
And not long after the clean up and the quick taste test of everything (I do believe my Termites didn't get a proper lunch todat) I then had to start cooking dinner. We enjoyed a roast beef tonight made into a beef stroganoff. I love the internet. I didn't know what I should do with it so looked it up. Love it.

A great day of cooking. No quilting though. Oh well...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend Cooking

The weekend has rolled by again and it's time to feed the Termites. I've discovered a few more blogs and will mention those in a moment. I made some cookies today for the boys. They were very simple. I found the recipe over at Lisa and Sarah's blog (see yesterday's post). These cookies are Custard Shortbreads. They melt away in your mouth. All this cooking is not doing my Weight Watchers ways any justice.

The other recipe I made today was No Bake Chocolate Cakes. It was in the Cupcakes, Cheesecakes & Cookies book. This is an easy recipe not requiring many ingredients at all:

5 x 60g Mars bars
50g butter
3-1/2 cups (120g) Rice Bubbles
200g milk eating chocolate, melted

Line a 12 hole standard muffin pan with paper cases.

Chop four of the Mars bars coarsely; cut remaining bar into slices.

Place chopped Mars bars in medium saucepan with butter; stir over low hear until smooth. Stir in Rice Bubbles.

Press mixture into cases, spread with chocolate; top with sliced Mars bar. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set.

Now for some blog sites. I've only just started exploring these as I came across a few last night. Check out Abby's Sweets and also Tempered Woman. I also have to add to the list My Baking Adventures, Gimme Some Oven, Megan's Cookin',

More cooking will happen tomorrow as I'm rostered on at work for morning tea; me and the other two support class teachers. We're first up so we shall set the bar high for those who follow.

Tonight I aim to start making the backing for my niece's and nephew's quilts. Will endeavour to get a photo of these up tomorrow. (Didn't happen!!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Recipe Cards

I really do like doing quilting but it seems cooking stuff is taking precedence since it is so much quicker. I like going over to Lisa and Sarah's site to see what they are up to. They cook some fabulous stuff so I thought I'd print out their recipes and make recipe cards so I've got them on hand.

My aim is to also make recipe cards for the main dishes we enjoy too.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Typing Test

I came across a site where I can test my typing speed. Since I actually went to TAFE and learned touch typing (and shorthand) I thought I'd give it a go. Here's my first attempt:

57 words


I also got this information too:

228 points, so you achieved position 21 885 of 126 403 on the ranking list

You type 312 characters per minute
You have 57 correct words and
you have 0 wrong words

OK, I'm doing it again!!

Damn, that time I made 2 mistakes and typed one less word. I'm not cheating.. Here's the results:

56 words


Got this info too:

214 points, so you achieved position 25854 of 126633 on the ranking list

You type 313 characters per minute
You have 56 correct words and
you have 2 wrong words

In the very short time between the first and second test another 230 people had taken the test! Doesn't anyone have a life?

Not doing much tonight, just looking at blogs. Have come across this blog that has tutorials on making stuff... and she has a real thing about making little hexagons. So clever! Makes me want to make something to cover my teacher diary.

Go check it out. Go to Lettie's blog.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Exciting News!!

Just when I thought I'd have nothing to really report on cause school has gone back and who really wants to know about school stuff, I got a confirmation today that my house should start getting built within the next 20 days! Wooooohooooo!!!!! This has been a looong time coming. Here's what it's going to look like (a few little changes and/or additions):

It will have five bedrooms, three bathrooms (OK one main bathroom and two ensuites), I will have my own living area AWAY from the Termites that I can shut off from them, my kitchen will have caesar stone benchtops and the other splurge is the air conditioning.

So yes, over the next few months I will be posting the building of the house cause, at the age of 40, this will be very first house as I've always rented.

The termites can't wait cause as they say about the house we're in now: "it's getting little" (I guess tho' they are just getting bigger!).

I'm so excited.... and I just can't hide it....