Thursday, 24 May 2012


Was just wracking my brain trying to think of what I felt like baking yesterday. I wanted something I hadn't made in a while. Then I remembered a recipe I had been thinking about the other day - Orange Cake. Only I also had a hankering for chocolate. What does orange + chocolate equal? Jaffa! Yeah baby, I now have jaffa cupcakes in the oven.

I used this orange cake recipe, added cocoa, put them into muffin tins and voila, you have jaffa cupcakes. Would love to have been bothered to make them all fancy-like, and also to have jaffas on hand to plop on top but you know me, I just like to whip up what I can with what's on hand and stuff the presentation side of things 99% of the time! 

Orange/Jaffa Cake

1 large orange (you can boil it for 5 mins for a stronger orange flavour... I'm too lazy)
185 grams melted butter
3 eggs
1 cup sugar (3/4 cups-ish is what I used)
1½ cups self raising flour
optional 3 Tbsp cocoa to jaffa-fy it

Chop and puree the whole orange (yes, skin and all) in a food processor.
Add the butter, eggs, sugar and flour (and cocoa). Mix well.
Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 18cm cake pan, or muffin tin.
Bake at 180*c for approx 50 minutes if cake, or 15mins for cupcakes.

Jaffa Cake - Ice with chocolate icing (I don't measure this, just icing sugar, a knob of butter and mix to a spreadable consistency with milk or water).

Orange Cake - orange icing, plain vanilla icing, whatever floats your boat really.

The cake itself is more orangey than chocolately, and with the chocolate icing it seems to have the perfect balance, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out!

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Friday, 18 May 2012

Kicked my butt into gear

So, how am I going with my old routines for keeping my house (as per this blog post here)? Well, pretty good actually! I'm forced on my work days to get the house sorted asap which then makes every other thing so much easier. And because I am seeing it be so much easier on those days, it is motivating me to get my arse into gear every other morning too. I do get a bit slack with finishing my before bed routine - making sure the house is spic n span before I go to bed, but that will come with time.

And do you know what I did this afternoon? I actually tackled a craft project, something off my Pinterest craft board. Another couple of crosses off my 101 Challenges list.

It was a quick and easy one, looks kinda cool. Though not as cool as theirs. I think I need more practice. Though I don't have any more tops to cut up haha! I also used a women's size NZ 8 singlet, so its quite short. If I were to make another, I would go for a larger sized top - mine is more of a neck hugger than the one on the link provided.

Here is the link to the instructions

Would I wear it? Dunno haha, time will tell! I think it would look cool with my black roll neck merino top, so have to wait till it's cold enough to get into wearing that and see if I like it. Will I be brave enough to post a pic of it on? That we shall have to wait and see!!

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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bits n bobs

So I have been neglecting my 101 challenges list lately. It's something to think about again.

Completed 20/101, plus another 3 more ongoing.

I have noticed the gardening and craft ones are the ones really being neglected. I haven't done anything crafty since March - so much for at least one craft project a month lol. However, I have been going hard at the gym, so I have DEFINITELY been keeping up with that part of my list - at least 2x a week, well, I go a minimum of 3x a week, normally 4x. Going tonight, had yesterday off so I'm itching to get back there again. I am also still reading a lot. On average a book every 2 weeks-ish. But once I finish one book I find it really hard to get into the next. I'm between books at the moment, I keep picking up my next book but haven't gotten past the first page yet!

It's the crafty stuff I am missing. I really need to try to find time to do more of that. Harder now I'm working, my 2 days off are spent half at the gym and half doing housework. But I am sure I can fit it in, I just need to figure out what I want to DO. Time to browse Pinterest again!

Nevermind. Had SO much fun working yesterday. Did heaps with the kids. The highlight? Probably getting out pots and pans, wooden spoons and whatnot and the kids making a huge racket with that. Then we filled them up and got out some measuring cups and whatnot. Little Miss 2 (who I look after) especially loved the water part, whereas my Mr 2 particularly loved seeing how LOUD he could make the pot be! Note: a large upside down stock pot being hit with a heavy spoon makes a HUUUUGE noise haha.

What's in my oven right now you ask? Well, I just so happen to have just baked some Spaghetti Pinwheel Scones. My head must not be with it though, as I was making the dough I could tell something was different to normal. But what? I finally figured it out - I made it with only white flour, no wholemeal. I haven't done that in a LONG time. Slightly less healthy, but still fills the kids up aye!
Dinner tonight is Saucy Meatloaf. Yummy!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tasty Lunchbox Treat

This is only the 2nd time I have made these, and I don't know why I don't make it more often! It's sort of a cross between a cake and a slice. It's a flat cake really lol! You could nearly kid yourself into thinking it's healthy, as it contains vegetables! The original recipe calls them "bars" but I call it a slice. Call it what you like, it's YUM!

Carrot and Courgette Slice courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen

2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional, I haven't made it with walnuts yet as I don't keep them handy)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 180*c. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, honey, and vanilla. Don’t worry about clumps of the brown sugar, those will dissolve as it sits while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Then fold in the carrot, courgette, and walnuts
  2. In another bowl combine add the flour, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda. Whisk to blend together.
  3. Add to flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir just until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. (or I just used a square silicone cake pan)
  4. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  5. Ice with lemon icing

Now, the original recipe used cream cheese icing on top. Oh, and it's all prettily piped on. Well I don't use cream cheese icing for obvious reasons (it's not dairy free), so I just make up a basic lemon icing using literally just icing sugar and lemon juice (I eyeball it sorry, can't specify quantities). If you don't like the strong lemon flavour you can use less lemon and use another liquid (orange juice, water, milk, whatever).

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Gosh, haven't even started work yet

And already my life has been too hectic to blog lol! And I will only be working 2 days a week at this stage, it's not like it will be full on. Yet somehow I have been run off my feet. Go figure.

I did however find the time to bake some biccies the other night. Problem was, I was baking them over dinner time, and I was a lil distracted. The timer went off to say they are ready, and I checked them but they were a lil anaemic so I left them in there for a couple more minutes. Didn't bother resetting the alarm, surely I wouldn't forget in 2 minutes right? WRONG. 11 minutes later I had my "oh shit!" moment. However, aside from being a lil dry, they are still perfectly edible luckily!!

It's a recipe from my other fave cookbook - The Readers Digest "Grandma's Quick and Thrifty Cookbook". Classic recipe. Quick, easy and cheap to make - just the way I like it :)

Jam Drops

125g butter, at room temperature (I just used dairy free spread straight from the fridge)
1/3 cup (80g) caster sugar (or normal sugar..)
1 egg
1 cup (150g) self raising flour (or plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder)
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
1/4 cup (30g) cornflour
raspberry jam (or any jam really, I used plum)

Preheat oven to 180*c. Line two baking trays with baking paper (I found I only needed one tray).
Using electric beaterm cream the butter and sugar. Add egg and beat until well combined. Sift the flours and cornflour over the mixture, then stir using a large metal spoon until well combined.

Roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place on the baking trays (Mine were more like tablespoon sized haha). Using your thumb, make small indentations in the centre of each biscuit, then spoon about 1/4 tsp of jam into each dent.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then store in airtight containers.

VARIATIONS - Instead of topping the biscuits with jam, you can use a small item of confectionery, such as a 'freckle' or 'smartie' - or brush them with egg white before baking and sprinkle them with hundreds and thousands.

And in other news, my friend sent through a picture of her Herman baby, all baked. her family all enjoyed it too - she also made the classic Herman. This links to the start of Herman, and this links to my Herman all baked and yummy. - Just so you know what I'm talking about here :)

I think she did well, she was the only friend of mine who didn't manage to kill Herman (and I'm still yet to figure out what one of my friends did to kill hers, the other got attacked by ants so I can understand that lol!!)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Life is getting busier

I have decided to return back to work. Ok, it's only 2 days a week but it's a start. Anyways, I work with preschoolers, so I'm hoping to do more kid focussed posts because of it. We have decided to buckle down and save hard for the next year or so, so we can buy a house. I have always been a good budgetter, but I guess over the past few years we haven't needed to be as tight as we once did, so will be tightening up where we can to save faster.

One thing I have gotten a bit slack at, is making sure we use up left overs. And not just for lunches, but ideally make it stretch to another dinner. So keeping that in mind, when thinking of something for dinner the other night, I spied the left over bolognaise from the night before. There was certainly not enough left over to have spag bol again, or another meal like that. Normally I chuck it in toasted sammies for lunches, but I really wanted to use it for a dinner.

Then I remembered something I used to do with the left over bolognaise. Pizza! That's right, Bolognaise Pizza. The kids love it, it's reasonably healthy (minus the fact its covered and cheese and most of our family shouldn't actually eat cheese) and it's super cheap.

Just make up a base (my base recipe here, for a basic scone type base), smear over the bolognaise, and top with grated cheese and bake for 20-30mins.

Ok, not the most appetising looking pizza around haha!

And when we make spag bol here, we fill it up with lots of vegies. So that was 500g of prime mince, feeding 5 of us, for 2 nights. So, like, $2.50/night (averaged) for the meat portion of our meal... 50c ea. Can't get much cheaper than that!

What do we put in our spag bol? Well, onion of course, garlic, grated carrot, grated courgette, finely chopped spinach or silverbeet, mushrooms and if they are cheap enough then also capsicum too (though they haven't been cheap for quite some time I have noticed, so haven't been buying them often). Then of course the sauce is full of tomatoes. Lots of good nutrients in there!

Another thing I do with leftover spag bol is make bread cases, fill it with the bolognaise mix and top with mashed potato (or any mashed vegie). Then serve with a side salad or steamed vegies or whatever floats your boat. Harder for the littlies to eat though, so I prefer the pizza.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Such an easy dinner

I just have to share with you this recipe I found several months ago - it's not one we have often, but it is one of our kids fave's. I didn't think we would ever have Cabonara together as a family as generally it's full of cream, and that doesn't go down well with the lactose intolerant half of my family! But one day the Egg Guy came on tv making his easy carbonara recipe. And seriously, it's so quick, so easy and really yummy!

Easy Carbonara from The Egg Guy

Spaghetti or other pasta - enough for the number of people you are serving (I use spirals and macaroni... about 3 cups for my family of 5)
3 eggs (5 for my family)
2 egg yolks
½ cup freshly grated parmesan (or not)
½ tsp salt
3-4 rashers of rindless bacon (or double that! You could use chicken too)
Freshly ground black pepper
I also add an onion, diced

Cook pasta in plenty of hot salted water. While pasta cooks, combine eggs in a bowl and cook bacon in a deep pan.

When pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pan with the cooked bacon in it. Remove from the heat.
Pour the egg mixture over the pasta and gently stir to combine. Finish with a generous grind of black pepper. Leave to stand for 1 min.
Serve with grated parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley on top.

Optional - add in herbs, garlic, peas, onion to create your favorite carbonara flavours.

Dish it up alone, or with a side of vegies as I do, and nom nom eat up!

I also made another of the Cheap Chocolate Cake again last night. Last time I made it it came out really dense. I'm not sure what I did wrong, it was still yummy as, but this time it turned out how I expect it should have, and oh it's so good! Just made a basic chocolate icing for on top this time instead of the recipe that came with it, because it's easier. Yummo!