Tuesday, 31 July 2012


My lemon tree has not been my friend this fruiting season. I believe it has ONE green lemon on it so far, and that's it. Last year it had a good fruiting season, and I have been told they tend to do every 2nd year (damnit). Never mind, I ended up getting a big bag of lemons when I was at a friend's house not long ago. Her tree is far from short of lemons! So jealous.

My favourite thing to do with lemons is make lemon curd! And this recipe is awesome. My friend Nicola gave it to me, the same friend who gave me her brownie recipe that features on here which I also used in the base to the peanut butter truffle brownies too. She has some yummy recipes that lady!

Anyways, back to lemons, and more importantly - the curd! I haven't ever tried to make this with margarine, only with butter. I have a gut feeling that it won't work without the butter, and I do not want a failure with my precious curd. However, if you try it with a dairy free spread, please do let me know if it turns out!

Lemon Curd

4 eggs
zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
125ml lemon juice, strained
150g caster sugar (I just use normal sugar, it's fine)
100g butter

Lightly beat the eggs and strain through a sieve (this step is important, stops the bitty egg white bits you can get otherwise)

Combine zest, juice, butter and sugar in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Gently heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and butter melts.

Remove from heat and whisk in the egg. Place back over low heat, stirring constantly until the curd thickens.

You can then use the curd in baking, desserts or just as a spread. I jar mine, and have on toast or crumpets, and often make yummy muffins with lemon curd middles (I guess now I have mentioned that I better bake some and blog about them aye?)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Wow, just wow!

I cannot believe my blog has reached over 10,000 page views! That's amazing! Of course that wouldn't be possible without you guys, so thank you for making this worthwhile :)

Anyways, I made some biccies the other day. They are really quite yum, so I must share them with you as I don't often make biscuits. They were another pinterest find. I like soft biscuits as opposed to harder crunchy ones. And these fit the bill well. Taste-wise they were slightly lacking but texture-wise they were spot on. Hubby really enjoyed them too, so did the kids. So now to play around with the recipe a bit, but here is the recipe anyway.

Super Soft Choc Chip Biscuits

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (or just normal butter or margerine and omit the salt)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 180c.
2. Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in. Stir in flour, cornflour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Unusual Ingredients

Ok, so my friend Kim gave me this recipe. It sounded... interesting. Different. Odd! But hey, I thought I would give it a go, and frankly, it's bloody awesome! So YUM! The recipe is for Boston Buns... the unusual ingredient? Mashed Potato.

Boston Bun

1c cold mashed potato (sieved, or well broken down)
¾c sugar
2c flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1c fruit (I just used sultanas)
1c milk (rice milk, whatever)

Beat potato & sugar until creamy. Add rest of ingredients. Bake 30 mins mod oven, in 2 sponge tins (well greased). (I cooked them in a texas muffin tin, for about 15-20mins... next time I'm going to do them in a normal muffin tin).

Ice while just warm & sprinkle with coconut.

(I just made up a quick vanilla icing with just icing sugar, a dash of vanilla and a splash of milk)

And yep, I have been missing in action a wee bit lately. Busy busy, barely have time to think! Hoping things settle down super quick (if it does it means we have had some good news!) but I may not be blogging so much for a couple of months, we shall have to see!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Are you tough enough?

Apparently I am haha! Yesterday hubby and I did the Tough Guy n Gal Challenge - a very very muddy mud run out at Woodhill in Auckland. It was SO. MUCH. FUN! Seriously, I cannot wait until next year's one! It's not often you get to run around in muddy swamps. I even got stuck in one mud pit haha, DH was right behind me so he couldn't help, luckily I was able to get the attention of somebody to the side to help pull me out haha, was such a weird feeling plodding along and then suddenly you can't move! Crack up.

I mean, how much fun does that look? That's me in the red top, this is towards the end of the race (6km). Actually, that guy in the army cap is the one who hauled me out of the mudpit I was stuck in, thanks mate!

Anyways, that was my first running event (though it was less running, more scrambling!!). Don't know our official time yet, can't wait to find out - then we are going to try to beat it next year. Have also convinced my Dad and stepmum to do it next year too, so the aim next year is to also beat them haha, can't have the oldies (who are admittedly quite fit) beating us!

Next up? 10km run in October. Better get training, so far 5km straight running is about my limit, so 10km is pushing it haha! A 10km run has been on my 101 Challenges list, so that will get crossed off once and for all!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A Fun Filled Day

So it would seem school holidays are super busy in my house! Today I had 5 kids ranging in age from 1 to nearly 8. Had to think of a full days worth of activities that was suitable for the young ones but that I knew the older ones would enjoy too (and well, my older boys really do enjoy preschool activities still anyway, so it wasn't that hard).

Pinterest helped me out with some inspiration (not just for today but for future days too). I got our first main activity's idea from this blog Hands on as we grow - it has so many awesome activity ideas for preschoolers so I urge you to have a good look at their website. I'm going to get a lot of ideas from there I am sure.

So this first activity was using cut up egg cartons, with holes punched in each side, and threading them together with pipe cleaners. All the kids really enjoyed this, and continued to turn the activity into something else.

Mr 7 made a super long train, connecting a few pipe cleaners together, then added a piece of notebook paper and everything into the train. He then drew windows on the "carriages".
Mr 4 made the creation below... I don't think he even knew what it was meant to be, but hey, it kept him occupied for quite some time!
The 2yo's and the 1yo had fun stacking the egg carton bits, and sticking lots of pipe cleaners into each hole.

Overall a successful activity for all ages, putting their own spin on it. Great for their hand eye coordination and their fine motor skills.

We had a great time with water play after that, filling plastic tubs up with warm soapy water and getting out all my large spoons and measuring cups etc.

Later on we did some arty crafty stuff. Nice and easy, and for the American folk I guess it could be a good craft idea for the 4th of July, which is what it happens to be today, coincidentally... can say its fireworks.

AGES ago I bought this bag of shiny confetti for a couple of dollars from one of the dollar stores. It goes a long way, we have done these sort of pictures a lot, and I still have about 90% of the container left! So easy - the kids paint whatever design or blobs they want to on a piece of paper, then tip some confetti over it, and then shake off the excess. Makes a big mess but easy enough to vacuum up, and something even the littlies are capable of doing without much assistance.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Baking with the Kids

I swear, baking with the kids is like some form of punishment to me. The bickering over "it's my turn" "no, it's MY turn" really does my head in. Even though I am right there saying "uh, no, it's his turn", it all seems to turn into a bigger drama than it really needs to be! Is it any wonder I very rarely bake with my kids? I do it with the kids I look after a lot more often - they don't bicker stupidly like my own kids do haha. Much more civil. Plus, I get paid to do it, that compensates any hassles. But baking with my own kids in my own time, well, lets just say it's not something I like to do all too often! Baking is how I relax. It is far from relaxing sharing the fun with the sprogs.

Nevermind, I stupidly suggested we make gingerbread men, and tradition would have it that the kids help from the get go, not just the decorating. Damn, didn't think that through now did I?? Nevermind, we ended up getting through the activity without incident, and now I share with you what I think is the BEST gingerbread man recipe EVER. It has a strong ginger flavour, and I absolutely ADORE that. We are ginger lovers in this house. You could play down the ginger flavouring with less ginger if you prefer.

Note: this recipe makes a huge amount of dough, you could probably get away with halving it, which I think I will do next time! Good doing this many at Christmas time, but just randomly, well, it's a bit excessive! I made up 2 cookie sheets full, then we ate the leftover dough. Haha, yummo.

Gingerbread Men (and stars and whatever other shape you do....)

In a pot, melt together:
125g butter (or dairy free spread works fine)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup golden syrup

3 cups flour
2 Tbsp ginger and mixed spice (whatever combo you like, I tend to do roughly 1tbsp of each)
pinch of salt

Stir together with the melted ingredients

Dissolve together
1tsp baking soda
2Tbsp cold milk

Then add the dissolved ingredients into the dough and mix together. Leave the dough for about 1/4 hour, then roll out and cut into shapes.

Bake at 160*c for 10-15mins. Allow to cool for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack. Cool fully then decorate as you please :)

Now, for some reason my dough came out too sticky today. It didn't happen last time I am sure. I do not recall having issues with this recipe, but typically today I have. I could blame the kids, but really I was the one who measured everything so I'm not sure what happened. In the end I had to chill it for a while in the fridge and just used LOTS of flour to roll out, and they ended up perfect.

Now the fun part - decorating. This is where I let the kids go wild. We have icing pen tube thingies that are awesome for decorating gingerbread men, however as it is winter (icing isn't as soft) and the tubes are nearly empty, the kids found them a bit too hard this time. So they required a lot of assistance from us. Yes, hubby gets in one the decorating, we each decorate one gingerbread man each haha, then the kids get to go nuts decorating the other shapes with a basic icing made up of icing sugar, water and colouring, smeared on with knives. They get no assistance for that part! The pic above is Mr2 getting in on it, so it's an activity that suits all ages really.