Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Christmas.
And a happy and blessed new year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Anything with crushed candy canes in the batter at this time of the year is a good thing. Plus earlier this year I fell in love with mocha cupcakes. So when I saw this recipe, I just had to try it.

Mocha Chocolate Goodness
Candy Cane Fun
Ready For The Oven
Lots Of Little Goodness
Super Sweet Treats

I found the recipe here. And by no means went 'all out' as you will see if you click on the link. I did a simple butter icing with peppermint essence. Sprinkled crushed candy canes on top with a M&M to top it off.

They were lovely. I guess we are always our own worst critic. The only thing I would change is to make them in bigger paper cups. They were about a 2 to3 bite size, but not big enough to really enjoy the cake underneath the icing. I like to have the mocha flavour come through more, so next time I would use less peppermint in the icing, if any. Or a stronger coffee in the mix. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Candy Cane Biscuits

A soft cake like dough that transformed into some soft tasty cookies. Although I think I got way too excited about taking them out of the oven that they needed just that little longer to harden up.

Sadly these cookies were never given the opportunity to become what they were meant to be. They were soft and unless eaten straight from the fridge, flopped and broke apart on attempt to consume.

These were extremely tasty though. Another fantastic chocolate cookie with real candy canes crushed and mixed through the batter. Then some more on top just to top them off. I look forward to trying these again hopefully with some more crunchy success.

I did have to stand guard to keep cheeky little boys from trying to swipe them off the tray just out of the oven :-)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cookies For Santa Recipe

In my mind these are officially one of the yummiest 'true American' style cookie recipes. I made these into Cookies For Santa Jars and gave them out as gifts this year. Here is the recipe for those who are chasing it.

Ingredients & Method
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup & leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oats
3/4 cup m&ms
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Stir all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then add the following:
1 slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup butter (melted slightly in the microwave)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Use the back of a large spoon to work it all together. You may even need to use your hands to get everything incorporated. Then roll the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Adapted from the super creative Bakerella


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Candy Cane Reindeer

Christmas crafts, oh so fun. The boys had a great time making these Candy Cane Reindeer. I guess they look more like funny little characters that escaped from some crazy Christmas kids TV show with over sized bells. But they were fun and we had all the supplies handy... so why not? And it was lovely for the boys to have the opportunity to give something to the ones they love, that they had made all by themselves. 

To make they are pretty self explanatory but here is the link if you need more details

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas In Our Home 2011

Part of the dining table centerpiece...
Love IKEA Christmas goodies.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Harvest Time

A few fresh goodies from the garden. 
Aston likes eating the cherry tomatoes straight of the vine. 
Jonah likes chewing on the shallots and chives.

The beefsteak tomatoes will be ripened inside to make sure I don't lose the fruit to pests. The smaller ones are closer to an average size tomato in the shops.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cookies For Santa

I saw these at Christmas 2010 and have waited a year to be able to make these gorgeous homemade gifts. A jar labelled 'Cookies For Santa' filled with the ingredients to make delicious and truly American Christmas cookies. I think they might be called cowboy cookies... You need Christmas M&M's, so as soon as I found some at the shop I stocked up.

I will be honest, they were time consuming and after all that effort you really only want to give them to those who will appreciate it. But that is what gift giving is about: giving your time and effort to show your appreciation to those special people in your life.

I am so pleased with the result and look forward to handing out these special gifts. I will put a post up with my Christmas cookie results and the recipe. With 2 types of sugar, choc chips, m&m's, these are a real treat if you manage to save any for more than a day once they get out of the oven.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wool n Wire Christmas Craft

Christmas Craft #2 as seen in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It was very hard to photograph because I used quite dark wool. After 3 hours of wool winding this is the result.

Simple enough to do, just time consuming. Shape some bendy wire into a word and wrap wool around and around, and around and around....

Friday, December 2, 2011


I go through phases with my shells. There are times that I like to collect particular 'types' of shells. At the moment I love the look of these types of shells. I wonder if God gets bored and decides to make new colour schemes with His shells. I have seen alot of chocolate colour shells lately. Although I think that it is simply because I go through these phases with the shells and don't notice the others that I am not interested in at the time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gingerbread House

To celebrate the forth coming Christmas season of 2011, I thought I would share some photos of the gingerbread house which I made last year, Christmas 2010.

The gingerbread was made from scratch. I have never been a committed biscuit baker, especially in our 30+ degree heat summers. You need the gingerbread to be nice and firm for the house. Mine was just ok, just a little soft but it made it to the Christmas party without collapsing. I guess the secret is all in getting the thickness of the biscuit just right. 

This was also my first play with royal icing, Got the hang of it pretty quickly and was well underway. Great for concealing any flaws. This stuff is great, I love the roof shingles.

I really loved decorating the house. I love the holly effect and the bunting with m&m's. I also saw the candy canes on the angle from another picture and thought it was such a fun effect. Candy cane light posts, who didn't love the thought as a child? Marshmallow snowmen, complete with orange jelly lolly 'carrot' nose. And how cool are a ice-cream candy ice poles from the roof?

And fancy having to actually take the constructed piece of lollie art on a 20 minute car ride. I must have been crazy. lol.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spring time in the veggie garden

My beefsteak tomatoes are growing larger than oranges. I let Jonah take a few to pre-school for show and tell. We are getting a nice supply of eggplant which I have never been able to grow this size before.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Whole Orange Cake

There is nothing like making a mistake with my online food shopping order and ending up with 9kg of oranges on my kitchen bench... so apart from lots of fresh orange juice.... I had to explore the world of orange cooking. 

And what better way to use up oranges than with a whole orange cake, skin and all. This recipe is taken from my favourite cooking site Taking all of the recipe notes into consideration, I also added a little milk to the puree process to get the oranges as smooth as possible. 

The result is a delicious fresh orange cake. 
A nice dense and moist texture. But still slightly spongy. I must have a super sweet tooth though, the bitterness of the skin still came through for me just a little, so I overcompensate with enough icing 'on the side' to make up for it IF needed. The icing was a simple butter icing mix with orange juice for a nice orange flavour.

Tip: this cake freezes perfectly ~ seeing it is not fitting for anyone's waistline to have whole cakes sitting around in the kitchen, I generally cut them into 3rds and freeze into perfect size portions for coffee+cake visits. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Christmas Crafts ~ Snowflakes

Christmas is a great time of the year, especially great for baking lots of yummy treats. Now that my youngest boy is 2 1/2, I now have the time to get a little more creative than I did last year. And so... 
....the Christmas Crafts have begun.

I'm going to start with the less challenging of crafts and work up to the more involved. These are snowflakes made out of ice-cream sticks. They are around 50cm in length and I just copied any type of snowflake shape that I could find on some of our old Christmas cards. I think I am going to spray paint them a red gloss, but for the time being I am enjoying the natural look.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

Set a plate of these on the table and if you are surrounded by sweet lovers, be sure to move fast as these won't last long. 

This recipe can be found on, which is my go-to site for any recipe I would be searching for. When you find a good thing you stick to it. 

I can't say I am a HUGE fan of peanut butter BUT these are still a tasty treat. Well and truly for the peanut butter lovers. The base to this brownie is brilliant though. It had the right amount of crunch and goo. I think this might be a stable base for any brownie I want to attempt. I think I will try chocolate chunks with roasted hazelnuts... I want to try a Christmas brownie too; I'm thinking pistachios and dried cranberries with coconut. Would glazed cherries work? Would love any feedback...

Monday, October 10, 2011


I came across a situation the other day where I was challenged with the thought of should I be 'doing more?'
I went through a few struggles in my mind and am really happy with the result. Until this point in time it hadn't occurred to me that I am very content with where I am in life at the moment, and who I am.

So it may just be for a week, a month or a year... things change, life changes. But right now, I am content. I don't want anything more, I don't need anything more and life is simple. I have all I need. *Do read the fine print. I see my life as a pathway through this world till death takes me to the next. So I can put a drop-pin on this point in the path to say that these are good days.

Fineprint: I do have a 2yr old and 4yr old boy: so in no means is life not full of tense and testing moments daily... maybe hourly? 

Friday, September 23, 2011

M is for Mocha Cupcakes

I have missed baking but with a baby shower to prepare for, I was happy at home in the kitchen once more.

There is just one simple word to describe these - Y U M !

Made with melted dark chocolate and coffee powder, I was unsure how these were going to turn out. The mixture was very runny and I wondered if they were even going to rise. Sure enough within the last 15 minutes of cooking they came to form. I made them regular cupcake size.
My cupcakes were made with chocolate butter cream icing as I felt this would be better for the look I wanted.

Here is the link to this delicious recipe

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Have you heard this Old Wives Tale?

"Hold your ear!" is what I yell to someone when they have just burnt their fingertips. It is quite funny for me to think about. And the usual reaction to me is a raised eyebrow and 'what the?'.

My Oma told me this fantastic old wives tale. And if you are reading this, you so have to try it.

Whenever you burn your finger or fingertips on something, grab your earlobe and it will instantly take away the burn.

Instantly the heat dissappears and you shouldn't even blister. Just hold your earlobe long enough for the fire to go. Wow! I think it is so awesome and I instantly grab my earlobe whenever I burn. Try it next time. Although if you are wearing earrings, make sure you don't touch the metal cause that won't help the issue at all.

Let me know if it works for you.

Homemade Pesto

I was thinking if I would almost be considered a food snob if I would prefer to make my own pesto rather than buy it from the shop? I don't think I am that bad yet. Maybe when I can't bring myself to buy bread anymore, I might have some issues then, lol.

Homemade Pesto
This recipe is a bit of a go with the flow type, so just taste along the way.

Big Bunch Basil
2+ Garlic Cloves
Few Sprigs of Parsley
1/4+ cup Pine Nuts
Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil
  1. Place basil, rough chopped garlic, parsley and pine nuts into food processor. I have done this many times with the Tupperware Happy Chopper (small quantity) and Turbo Chef too. Process till a nice finely chopped consistency.
  2. Grate in parmesan cheese and add a good 1/2 cup oil. Process again.
  3. Taste to see if you need salt, pepper or any more of the other components: cheese or nuts.
  4. Add more oil and process until you get to the consistency that you like.
  5. This will store well in fridge, just put a layer of olive oil on top to stop from browning. ALTHOUGH why waste a good thing? My batch went straight into a snappy bag, flattened and 4 sections formed with my fingers, then straight in the freezer. Happy Days.

Rocket Lettuce & Cashews
Watch this space, now inspired to come up with some more variations.

  • Parmesan Cheese freezes well, so there is no reason not to have it in your home. Use from frozen. Store back in freezer. I freeze alot of things. 
  • Buy pine nuts on sale. They are a great pantry staple in our home. So yummy on salads.

Friday, September 9, 2011