Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cooking up a storm!

Hi there :)  I've been continuing my cooking journey with Chelsea Winter's cookbook Eat and I'm still getting awesome results using her recipes.  Usually I only cook a couple of recipes from a cookbook but this one really appeals to me and I'm enjoying trying out some new spices too!

You can see my previous blog post HERE where I shared Lightning Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lemon Squeezy Slice and Rich Beef Goulash... all delicious!

The next recipe I tried was Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Curry.  I love Thai Green Curry and I've tried out a LOT of recipes but they all fell short of the mark.  This time I made my own spice paste following Chelsea's recipe and oh my goodness it was GOOD!  The smells coming from the kitchen were incredible.

On the same day I made the curry, I also tried out the Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake... YUM!!  You really only do need a small slice because it's pretty rich... in fact next time I think I'll make it in my square springform tin so that I can cut it up into small squares.  We had some to celebrate Mikayla's birthday... and then we had some for pudding the next day... and then I took some to school on the third day and I think it tasted even better by then.  I have no idea what it tasted like by Day 4 because it was all gone!

The next recipe on my list was Bali Beef Rendang.  I've never been to Bali but this recipe made me want to travel there!  It was super easy to cook... smelt delicious and the taste was incredible!  According to Chelsea, the spices preserve the meat so that it lasts for ages.  I put the left overs in the freezer and they taste pretty darn good reheated from frozen too!  I had mine with Shanghai cabbage and snow peas cooked in a hot pan and then splashed with a little balsamic vinegar... Yum Yum!!

After doing all these meals and desserts/treats I thought I'd make something to take to school for lunch.  After a quick look through Eat I came up with the perfect thing... Crummy Chicken.  This recipe is ridiculously simple and much like how I've done crumbed chicken in the past but somehow it just tasted different this time... and it was perfect with some salad for lunches!  I shared some of the chicken with my workmates and one of them said it was 'like KFC only better'!

So there's another four recipes from Chelsea's book Eat.  I can honestly recommend this book to anyone interested in cooking and eating delicious food!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend xx

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Gotcha!

Hi there :)  It's a bit quiet around our house today... there's no little muchkin here giving Nana cuddles!  Mikayla and Chloe have made it safely back to Christchurch where they're spending another week before heading back to home in Invercargill.

While they've been here we've had a lot of fun and it's been awesome family time!  Aunty Krystal and I were pretty sad to see them go but Mikayla said they'll be back in December which is awesome!  In the meantime I had a bit of fun with Miss Chloe... while her Mumma was busy doing something else ha ha ha

I saw this on the internet ages ago...

And here's our version:

Chloe smiled and gooed most of the time I was smothering her in kisses... and thanks Aunty Krystal for the pink lipstick! 

Have a great weekend xx

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cook... Eat... Yum!

Hi there... you might have picked up from the title that today's post is about cooking... food and eating!  And you'd be right!!  On Sunday night, Krystal and I went to Chelsea Winter's book launch for Eat... and we had a really good time.  After pondering about buying the book for a couple of days (some things take time) I finally found a signed copy at Whitcoulls.
Photo from Penguin Books
I went through the recipe book and picked out a couple of things that I knew instantly I wanted to cook... and I haven't been disappointed at all!

On Tuesday I headed to Vetro to buy some spices for my ever-growing collection.  I love how fresh they are and actually very good prices too.  A quick trip to the supermarket to buy a couple of ingredients and it was time to cook. 

Tuesday

For my first recipe I picked Lightning Chicken which is called 'Lightning' because it's pretty quick to cook... it might be quick but it's absolutely delicious.  I served mine with three B's... basmati rice, beans and bok choy... oh my!

The creamy thyme sauce was absolutely delicious and the rice soaked up all the extra sauce.  I steamed the bok choy in my wok with a little balsamic vinegar and garlic... super tasty.

Wednesday

Next up I decided to go for another chicken dish... Chicken Tikka Masala.  We were all heading off to Awakeri for a swim at the hot pools so I got the chicken spicy marinade made before we left and let it do it's work while we were off having some fun.

Miss Chloe LOVED swimming at the hot pools and she looks totally gorgeous in her little swimmers and the swim suit Nana bought her.

So... back to the cooking... we got home from the pools and the chicken was ready to be cooked.  I also made the sauce from scratch and oh my those spices smelt INCREDIBLE!  I did some rice in the rice cooker and before we knew it dinner was on the table... YUM!

Krystal and Mikayla both gave it the thumbs up and since the recipe makes enough for six people I was able to freeze three dinners for another night.

Thursday

Yesterday I decided to try one of Chelsea's sweet treats... Lemon Squeezy Slice.  I will definitely be making this for a morning tea shout next term!  Super easy... no cooking... and it tastes absolutely divine!  The recipe says it makes 15 slices but honestly I think I got double that... it's hard to tell because every time I turn around another piece is missing!

At mid-day I had an osteopath appointment so I took a couple of pieces in for Victoria as a treat.  She was starting boot camp last night so she said she was going to save it for later... then I got a phone call from her in the afternoon saying... oops I've eaten it all!!

Just a little enabler alert here... I bought a new chopping board while I was in town yesterday and it's awesome!  It's called a 'Chop2Pot' and basically it lays flat while you are chopping onions, capsicum, mushrooms etc and then it folds the sides in so that nothing falls off when you put it in the pot.  I tried it yesterday and I really loved it!

So what was for dinner last night?  Rich Beef Goulash!  I cooked it in a casserole pot... low and slow... and it was divine!  It's full of paprika which is one of my favourite spices and it reminded me of a Hungarian dish 'Mr Harry' used to cook when I was little.

I served mine with potato mash and Shanghai cabbage which I cooked in a little butter and then splashed the pan with balsamic vinegar... so good!  It was only Mikayla and myself for dinner last night so I've got five of these little babies (minus the Shanghai cabbage) in the freezer!

As for tonight, we're celebrating Mikayla's birthday before she goes back home tomorrow... the holiday at Nana's house has gone by so fast!  I did ask if Mikayla wanted to go out for dinner, have takeaways or eat at home and the answer was... eat at home!  So tonight we're going to try the slow cooker Thai chicken curry out of the recipe book.

I have to say that I'm currently loving cooking again... feeling inspired in the kitchen... it's a good thing xx

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Chloe had a party :)

Hi there :)  On Saturday we had a special little celebration... a surprise baby shower for Mikayla and Chloe.  Krystal had been wanting to do a baby shower for Mikayla but with her living in Invercargill it just wasn't 'do-able' so we decided to throw her a surprise baby shower while they were here on holiday... they're here for a few more days so Nana is very happy :)   There were loads of photos but I've managed to cull it down to just 26 of my favourites.

Here's the wee party girl

I had my first go at making a banner and totally loved how it turned out so I did some bunting complete with baby photos to go along the wall.

Then we had another little area dedicated to our photo booth... so much fun!  We also had a 'Guess how many babies in the bottle' competition.

Next we had the present and party favour table.  The beautiful leather hatbox was from Luna Creative (more on that in a moment) and the gorgeous mantle clock was given to my grandparents when my dad was only a little boy.  So special to have this in my own home.

Instead of everyone bringing your traditional baby gifts we asked everyone to donate a book to Chloe's bookshelf and it turned out to be a great idea!  Chloe now has lots of new books that Mikayla will be able to read to her as she grows up.

Krystal had ordered favour boxes but they didn't arrive in time so the night before the party Michael and I were up making these little boxes.  Actually we had quite a lot of fun making them and they were much more personal.  Each favour box contained some individually packaged tea bags (since the party was a high tea) along with a gorgeous felt and lavender bookmark created by Krystal and three heart chocolates.

These next favours were just a fun little add on... baby rattles to hold a Chubba lollipop.

Ok... remember I mentioned Luna Creative regarding the hat box?  Well Sarah from Luna Creative has all sorts of vintagy goodness that she hires out for weddings, engagements, parties and of course high teas.  We hired all sorts of goodies from her including vintage tea cups, plates, cake stands, bird cage, pretty flowers and a drinks dispenser.  We also hired a small chalk board (which Sarah wrote on for us... she does gorgeous chalk work) as well as a huge frame for our photo booth and of course the hat box.
https://www.facebook.com/lunacreativenz/

We were super impressed with her service and totally support local people doing a fab job!  Click the logo to visit her Facebook page.

Now you'll get to see all the lovely vintage cups, plates and cake stands :)



Hummus and crackers






Time for some more decorations... this was the gorgeous bird cage we hired and we filled it with flowers, jewels and LED tea light candles... so pretty!  There were also a few more photos of Miss Chloe propped up on the birdcage.

Here's Sarah's beautiful chalk work.

Every little girl needs a tiara :) 

A quick photo with Aunty Krystal and Nana

Chloe wasn't interested in how many jelly babies were in the bottle LOL

Much more alert for Aunty Krystal... and ready to play the Baby Bingo game Aunty organised.

Mummy (Mikayla) showing Chloe some of her new books.

Kiwicorn is a seriously good book with a beautiful message... if you have children or grandchildren I highly recommend it.  Good choosing Aunty Krystal!

Aunty Krystal made the cake complete with 'naked' icing and fresh roses... and I have to say it not only looked beautiful it was also delicious!

This is actually one of my favourite photos from the party... apart from the 'Chloe photos' of course!

And by the end of the party one little girl just needed to close her eyes. Such a lovely photo of my two 'babies'.

To all our family and friends who came to meet Chloe on Saturday... thank you so much for joining us.  Krystal and I really appreciated your company and support.
Thanks so much for visiting my little corner of the world and sharing in our celebration xx

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Daily Marker 30 Day Challenge - and some more Chloe

Hi there :)  Today I've got the final 10 days of colouring from The Daily Marker 30 Day Challenge.  I totally enjoyed this challenge and I know I'll do it again!

Day 21 

 This one is a card that I made for one of my friends who organised the scrap retreat and features a chef from my colouring on Day 15.

Day 22

I used one of those unicorns from Gerda Steiner designs to make Michael a birthday card.  He totally loves unicorns so it was an easy choice to buy this stamp and die set.

Day 23

I stamped and cut a few hedgehogs on watercolour paper.  They are from MFT's Happy Hedgehog stamp and die set.

Day 24

Lots of brown colouring today using Distress Inks.  I love the richness of colours you get when you layer the inks.

Day 25

Time to break out the colour!  I added some red, orange, greens and blue to the little hedgehogs... thank goodness for having Google on my phone when I was looking for the acorn colouring!

Day 26

Time to make a background for my hedgehog card.  I blended Distress Inks onto Bristol Smooth cardstock... love how easy the ink blends together!  

While I had my inks out I inked and blended another piece of Bristol Smooth cardstock so that I could cut some Autumn/Fall leaves.

Day 27

I inked up some more Bristol Smooth cardstock using Distress Oxide Ink - mostly using browns - to make the frame for my card.  I used Lawn Fawn's Leafy Tree Backdrop for this card.  As you can see I also added some water spritzing to my background from Day 26.

Day 28

Yay a finished card!  I added a couple of hedgehogs (which I backed with foam for extra dimension) along with some Autumn/Fall leaves.  This card was for a friend of mine who has been unwell (read that as 'sick as a dog!') she also loves hedgehogs so I was pretty sure she was going to like this one.

Just lately I've been decorating the inside of my cards as well and I haven't really shown them but I'll share this one with you as I'm super pleased with how it turned out:

Day 29

Since I had all the things out for my previous hedgehog card I thought I'd make one more.  This one was scraplifted from Tricia Barber:

Day 30

For the last day of the challenge I really didn't know what I wanted to make/colour so I stamped some polar bears, heat embossed and then die cut them... and to be honest they're sitting in a little container waiting to be coloured because I had some other projects that needed my attention.

And now for some Chloe time... being a Nana is awesome!!  I love this little girl so much already.  Mikayla and Chloe flew into Rotorua last Monday and the snuggles and cuddles commenced immediately!  Auntie Krystal came with me to the airport and it's been an awesome week of family time since then.  Here's a few little snippets from this week:
Shopping in Farmers with Nana.  She slept like this for about half an hour and it's was lovely :)

Uncle Toby has totally fallen under Chloe's spell.  He absolutely adores her! 

 Chloe was having some tummy time so Uncle Toby joined in :)

Miss Chloe was helping me in the kitchen... and sporting a new little onesie that Nana bought for her!

Thanks for visiting today... time for some more Chloe cuddles now xx