Sunday, 30 September 2012

Chestnut and vine quilt top finished!

A quick photo from today. I've just finished my chestnut and vine block of the month quilt top and just wanted to share. It took a while but was totally worth it! It will be off to the quilter in the next week or 2 for finishing but i'm really happy with how it turned out. And yep that's my adorable little man exploring the backyard.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Recipe hoarding

Wow another week zooming by. This week has been filled with babies, baking and a bit of housekeeping. I've been trying to keep up with the organised housewife challenge but i just can't do it all. That woman is a legend if she can keep up with that sort of schedule but it just isn't me. I have still been plodding along but i'm only up to day 7 and i and i find each day's challenge takes me 1-3 days. And work days are a write off just trying to get through the basics.

Anyway this week i have managed to start printing and organising my recipes from the online wholefood kitchen and 30 day vegan workshops i did earlier in the year. I feel like i'm rediscovering it all again and have decided as i make or remake each recipe i'm going to write some notes on the recipe about how it was. Am i the only way who tries a recipe and then can't remember if it was good, or did i use this recipe or that one? So now i just write straight on the recipe so i never forget.

As part of the organised housewife challenge this week i decluttered my recipe books. Which looks great but i am now left with a huge pile of recipes written on scraps of paper or pulled out of magazines to sort. It will feel good when it's done but oh my i'm a recipe hoarder!

I keep myself going my thinking about all the delicious new recipes i can try out. Yep food is good motivation! And think about all the new recipes i will be sharing with you!

Hope you're all having a great day.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sibyl's dinner plate?

Ok not really! Yesterday the only baking i had on my mind was from the amazing whole food workshop by Heather over at beauty that moves. I did both her online workshops earlier in the year and they were amazing. I did the workshops to improve my vegetable cooking and give me a bit of inspiration. I got so much more than that. I think she is starting another one shortly so if you want to learn how to cook some amazing healthy meals head on over.

One stand out recipe was her raspberry oat slice. I can't describe how good this is but i can assure you it is the tasiest berry slice i've ever had. So yesterday i whipped one up for the family.
But sorry i am teasing you all about this because Heather's course is a paid one she requests recipes aren't shared on blogs and i respect that. So nothing to share from Sibyl's biscuit tin yesterday.

Instead as a bit of a trade off, i thought i would share one of my favourite easy dinner meals - teriyaki beef. Teriyaki sauce is so simple it's embarrassing and it is just as good and in some cases much better than the bought one.

Teriyaki Beef

2 T sake
2 T sugar
2 T mirin (sweet cooking wine)
4 T soy sauce

Mix together in a bowl. That's it. That's the sauce. Easy.

Fry up your meat ( chicken, beef and pork are all good).
Add one chopped onion.
Once meat and onions are cooked pour over the sauce and simmer until it thickens and caramelises. This can take a little while but makes it all delicious and sticky. Yum yum.

Serve on rice and veges. I love a fresh coleslaw on the rice, topped with meat and a small dollop or mayonnaise. I know it sounds weird but go with it!

A few sesame seeds on top are nice too.
Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Medieval splendour

Not a great photo but i just wanted to share my quilt which i recently finished. I'll have to wait for a sunny day and take a better pic. I started this about 5 years ago and put the finished quilt top aside as i was worried it was too busy. I was going for something that reminded me of the many medieval tapestries i saw while travelling in Europe. I came across a selection of William Morris fabric with these lovely owls and birds which i thought was just perfect.

Although it is pretty busy i think it actually looks pretty good on our bed and i am really happy with how it has turned out. It feels very luxurious to snuggle up under it and as i make a few more bed sized quilts i find myself swapping them around a bit to suit the season. This has a wintery, autumn feel too me.

I hope you all had a great weekend. I had an amazing weekend with a massage, dinner out with the other half, my godsons birthday and an afternoon in the sun with friends. Ah summer is finally on the way!

Take care everyone.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

This moment

Joining in with Amanda from Soulemama
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . .

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Is summer on it's way?

Hows everyone doing this week? Is summer on the way? Please tell me it is! I'm really longing for those nice warm days in light clothing. Yesterday was a lovely day, bright and sunny with a little more warmth but today felt more wintery again. Sigh, bit of a teaser really.
Anyway onto tastier topics - salads. I love salads and the more exotic the better. A plain old green salad with vinegarette is delicious but i love something more substantial for a main meal. Last night we tried out a new combination - corn, salami, peppers and kumara on spinach leaves. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and a yoghurt dressing on the side. It was a very nice change and had enough substance to please the other half. Always a bonus, even the baby gave his a nibble before creating a small reject pile of peppers. Seems they weren't on the agenda!

I'm also trying to keep up with my organised housewife challenge. I got off to a late start and i've been breaking up some of the bigger days tasks so i'm not spending too much extra time cleaning. But it feels great to be plodding along and making progress with the spring cleaning. Tomorrow i'm finishing up day 6 -bathroom and starting on day 7 -the fridge.

This is my little man helping tidy up the pantry last week. His part of the job was to eat anything he could find in not so well sealed containers.

By the time summer comes around my house will be well and truly cleaned up and i will be ready with a new repertiore of salads.

Hope you're all having a great week.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sibyl's biscuit tin - Gingerbread

Ah the smell of gingerbread baking, there is nothing like it. The sweet, spicy scent wafts through the house and tempts you to have a slice as soon as its out of the oven. This recipe for gingerbread is out of an old Rally cookbook. If you haven't heard of rally it's a church run kids group similar to girl guides and has been around for years. There is 2 old rally cookbooks and they contain all the favourites i remember from my childhood.

I made a couple of changes, the recipe called for golden syrup but i love the flavour honey gives to a ginger loaf. I also used a bit more ginger as i like a nice spicy loaf.


In a pot melt together
1/2 C honey (or golden syrup)
125g butter

In a separate bowl sift together
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t mixed spice
1 t ginger

Add to the bowl
1 egg
1/2C milk

Mix wet and dry ingredients together and pour into a greased loaf tin.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 25-30mins.

A lovely moist loaf with plenty of spice. I always serve gingerbread with butter, it just makes it perfect especially with a cup of tea.

This loaf got the tick of approval from my little man who stuffed it into his mouth and then spent some time picking up the crumbs! I love when he does that, so cute and it means he must like it.

Hope you're baking something nice at your place this week.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Chicken bites

I've been a bit absent on the blogging front this week, in truth i've been a bit absent on the life front too. Illness, rain and generally feeling worn out have all compounded to make me feel a bit flat this week. And with that flat feeling the creativity and motivation disappeared in a puff of smoke, as did a few pieces of chocolate. But today i did manage to try out a recipe i've been thinking about for awhile. It's a simple but healthy, homemade version of chicken nuggets.

My little fella likes his food but finds whole pieces of meat difficult to eat. Also on those busy work days trying to get something on the table quickly can be a mission. So having something healthy in the freezer as a standby is a must.

Homemade chicken nuggets

500g Chicken mince 
1 egg
pinch of salt
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 apple, grated

In a bowl mix together the chicken mince, egg, grated apple, salt and 1/2 C of the breadcrumbs until it makes a thick paste.

My little helper

You really could add anything else you wanted here - grated or finely chopped veges, herbs or cheese.
Form into nuggets, rounds or fingers and coat in the remaining breadcrumbs.

Lay in a baking dish with a little oil and bake in the oven at 200 degrees C for about 20mins until cooked and golden.

All done, yummy, nutritious chicken nuggets without the extra fat, preservatives or additives.

These went down a treat with the little fella especially with a little tomato sauce for dipping. A few cooked veges and some fruit on the side and dinner was complete.

All the extras are going into the freezer for easy future meals. So here's to a brighter easier week! 
Take care everyone.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Sibyl's biscuit tin - cinnamon biscuits

Oh these are yummy. This is a biscuit i haven't had before but it sounded nice and came from my old league of mother's cookbook so i thought it was worth a go.

Cinnamon biscuits

225g flour
110g sugar
3/4 t baking powder
pinch of salt
110g butter
1 egg

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

Mix in the egg and enough milk to make a dough (i think it was about 2 tablespoons)

Roll out the dough until very thin and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Then roll up the dough from the longer side to form a log.

Then slice the roll up and smooth the dough into a round.

Bake for about 15 minutes at 180degrees C until just golden.
These are simple biscuits but they have a lovely flavour. The flavour reminds me of cinnamon pinwheel scones. They were also popular with the little one.

Just for interests sake i looked up a bit about rubbing in butter.
Rubbing in butter literally means to rub butter and flour (or other dry ingredients) between your finger until it is all mixed and looks like breadcrumbs. Rubbing in butter helps to make baking flaky, the colder the butter the more flaky and light the result.
I must admit to always softening the butter first by microwaving for a few seconds to make it easier to rub in. 
Or you can make it even easier and pulse it in the food processor.

On other front's i just finished day 3 of the cleaning challenge and am enjoying how much easier it is to keep an area which is already tidy, clean. So far i have a nice and clean kitchen, bedroom and laundry. Tomorrows task in the lounge, which make take a few days if i end up working tomorrow.

Have a great week everyone. xxx

Monday, 10 September 2012

Loving.... Grateful.....

My Monday night ritual to reset and start the week in a good place. Feel free to join me and tell me what you are grateful for in the comments. 

That i have a quieter week ahead and our routines can settle back to normal.

~ for a very clean kitchen and bedroom, thanks to the 20 day cleaning challenge.
~ for some quality time and some rare cuddles with my boy (even if he is a little sick.
~ for new crafts and supplies to keep me inspired.
 ~ for having a wonderful partner who gave me some time and space on the weekend to attend the craft fair and learn some new crafts.

Lovely isn't it? and so easy to make.

On another note a friend has set up an event to remind people to be a little bit kinder in thier everyday lives. For 1 week she's asking that each day we do something nice for someone else and say something nice to one person. On day seven you need to do something nice for yourself and give yourself a kind word. A lovely idea and a reminder to be kinder to people.
For my act of kindness today i took a packet of chocolate biscuits for the staff when i headed to the doctors.
It's not to late to head over and join.

You never truly know the affect you have on other people through your actions and word.
Be kind.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Better late than never - Day 1 with the organised housewife

Yes i have finally started the 20 days clean and organise challenge with the organised housewife. It's nearly a week late but at least everything is a lot quieter and i actually have a hope of completely each days challenges.

The before pic.

In my defence i hadn't done any of my usual cleaning when i took this, it's not usually this bad! Plus fresh baking on the bench and no dishwasher to hide dishes makes everything look worse.

After pic.

Completed days tasks. The windowsill will look a lot less cluttered in another week when the seedlings all get transplanted but at this time of year it's the best place for raising them.

So another week due to start and unfortunately a sick boy again! grrr when does it ever end, roll on the warmer summer months and less colds.

Wish me luck and a cleaner house!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

This moment - with Soulemama

Joining in with Amanda from Soulemama
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . .


Friday, 7 September 2012

Quick change week

Wow what a busy week it has been with almost a full week of work this week and a conference to top it off.  Only 1 day to go and i will be so grateful to be finished. The last few days has made me so grateful that i only work part time and can stay at home with Cohen most of the week. I've felt like it's been a week of rushing around with few moments to pause and enjoy time with my boy. Hat's off to mum's who can work full time and still have a good work life balance, but it's certainly not for me!
In the midst of the busy-ness i did manage to find a few moments at night to work on my first pair of bloglands favourite - quick change trousers. And last night at craft group i managed to finish them off and help a couple of the ladies sew some as well.
Aren't they adorable? I see more pants in the future.

The other half called them pirate pants and i reckon he's right on the money with that!
Things that didn't get done this week - the 20 day cleaning challenge.

I knew i probably wouldn't be able to keep up and i stumbled on day 1, completing many but not all tasks. It was just too much to do this week but i'm excited to continue with the challenge over the next week.

In my house extra cleaning loses to craft! 
take care everyone

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Sibyl's biscuit tin - Sponge jam roll

This one was actually made last week with mum's help and thank goodness for that as today was a rather trying day with the 1 year old. At the moment his favorite pass time is to whine and hang off my leg, he's been doing it for a few days. I'm not sure why but it is certainly testing my patience!

Anyway back to the jam roll. I love jam roll. Ok so i love food, but jam roll really is a delicious old classic and i had never actually made it - or any sponge for that matter. So while visiting with the family i thought it was a great time to get a lesson. One of mums favourite recipes comes straight off the back of the cornflour packet and has been around for years.

3 eggs 
4 tbsp sugar 
2 heaped tbsp cornflour 
1 dssp plain flour 
1 tsp baking powder 

Beat the egg whites to a stiff froth and add the egg yolks. Add the sugar gradually and beat until stiff and the sugar has dissolved. Add the sifted cornflour, flour and baking powder. Place the mixture into 30x 20 sponge roll tin. 
Bake in a moderately hot oven, 180C (350F) gas, 215C (425F) for 15 minutes. 

So here are the eggs whipped to a stiff froth.

Add in the sugar and whip, the mixture takes on a lovely glossiness. Mum told me that to know if the sugar has dissolved tap the beater against the bottom of the bowl, if the sugar isn't dissolved you can feel obvious grittiness under the beater.

Gently fold in the flours, don't 'mix' or you will the lose the air in the sponge and make it flat.

Pour into a sponge roll tin lined with greased baking paper.

Smooth out gently.

All baked.

While still warm turn it out onto another piece of baking paper and peel away the paper it was cooked on.

Gently roll in the paper.

Leave to cool. Cooling it in a roll will make it easier to roll later and less likely to break when rolled.

When cooled unroll and smother with jam (and cream if you like)

Re-roll gently and dust with icing sugar. If the roll cracks when rolling just put that bit on the bottom and no-one will know. That's what i did!

Beautifully light and delicious. This will be a perfect super for craft group one night i think.

Take care everyone.

Monday, 3 September 2012

20 days to organise and clean your home challenge

I've been thinking lately about the need to spring clean,thinking.... not so much doing. I find it is easy to get overwhelmed with such things when keeping up with the day to day chores and my little man keeps me busy enough.
So when i read about the organised house wifes challenge i thought this was just the push i needed.

I'm a little bit behind in the program and only just signed up yesterday. The program started today but i'm still working through the pre-challenge tasks. I really couldn't have picked a worse week to start this kind of challenge as i have a very busy week of work ahead of me. But i'll do my best to do a bit each day and play a bit of catchup next week.

So today i started on the pre-challenge tasks.

Task 1 - organise binder for printouts and lists - in progress

Task 2 - Put together a cleaning kit - I already have my cleaners and cloths all stored together. I'm just going to put them together in a bucket to make them more portable.

Task 3 and 4 were all about routines -morning and evening. I have to be honest, the idea of writing down a set routine makes me feel stressed. Before i had my son i was an intense planner, having every step of my day organised. Needless to say a small baby doesn't care about your plans and i found myself stressed and miserable trying to keep up my old pace. So i dropped the strict, set routines. I still have a routine but i keep it in my head, flexible and ever changing. It makes me feel better to work that way so that's what i'll keep doing.

Task 5 - Write a goals list - so here it is using the organised housewife template.

(Please answer these questions in the comments below, replacing the blue words)
  1. I want to feel Relaxed and Calm while I’m at home.
  2. I want to spend more time  Engaging with my son and enjoy the little moments.
  3. I want an area of the home where I can Relax and reflect.
  4. I want to organise My bedroom dressers.
  5. I always lose Sewing equipment!! unpicks, buttons, threads........
  6. Something that I don’t need anymore , but am having trouble parting with Jewellery.
Also she recommends some sorting boxes for -
- donating
- keeping ( but not sure where to put it yet)
- sell
- rubbish

Good idea, tomorrow i'm going to dig around the shed for a few boxes and then i'll be ready to start. Wish me luck! and a cleaner house!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Slow living - Month 8

Linking up with Christine at slow living essentials again this month.

What a month this has been, a lot of sickness has been around this winter but i think i can say we are all finally coming out the other side ( touch wood). With the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer i can feel spring in the air and with it comes a long exhale. The warm weather and sunshine feels so good after a long winter.

So to review this month.

{Nourish} - Lots of baking and delving into old recipes for 'Sibyl's biscuit tin' has renewed my interest in good basic, baking. Making delicious simple baking with minimal ingredients and good techniques. It has also given me a chance to think about the details of cooking and why we do certain things such as creaming, whipping and sifting. I think the jubilee scones have been my favourite this month. There was also cheese and play dough to round out the month.

{prepare} - It was all about the apples this month - apple paste, apple syrup, apple sauce and apple jelly. I was also lucky enough to try some truly delicious picked onions. Not something i have eaten a lot of, but oh my, i think that will all change once i get this recipe.

{reduce} - We have been making more effort this month to add as much to the compost as i can. Every peeling, tea bag and carrot top as gone in the compost bucket. This month i'm also joining the 20 day organise and clean your home challenge with the organised housewife. I think it's just the inspiration and motivation i need to get this spring cleaning started.

{green} - After some rather hefty power bills we have been more aware of the power we are using. Turning down the thermostat on the heaters and putting on a jersey. Using the fireplace with some of last years wood to make the place more cosy. Turning off lights and avoiding using the drier as much as possible.

{grow} - The first batch of seeds have been planted and little seedlings are busy growing. This year we have going to grow more heirloom tomatoes, capsicums, basil, parsley, dill, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatillo's will ensure a range of tasty meals come summer.

{create} - Things have been a bit quieter on the crafting front this month. I have been quietly working away finishing off some binding on a large quilt and planning new projects. This week my craft group is coming together for us all to learn how to make some cute baby trousers. A few UFO's are waiting in the wings for the final touches as well.

{discover} - I have just today picked up a copy of the book - Handmade Beginnings  by Anna- Marie Horner from the library. This book has been very popular in blogland where everyone seems to be making quick change trousers like these ones from retromummy. I can't wait to give them a go for myself.

{enhance} - Craft group continues again this month and i have an outing with some friends coming up to go to the big quilt and craft fair. Fun fun and possible a little bit of shopping...

{enjoy} - We just had a wonderful week away with my family in Hawkes Bay. It was wonderful for Cohen to spend some time with his cousin, grandparents and aunties and uncles. It was tough coming home on our own but we were welcomed back by many good friends. Did i mention the craft fair? Yay crafts!

See you all next month.