Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicken & Spinach Lasagne...

Lovely fresh baby spinach...
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I made The Organised Housewife's Chicken & Spinach Lasagne last night... I made it in two dishes so I could freeze one for later. The one in the white dish fed the two of us for dinner and for lunch today.
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A technician came and fixed my fan forced oven - I missed how it browned things so nicely. Just before the lasagne was ready, the fan started making a horrible clattering noise! Uh, oh? I quickly turned it onto the normal oven setting to finish it off. The tech came again this morning and has fixed it... hopefully!
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I used low fat cheese for my lasagne and I think it needs the bigger tub of Carbonara sauce (700gm) to made the sauce go far enough. Verdict? - delicious!
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If you want a naughty pasta dish - Pioneer Woman has Pasta Carbonara all worked out - I say naughty because she uses heavy cream and thick cut bacon full of fat and parmesan cheese! My waistline just wouldn't be able to take it! But it does look goooood! Maybe I'll make it this weekend - nooooooooo!
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Annette Sym's Chicken Laksa is on the menu tonight - Gus loved it last time I made it so it's sure to please.
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Have a nice day - Joolz

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Get ready for 'A Photo A Day' in June...

I found this on facebook last night so I went to the blog at Fatmumslim. So you post a photo a day all through the month using the list as the subject - sounds like so much fun! You can do it on facebook, blog, twitter or instagram... join me? Starts June 1 st.
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We had yummy Whiting for dinner last night. Normally, I would have salad with fish but I decided to do veggies and I made a lemon sauce (basically 2 tblspns melted butter & 2 tblspns flour, cook off then add 1 cup milk gradually to make white sauce. Add 1/2 cup white wine, juice of 1/2 lemon and grated zest and 1 tspn dried parsley. Season with salt and pepper). Twas yum!
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Another dishcloth - this one is called Lickety Split and you'll find it here then click on Lickety Split . This is a different yarn I am trying - it's cotton/acrylic as opposed to the cotton/bamboo yarn I have been using. I don't think this has as much give in it.
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Time for work, so I'd better scoot! - Cheers - Joolz
Link

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Weekend happenings...

A frying pan full of my Chow Mein for dinner Thursday night...
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This morning I made a lemon slice ...
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So easy and delicious! The recipe is here on the Arnott's site. The only thing I do differently is process the biscuits to a fine crumb then add the wet ingredients to the processor and whiz until combined - saves on all that hard stirring in.
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Kirby has been home this weekend and she had a hankering for some scones today too. My oven is still not fixed (element for fan-forced heating has blown) so I was a bit hesitant to do any baking using normal heat... anyway, they turned out perfectly. Of course, I cheated and used the CWA pre-mix - just had 280mls of water to the packet and voila! Pearler scones!
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We may have been naughty and had them with strawberry jam and cream, but I'm not telling!
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The morning tea was put on for this little visitor - Brax! He is such a dear little boy, always so happy!
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Brianna will be pleased to know that I packed up the remainder of the scones and sent them home with Kirby.
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And hot off my needles is this dishcloth - how blessed was I to have just enough cotton left to finish it! I was holding my breath, I can tell you! Can you see my boo-boo? About half way up on the right hand side border, I must have KPKP instead of PKPK! Never mind - homemade doesn't always mean perfection.
I picked up some more bamboo cotton yesterday so I am good to go with some new patterns. Once I have knitted these up I will stop - you can only do with so many dishcloths!
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I have a rolled chicken roast planned for dinner (now pictured above) - poor Gus has been working for the past 4 days at a vehicle Road Show, showcasing our cars. Kirby and I even helped out yesterday. The weather has been foul, bitterly cold and wet (not so much today) and he and the sales guys have been on their feet for 4 solid days so he will be wrecked when he gets home.
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(Thanks to modern technogy (Iphones) here is a pic of her tyre taken just minutes ago! She messaged me the pictures)
Thank goodness for our RAA membership - Kirby got 1 hour down the road towards Adelaide and had a flat tyre. Totally shredded the tyre off the rim! A call to the RAA (which we all have membership to - I won't grizzle about the $340 yearly premium again!) and the guy was there in 30 minutes to change it for her.
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Here another picture of the tyre ...
She was 2 kms out of the next town when it happened. Good to know help is there when we can't get there. She's back on the road as we speak - I'll be very glad when she gets home!
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I hope you enjoy the coming week,
Cheers - Joolz

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday This and That...

Monday sunrise...
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I made a batch of dishwasher detergent...
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But after a few loads, I am disappointed. I am getting a sandy residue in my glasses and some plates just aren't coming clean. Previous to this I was having sparkling washes. I run my washer on rain water and don't have a problem with normal dishtabs so I think I will revert back to them ... you can only try.
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I also made a batch of laundry liquid and this seems to work fine. Our clothes really aren't dirty so stain removal isn't a problem. I got about 8 litres from the batch and it would have cost about $3.50 - I added lavender oil to it and the wash smells lovely and fresh.
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I finished off 2 waffle weave cotton/bamboo dishclothes - they are fun to knit!
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Our Sunday paddock fire turned into barbecue lunch...
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The neighbours dogs must have liked the smell of our sausages cooking as they decided to visit... meet Floyd and Jacko!
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Bonnie was not impressed with the interlopers and spent the next 4 hours up the tree...
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Yesterday, we had the windiest day in ages! It blew all day, littering the town with tree branches and leaves, rubbish bins blew over, plus it was cold! Last night when I got home, this was the sunset... weird after such a cold day. Red sky at night, shepherds delight - they say...
This morning dawned freezing cold but the sun is now out and th wind has died down... The forecast for the next 6 days -
Today - 12C
Friday - 11C
Saturday - 13C
Sunday - 12C
Monday 13C
Tuesday - 12C
Winter is here early!
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And lastly, another dishcloth finished this morning... the pattern is a cupcake with a cherry on top. I started this cloth back on Monday and had done about 26 rows when horrors! My knitting needle broke mid row!!! I tried to salvage the stitches but lost one so had to unpick and start again - I was so angry! I need to buy some more cotton before starting another - it's quite addictive.
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I'm home alone tonight so Chow Mein is on the menu - can't wait to settle in for my favourite TV shows. I watch MasterChef at 7pm and tape SBS for the rest of the evening, then rewind and watch French Food Safari, Island Feast, skip Heston's Feasts (I've seen it before) then watch The Family (UK) - about the daily happenings of an Indian family living in London. It's getting interesting!
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Last night I watched (part) of a show called "How clean is your house?" - OMG! - I would rate as OCD germophobe neat-freak compared to the guy they visited! He basically hasn't thrown out food, trash, rubbish items for 5 years! I don't think rats would go there! I don't understand how you could live like that!
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This?
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...or this? I know which room I'd rather watch TV in!
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Cheers - Joolz

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Slow Cooker Lasagne...

Well, who knew you could make lasagne in your slow cooker (crockpot) and have it turn out just like the oven baked variety? Of course, not every variation of lasagne will suit a slow cooker but your bolognaise/white sauce variety will work. I used this recipe (from Weight Watchers) as a guide then modified it slightly to suit my tastes. The smell coming from the kitchen when I got home at 6pm was amazing!
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I browned the onion, garlic and mince in a fry pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Then added 1 small zucchini and carrot, both grated - this adds extra veggies and you can hide them. I cooked this off for 2 minutes then added a jar of my favourite pasta sauce (in this case, Five Brothers Summer Tomato & Basil). I gave a few shakes of dried oregano, basil and thyme and a good crack of salt and pepper.
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Now the layering - I used fresh lasagne sheets (Latina) - first spoon in enough sauce to cover the bottom of the cooker then top with a sheet of lasagne, cut to size - fill in gaps with bits of lasagne sheet. Top this with more beef sauce and mushroom slices...
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I used light cheese mix and ricotta - spoon dollops of the ricotta/cheese mix over the beef (be naughty and add a bit of extra cheese too) ...
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Continue with another layer ...
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When you get to the top layer (I used 3 layers of lasagne sheets), top with beef and mushrooms again then sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella.
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Make sure you TURN ON your slow cooker (I used the auto setting but low would do) - leave the house for 3 hours and return to the beautiful aroma of a cooked lasagne - ready to go!
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Some recipes say to cook for 6-8 hours but mine was ready in 3 hours (2-5pm) so I turned it off then until dinner time (and switched back on for 1/2 hour to bring up to heat). Serve with a simple green salad and crusty bread rolls (or not, if you are watching your weight!).
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TASTE EVALUATION: The taste was certainly there but after that much cooking the pasta had practically melted into the dish. I would like to try the dry frilly lasagne sheets next time as they might be thicker. Definitely a dish to play around with - I might try a proper white sauce next time too. Chalk it up as a success!
Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Barbecued Banana, Peanut Butter & Honey Muffins...

I found this recipe at Time for a little something and thought they sounded great so I set about making them this morning. I measured out everything, put out the patty pans and set the oven going. Muffins need to be mixed quickly, but not over mixed then delivered to the patty pans...
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It made a lovely mixure - although it said to use plain flour and wholemeal flour, I only have SR flour and SR wholemeal so I backed off on the baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon and no bi-carb soda. I got them into the patty pans and put them in the oven only to find the oven dead as a maggot! No light or heat! Gus checked the fuse box and the circuit breaker had tripped the stove switch - obviously a problem somewhere! Honestly, this oven is fantastic for baking, I only use one setting and bake everything at 180C and get fantastic results but the stove is a lemon! We've had the thermostat/element replaced in Feb 2009, 2 lots of oven door hinges replaced, new fan installed June 2011 and now it's shit itself again!
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You can imagine my fury - I had these lovely muffins ready to go and it's 'no go' with the oven! I was spewing swear words and throwing my hands in the air when dear Gus said 'how about you bake them in the gas Weber?'. I didn't think it would work but we have done pizzas in there before so...
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I whacked them in there on a tray to get them off the grill and 15 minutes later...
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Barbecued muffins!
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So here they are - I taste tested one and you can see that the bottoms are just slightly overdone but they are still yummy! Disaster averted - thanks, Gus!
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That's another problem I have - home made muffins/cup cakes tend to stick to the patty pans whereas packet mixes (which have oil/butter in them) don't. Could I just spray the pans with cooking oil spray? I'll give it a go next time.
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I made San Choy Bau last night - easy and scrummy too! Leftovers for lunch today - yay!
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I have been tackling my de-cluttering at random times - this morning, on a whim, I decided to rearrange my sock and pyjama drawers. I have had a big blue stacker box sitting in our bedroom for months which had winter stuff in it and I decided it and it's contents needed to find a new home. All summer pyjamas were put in a drawer in Brianna's room (lots of empty drawers in there!) and I tossed out some of last years winter pj's and reacquainted myself with ones that had been packed away. I tossed out some old socks that were looking worn, paired up all my black opaque stocking-socks and ...
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Voila! One tidy sock drawer with stocking separated from socks in the shoe box.
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I forgot to show you my Annette Sym Chicken Kiev - it turned out really well and it was still buttery and garlicy except the butter was low fat margarine and I oven baked it with just a touch of spray oil over it ... I made a herbed tomato, zucchini and macaroni bake to go with the sweet potato chips, peas and corn. Delish!
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Now I am off to make some liquid washing detergent - the recipe is in Rhonda's Down to Earth book. Then I might sit and start another dish cloth or do some cross stitch - the washing is all up to date and the house is sparking so I am a free agent - yay!
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Enjoy your weekend in your part of the world
Cheers - Joolz

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday This and That...

Dinner's last week included rolled roast pork with roast vegetables - I tossed the veggies in a bag with 1 tablespoon of olive oil then roasted them on baking paper in the oven... Can you tell Gus likes cracked pepper?
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Tuesday it was chicken Rippa Rissoles and veggies...
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Thursday I made chicken enchiladas...
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I tried an Annette Sym recipe for Apricot Rice Baked Custard. I thought the recipe must be wrong because is said to use 1/4 cup Basmati rice - it didn't sound like enough but it was amazing how it fluffed up when baked.
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It was quite yummy.
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Monday this week I bought beef and lamb marinated skewers - easy dinner!
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These are the Oaty Cookies I made for Kirby...
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Tuesday morning, it got the better of me! My walk-in-robe was a total mess with summer clothes still spilling out everywhere and all mixed up with winter clothes that I have been wearing. Time for a de-clutter! Honestly, it took me probably less than one hour and...
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Tah dah! A much tidier space and a lot less clothes to have to rifle through. Most of my clothes are black and finding the right top can be tricky when they all look the same! St. Vinnies did well and scored about 12 pairs of summer shoes too!
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Tuesday night I tried one of Marion's boxed curries. It was really good. I left out the dried red chillies as they would have blown our heads off and I did add a little palm sugar and squeeze of lime juice. Perfectly delicious and as easy as 1 - 2 - 3 - 4!
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Wednesday morning... foggy and cold. We are 2 weeks away from the start of winter and still need some good rains...
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I've been plodding away at a few dishcloths - this is a basket weave one and I have finished 2 waffle patterned ones... It is nice to sit and knit.
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Ooh, here is my latest acquisition - my Elna 1000 - Spotlight had them out for $99.00 so I just couldn't resist. I can't sew to save myself so this will be perfect to learn on. Brianna took the Janome to Adelaide with her and I needed to mend Gus's trousers the minute she left so I have been on the lookout for a replacement. Problem solved - stay tuned for some sewing adventures... when I find time!
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Finally, according to my home scales, I have cracked 70.0 kgs (in bras and knickers before breakfast) - last October I weighed about 77.0 kgs so I am very pleased. I have been yo-yoing the last couple of weeks but Tuesday morning the scales said 70.0 kgs. I weighed in at Weight Watchers and they said 71.2 (that's clothed and at 5.30pm) so between the two the scales can't be lying! Yay!
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Enjoy your day - the sun is out and I am off to work....
Cheers - Joolz


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