Saturday, 31 May 2008

Baked Herb Ricotta

This recipe is very simple and surprisingly satisfying. It's perfect for dinner, or if you're having some ladies over for lunch. It will keep in the fridge for a few days ~ so leftovers can be had cold or warmed in the microwave. Very versatile. It is also very frugal, as ricotta is only around $5-7/kg.

Baked Herb Ricotta

1kg ricotta cheese (not the low fat)
3 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
fresh thyme sprigs
olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  2. Grease a 23cm springform pan and line the base with baking paper.
  3. In a bowl, combine ricotta, eggs and lemon zest.
  4. Press into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with thyme sprigs and drizzle very lightly with olive oil.
  5. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. It will go just barely golden on the top and will puff up a little.
  6. Remove from oven and very carefully remove the sides of the pan. Slice into wedges and serve.
You may have wondered what happened to me yesterday....I ran the first session of the parenting course I am facilitating. I think it went well. One of the participants is an older-than-me lady in my church (ie. her kids are married) and she was very encouraging at the end of the session. Now I will spend this week getting my head completely saturated with session 2!!!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

And the Winner Is...

I felt stingy just pulling out one name, so I pulled out two. Congratulations Kate and Tina! Kate will receive the basket of flowers, as requested. Tina, if you have a preference, let me know, otherwise I'll just surprise you!

Tina, I will email you in a tick. Kate, would you mind leaving a comment with your email address so I can get your snail mail address from you? If you don't want it to stay there I will delete it from my comments section.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

"Heather" by Debra White Smith

What's it about:
Heather Winslow is a young adult and heiress to the family fortune, made in oil. She begrudgingly agrees to her mother's insistence on a 'coming out' ball and to be interviewed by society reporter, Duke Fieldman. Initially put off by Duke's disdain for wealth, she is attracted enough by his good looks to arrange a date with him.

Heather and her two debutante friends love helping to solve high-profile crimes. Once they gather enough evidence, they pass on the information to the newspaper anonymously, along with a long-stemmed rose, earning the three friends the title of 'The Rose'. When the girls take on a high-profile murder, Heather discovers an opportunity to help Duke realise his dream of becoming an investigative reporter.

What I thought:
I really enjoyed this book. Initially Heather and her friends came across as a bit air-headed and ditzy. However, not very far into the book, Debra develops these characters with depth beyond their wealth and easy life. I enjoyed the way that Duke & Heather's relationship was developed and how they dealt with the challenges of bringing their two very different world's and life experiences together.

Book number 2 in this series, 'Lorna' is newly released. I will look forward to reading her story.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Upcoming Jane Austen Season

For those Jane Austen, movie, either or both.... If you live in Australia, ABC1 is showing 'Emma' on Sunday night at 8.30pm.

I went to see 'The Jane Austen Book Club' with three gorgeous friends not so long ago, so I KNOW they'll be interested to know that Jane Austen Season is upon us and will last four weeks! If I read this site correctly the ABC website correctly, it seems that 'Persuasion', 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Mansfield Park' are on the itinerary.

Apparently there is more to the ABC than ABC Kids, 'The Cook & the Chef' and 'Scrapheap Challenge'!!! Who knew?!

Vegetable Rolls

Unfortunately I didn't think to get a photo...what a goose. However, these rolls were as good last night as they were the first time we had them at Mum & Dad's. My treatment of guests in our home came back to bite me ~ we became the guinea pigs for a new recipe, and I'm happy to say, this one was a winner :)

Vegetable Rolls

3 slices bread, roughly chopped
400g can chickpeas or three bean mix, drained & rinsed
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
3 spring onions, thinly sliced (or a red onion, as in my case!)
1/2 cup grated cheese (whichever one you have and/or prefer)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 sheets ready rolled frozen puff pastry, thawed

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper
  3. Process the bread in a food processor until breadcrumbs form and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add chickpeas (or beans), carrot & zucchini to the food processor and process until finely chopped and well combined. Add to the breadcrumbs.
  5. Add spring onion, cheese & egg and mix well.
  6. Cut the pastry sheets in half. Place 1/4 of the mixture along the long edge of the pastry and roll. With the seam underneath, cut into three and place on the prepared tray.
  7. Brush with a little egg (or spray with oil) and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Wanna know what really happened? I pull out a 2 cup bag of grated zucchini from the freezer & defrosted it ~ then I chucked everything in the food processor together because I used a regular red onion, as that's all I had. It actually combined better with the egg in the food processor anyway. I also only had a 3 bean mix can in the that's what I used.

If you have more people to feed than our five, then just add extra of any of the ingredients that suit your fancy and depending on what you have. It won't make too much difference, as long as the mixture is the right consistency, I think.

As I said yesterday ~ no one noticed that there was no meat involved. The filling was quite hearty enough and once wrapped in pastry, the multitude of motherly sins was sufficiently covered. Mr Busy didn't even mention the fact that perhaps there might have been beans in there!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Menu Planning Monday


Can you believe it's the end of May???? I really don't know how that happened.

This week's menu plan goes something like this:

Monday: Mum's Vegie Rolls, potato wedges, steamed vegies
Tuesday: Chicken Curry, brown rice
Wednesday: Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni, steamed vegies
Thursday: Chow Mein
Friday: Wraps or Tacos (Mum & I will be quilting til we wilt for dinner!)
Saturday: Roast Chicken, roast spuds & pumpkin, steamed vegies (maybe even dessert, since Mum & Dad will be here)
Sunday: Vegie Soup & herb dumplings

I will post the recipe for the Vegie Rolls tomorrow. They're VERY tasty and no one would know they have no meat, or as in the case of my son, that they have those wretched evil 'beanies' in them!

Don't forget to leave a comment on yesterday's post,
if you'd like a chance to win one of my recent stitcheries.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A Milestone - 100 Posts!

I can't believe I've reached this milestone so fast. Apparently I have far too much to say! In any case, I kind of feel like I should have something quite profound to post about...but I don't. So how about this instead ~ a gift. In blogging I have met so many beautiful people with such generous spirits, so I think this is far more fitting than some profound words!

As you know, I've been stitching my little heart out all over the place and have lots of bits and pieces that I have no idea what to do with. The above little project was the freebie from Cinderberry Stiches and has joined the pile of cute little things I've done lately.

So...if you would like any one of the four stitcheries I've posted pics of then post a comment and let me know which one you'd like and whether you'd prefer it framed or as a mini wall hanging quilt. They're all in the raw awaiting finishing right now.

I will draw out a name on Thursday morning ~ my Thursday....which will probably be Wednesday for some of you.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

More Cumquat Marmalade

By the time Mum and I got home from Morning Cuppa at school yesterday and wandered down the main street looking for a dress for Mum, this is all I time for. A quick lunch and then marmalade making. My dear mother does not suffer waste well and had taken one look at my cumquat tree and decided that she would not be leaving without a jar of marmalade for herself!

I had fully intended to do just that in the next week or two and my tree was groaning with fruit. So we picked, chopped, boiled and bottled in the two hours we had at home before heading back to school for our Twilight Tours evening. Mum has spent quite a bit of today at school with us, as she decided that helping out with the catering team at Twilight Tours would be more interesting than being home on her own...and she says she really enjoyed getting to know other parents at the school.

Cumquat Marmalade

500g cumquats, deseeded
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups white sugar

  1. Place cumquats in a food processor and blend until chopped.
  2. Place in a microwave safe dish & cook on high for 10 minutes
  3. Add the sugar and water and mix. Cook on high for about 18 minutes, until the jam passes the 'setting test' on a cold plate.
  4. Bottle in sterile jars.

Chuck the lot in a pot and boil til it passes the setting test. (this is what I did yesterday with 3kg of fruit!) I couldn't fit all the water in though, so it missed out on 2 cups. And I used 3kg of sugar to the 3kg of fruit. It was a cup or two short, but it tasted fine. I think jam making is meant to be more precise....oh well....I just went with what I had!

The Setting Test
Place a plate in the freezer so that it is nice and cold. Pop a little bit of the jam onto the plate and put it back in the freezer for 2 minutes. When you take it out, push your finger from the edge of the jam into the centre. If it crinkles up as you push it will set fine. If not, keep boiling!

This recipe was adapted from one using all lemons. I used the same quantities, just changed the fruit. Because of the pectin levels in citrus fruit you don't need to add jamsetta :)

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A Flurry of Activity

It's been a very busy couple of days Beyond My Picket Fence. No one would see the flurry by passing by our front gate ~ from the outside it's the swan on top of the lake. Behind the door, however, it's been mad paddling for all I'm worth!

I spent yesterday finished the Primary Curriculum documents at school. I got my carpets vacuumed (and the vacuum unclogged....KIDS!). Mum arrived while I was picking up kids so we swung home to grab her and go to the op shop.

You know those last minute " child needs a costume for a dress up day at school tomorrow" days? Yeah...that! I bought white lacey doona cover to make a long old fashioned looking skirt, and two shawls for the girls to end their Australia: The Early Years general studies unit. I never got to see them dressed up though :(

The reason for that....I was out the door before 7.30am (hence Mum coming to stay ~ she had to get back in the Mum-saddle!). I am now officially a trained Facilitator with Focus on the Family. That doesn't make me an expert in anything beyond my own just means they're happy for me to run one of their parenting programs, and I am very excited to get going with it now. Apart from the odd bit of nervousness and my abilities and my panic attacks about the DVD situation at church!!!!!

So, if you were wondering where on earth I went, that's where. Everything yesterday was a 'timing issue' and this was one of those things that wasn't absolutely necessary. Right now dh has gone back to the shop and Mum has the children at their Thursday night activities (again, the reason she's back in the Mum-Saddle).

I am so incredibly grateful that my Mum was so willing to offer to come and help us out with today. I didn't even bother to wonder how things were going at home because I knew that Dh could just do his normal thing and I knew that Mum knows what we normally do on a Thursday night and what our routine is. She's an absolute gem of a woman in every way.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Recipe List

My day of re-formatting Primary School Curriculum documents got me inspired. I've been meaning to add a section in my sidebar for links to the recipes I've posted since I began my blog. Well, it's now done. All the recipes I have posted so far have a link so that you should be able to just click on the recipe name you want and it will land you at that post. worked for me, anyway! I've noticed that there are a few I should add. That will keep me going on those brain-fog days when I have no idea what to post LOL.

PNG and Oven Fried Chicken

You may be asking what the two have to do with one another! Actually it's different subjects, but the recipe did come from our time there.

Yesterday morning I walked into Mr Busy's classroom and his teacher asked if it was true...what someone had told her...that I'd lived in PNG. Yes, it is. "Well", she says, "I have a bag of clothes that another parent sent in, could you have a quick look and then could you talk to the kids about them?". Life as a parent helper is never dull and, often, quite a lot more than interesting! There was a grass skirt, a garland of fake flowers, a grass bra (never saw one of those before LOL), and a bilum (a string bag). So I got one of the girls and we dressed her up and talked about the clothes the National people wore before white men came...and what they wear now. We talked about the difference between what is modest for them, compared to our idea of modesty...but also the fact that they have a different standard of modesty for white people.

And then the kids asked questions. Lots of questions. Absolutely fantastic questions and we could have gone on and on and on!!!!

Now here's your reward for tolerating my excited ramblings! A recipe that we acquired while we lived in PNG. This recipe is very very similar to KFC chicken...only much nicer, because you don't feel like all you've had is flavour and oil ;-)

Oven Fried Chicken

Chicken Pieces (on the bone ~ enough for your family)
1/2 cup plain flour
3 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F and place a metal baking pan with a little bit of olive oil in it, in the oven to heat.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bag.
  3. Add the chicken to the bag, hold the top tightly and shake to coat the chicken pieces with the flour mixture.
  4. Remove the heated pan from the oven and place the chicken, skin side up in the pan, shaking off excess flour first. Spray the top of the chicken with oil and return to the oven.
  5. Bake for about an hour and serve.
There you have it, our version of KFC. My Mum did things like this recipe, McMummy's and Fish & Chips when we lived overseas...just so that we wouldn't forget some of the things from back home. Now, as parents, Dh & I choose not to take our children to KFC, believing it to be an incredible waste of money for not-so-wonderful food. We just do it better at home instead! Apparently history is repeating itself.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Monday's Menus


Monday again. I must admit I opened my eyes this morning and thought to myself "I wish I could just stay here a little while longer". However, Dh had a thing in the city, so he was off to the train station at 6.45am and I had no more excuses to stay warm and cosy. Gee I wish my heater was happy to be on a preprogrammed setting!!!!

Anyway, I DO have my menu planned and my shopping list completed, so I will shop on my way home from school at lunch time.

Monday: Spicy Pork Spare Ribs, brown rice, stir fried vegies
Tuesday: CP Chicken Casserole with scallop potatoes
Wednesday: Oven Fried Chicken, vegies
Thursday: CP Irish Stew
Friday: Quiche? We have Twilight Tours @ school, so we may eat there
Saturday: Homemade Pizza
Sunday: Singapore Noodles

I never made it to the lamb roast yesterday, due to an unforeseen trip for 3 to the fish & chip shop on Friday night. So I still have that up my sleeve.

The other reason I didn't have the roast yesterday was that we made a rush trip to the hospital to visit my brand new that point, only 4-5 hours old :) She looks just exactly like her Daddy did when he was a newborn!!!! Red hair, froggy face and all. You gotta love newborn cheeks that you could just eat.

The kids have counted up ~ they now have 16 'real' cousins and two step cousins.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Simple Stitcheries

These little cottage garden stitcheries are what I have been working on over the last few weeks. They're very basic, but the pictures are so cute and the colours are beautiful. They're also just little. The basket of flowers would be lucky to be the size of my palm. So very quick, for an impatient crafter like me!

Now I have myself a dilemma! How to frame them. In the past I have used just little cheap wooden frames from the Warehouse that only cost $2.50 and have used the glass itself to put behind the fabric. I'm not sure this is the best or wisest way to frame these little cuties. If they were dropped, the glass would smash. Although the glass would be enclosed, you'd have to re-frame.

So...does anyone have any fantastic ideas or tips for me? I'd love to get these framed and then decide what to do with them! I showed them to Mrs Martin the other day and when she asked what I was going to do with them I said "I have no idea, but they've kept me occupied!".

Ooooohhh, other stitching news....I was looking at the Cinderberry Stitches blog the other day and have convinced Mrs Martin that she needs to put another order in (because I want the Tea Party for Madeline stitchery) and found a free pattern there for a little Springberries needle case. I'm stitching the little Springberries picture and I think I'll just make that into a mini wall hanging. Again, don't know what I'll do with it, but it was so cute and I just love the characters that Natalie comes up with.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Give Away's Abound!

I've just been catching up on some reading at Relz Reviewz. You should definitely pop over there if you're interested in Christian fiction. She has many different Give Away's on the go right now ~ there are even one or two for those beyond our fair shores of Australia.

There is also a side-splittingly entertaining interview with John B Olson. If his interview is anything to indicate the caliber of his books, then the books will be fantastic!

Where Should You Live?

There are all kinds of quirky little quiz's around these days! I think this one is actually pretty spot on!

You Should Live in the Country

You are laid back, calm, and good at entertaining yourself.

You don't need an expensive big city to keep you busy.

You'll take the peaceful life over the stressful life any day of the week.

You can take the quiz here: Where Should You Live?

If you do, post a comment and let me know where you should live!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Thought Worthy Quotes

I use 'Our Daily Bread' for my devotions. This week, two quotes that have provoked my thoughts are these:

"We shape tomorrow's world by what we teach our children today."

"Those who let God provide will always be satisfied."

Each is rather profound, in its own way, don't you think?

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Being Busy Has Its Payoff's.

I decided, on Monday, that there are many more blessings and privileges associated with the vast amount of time I spend at school, than what I miss out on, by doing other things (including the housework!).

On Monday, all our Prep-Year 2's (a whopping 45 kids!!!) had their devotion time together, allowing Mr Busy's teacher some preparation time she needed. I had the awesome blessing of watching all those little ones singing about how important God is in our day to day lives.

I spend at least 8 hours a week at school, helping in the classrooms that my children are in. Sure there are some weeks where I would be delighted to have the time at home (like the week I was on school camp with the girls!), but I believe that my time at school is a worthwhile investment. An investment in my children. An investment in supporting the teachers who put everything they have into educating MY children. An investment into the school community that we will be a part of for the next 10.5 years.

I don't have the wherewithal to educate my children at home. It's not a lifestyle that suits us. But my children's education is nonetheless very important to me, and indeed, my responsibility. I have developed some very precious relationships with teachers in our school because of my commitment to being in their classrooms. I am also able to have a keen understanding of where my kids are at, academically, and with the children they spend their time with. I think I get the best of both worlds!

We also have a school culture that encourages and enables parents to have as much input into the school as they want to have. What a blessing that is, to parents who want to be involved in what their kids are doing!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Chicken with Dates & Honey

Your wish is my command, Tracy. the very least I aim to keep people happy! Here is the recipe for the Chicken with Dates and Honey. Dried dates are very cheap, so it's worth looking at recipes that use them! I'll give you the recipe and then tell you what I really do LOL.

Chicken with Dates and Honey

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron
2 teaspoons ground cumin
8 chicken thigh cutlets
30g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups water
6 seedless fresh dates
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup blanched almonds

  1. Rub combined salt, pepper, saffron and cumin onto chicken, cover, refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat butter and oil in pan. Add chicken and cook until browned; remove from pan. Add onion and cinnamon to pan, cook, stirring, until onion is soft.
  3. Return chicken to pan, add water, simmer, covered for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  4. Just before serving add the dates and honey and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Serve with couscous or rice

Now....what I really do:
  • I use regular ground cinnamon ~ sticks are expensive, and dried dates, that I have chopped and then put into boiling water to plump them up a bit.
  • I use as much chicken as I need for our family in whatever cut is cheapest or marked down when I shop. It'll mean you might need to adjust the cooking time, that's all. Meat on the bone will be tastier and more moist.
  • I usually put this together right before cooking. I'm sure it would taste better if I let it sit for 2 hours in the spices....but I don't. No one notices!
  • I also don't ever have saffron in the house, so I use a bit of tumeric for the colour.
  • I wouldn't put almonds in it, as I have a daughter who can't eat nuts.
  • You could also put this in the CP, if you have one, for step 3 onwards.
Essentially, what this means, is follow the basic recipe as much as you can and adjust it as you need to for your budget and family's taste.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Menu Plan Monday


I feel like I'm posting this very late in the day ~ that would give you some idea how much time I didn't spend at home!!!

Monday: Lasagna and garlic bread, choc SS pudding for dessert (Mr Busy's birthday choices)
Tuesday: Ricotta Gnocchi with tomato pesto (or just tomato sauce!)
Wednesday: Moussaka & vegies (aka Mouse Meat)
Thursday: Chicken with Dates & Honey, brown rice, steamed carrots & broccoli
Friday: Pasta with vegetable sauce
Saturday: I'm out ~ everyone else will have some l/o frozen vegetarian lasagna
Sunday: Lamb Roast, vegies

For the Aussie gals who visit, I've just done my grocery shopping and spent just under $100 on this weeks bill. So for those of you trying for a more budget friendly menu for your family, this week's menu might just be that much more appealing in ideas for you ;-)

Now a couple of blog-keeping bits & pieces...

Rel suggested to me that I should post all my recipes, not just the menu! If anyone wants a recipe I am only too happy to post them for you so leave a comment and let me know. If I find this becomes a popular request I may consider a separate recipe blog to link to. We'll see.

Another good friend told me she would love to leave a comment and couldn't. You should be able to now. If I discover problems I'll reset to blogger & open ID's only, again.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To all of you Mum's,
I hope your Mother's Day is full of laughter and joy
and the Sunshine of precious children
who remind you that being a Mother
is the most valuable profession in the world.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

A Fun Quiz

I saw this quiz on another blog I was reading today. Take the quiz here and see what colour you are!

Apparently, this is me:


You surround yourself with art and music and are constantly driven to express yourself. You often daydream. You prefer honesty in your relationships and believe strongly in your personal morals.

Find out your color at!

Not sure it's completely accurate, particularly in the first sentence. But the part about relationships & personal morals is certainly true.

Of Blogging...

Do you know what really makes my day? Discovering new friends! One of the things I love about blogging is that almost every week someone new pops in and leaves me a comment and I 'meet' brand new friend! Isn't it nice to know that you're not the only one in the world who values the things that you do? Like living frugally, valuing motherhood, homecooking, putting to use skills that leave you with a garment at completion, living simply and enjoying the area where you live, faith.

I also really enjoy all the friends that pop in regularly. It's like stopping by to have a cuppa with a friend. When I decided to begin blogging, this was the least of my thoughts and yet I was so excited to have someone even find my blog!

This week Terri & Patricia left me little notes ~ Welcome ladies. It's nice to have 'met' you.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Op Shop Find to Ironing Board Cover

I popped in to one of the Op Shops up the street the other day and found this amazing piece of fabric in the fabric bin. It's a Warwick 100% cotton length. Great quality fabric ~ I have a lounge suite covered in Warwick cotton! So, given that my ironing board cover is very tatty looking, that's where this is destined to end up. Soon....I hope!!!!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

My Quilting Education Has Begun

Last night I began my 'official' quilting education. Above is my evening's work (2hrs of sewing, unsewing and resewing!) So far, I've either followed instructions or muddled through different projects on my own. But my local quilt shop does various classes through the term, and this term has begun with a Block of the Month class that will teach participants lots (if not all) the different piecing methods, some applique and all sorts of other bits and pieces necessary for would-be quilters. Already I've learned that my ruler (the light green thing behind my block) has diagonal lines, and how to use that to make a diagonal cut on a triangle. I hadn't even realised those lines were there, really!!!! I also learned that I need a 1/4" foot for my machine (hence the unsewing mentioned previously!).

Over the next month I will need to make three more of these blocks for the completion of the quilt later. Next month we will do a different block, and again make three more for homework.

I have plenty of Thimbleberries scraps and pieces and leftovers from my 'Safe Haven' quilt (yet unfinished) so I've only had to buy a 2m piece of fabric thus far. Very cheap BOM project, I'd say!!!!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Odd Tummy Bug

I seem to have picked up some kind of tummy bug. I don't make a good patient I'm afraid, as I rarely get sick. So I had Dh, Miss Mischief & Mr Busy making their own dinner last night ~ see, I told you that creamy pasta meal was easy peasy! I hid under a quilt trying to avoid the onion smell!!!! I won't go into details, but by the time I went to bed I did feel a little better ~ you can use your imagination to figure that one out. I just hope the kids at school don't get it too. I spent all morning in the 5/6 classrooms.

Today is my day at home, and so I will be just napping and taking it easy before I have a Quilting Class to go to tonight. I'm determined to have nothing wrong with me by then. A bit of rest and a lot of prayer goes a long way, after all.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Recipe Request Fulfilled

Michelle left a comment yesterday asking for the recipe to my pasta with creamy bacon & mushroom sauce. Firstly, welcome Michelle! I took a quick peek at your blog and discovered that we have a lot of similar interests and joys. I don't know anyone else who even knows of the movie "Chocolat". I loved it!

So...that recipe, which you'll be pleased to know is fast and simple and cheap. Everything a Mum wants on a busy day!

Pasta with Creamy Bacon & Mushroom Sauce

Pasta, boiled to your family's taste ~ enough to feed your family and any shape you like. Dry or homemade...whatever suits you.
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 rashers bacon, diced or in thin strips...whatever takes your fancy and you have time for!
Mushrooms....I don't know, about 10? Thinly sliced so you get the most out of them
Parmesan cheese to serve

Saute the onion & garlic in about 20g of butter.
Add the bacon & mushrooms and saute until the bacon is cooked and the mushrooms have softened nicely.
Add the cream. For our family I use about 200ml. Allow that to come to the boil and thicken just a little bit. Then add the cooked pasta.
Mix well and serve with grated fresh parmesan cheese.

There you have it ~ very simple and very tasty. Miss Sunshine has Bible Study tonight so we need something that I can have chopped & ready to go before I take her to her transport (we share with another family that is close to us), and then cooks quickly once I get home.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Finally...Menu Planning Monday


It's been a fabulous Monday for me. I have had Miss Mischief's teacher and a fellow parent compliment me in the highest possible way...both suggesting that I have what it takes to be a teacher. I think I'll settle for facilitating parenting education programs instead ~ that's where my passions lie. However, it is immensely satisfying to know that my time and effort are appreciated and valuable to those I seek to encourage and serve.

So, in amongst all the time I spent at school in classrooms, and cutting up birthday cake for Miss Sunshine's 5/6 class, I DID manage to get this week's menu plan done. It looks rather lonely, with all those empty spaces for the rest of the month, but at least I can shop tomorrow, knowing what I will need!

Monday: Tuna & Rice
Tuesday: Pasta with Creamy Bacon & Mushroom Sauce
Wednesday: Vegetable Lasagna (with homemade pasta)
Thursday: Cottage Pie and garlic bread (recipe from Apples for Jam)
Friday: maybe, Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni. Need to check with the child who is sleeping over that night
Saturday: Hamburgers (may just swap this with Friday, if that works)
Sunday: Lamb shank & Barley Soup

There you have it. At last! Simple, hopefully cheap, healthy and filling.

'Some Facts About Me' Meme

Tracy at Sunny Corner Farm has tagged me for this little Meme. So whilst you await a tantilising menu plan for this week (read, I haven't even thought about it yet) this will have to suffice!

Some facts about me.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago:
Good question, what was I doing? I had a toddler and a baby 10 years ago. Miss Sunshine was 2yo and Miss Mischief was 6mo. So I was going to playgroup each week, attending a KYB bible study group at my church and changing a LOT of nappies!

Five Snacks I enjoy:
Not sure I have 5! Let's see....
1. Crackers with camembert cheese
2. Popcorn, with salt and real butter (h/m in a pot, not an air popper)
3. Dark Chocolate....lindt lindor balls are the thing that does me in!
4. One of Jennifer's flourless orange cupcakes (from Crabapple Cupcake Bakery)
5. A multigrain salada cracker with real butter

I'm either extraordinarily exotic or quite boring, aren't I?!

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

I would buy a couple of acres in the town I live in, so that I could be a little more self sufficient with vegie patches and chooks.
I would give money to organisations and charities that I am passionate about.
I might buy a new caravan and sell the old one we have now.
Otherwise, I can't imagine that my life would look too different. I like where we are at right now.

Five jobs that I have had:

1. Admin at the Department of Community Medicine at Monash Uni.
2. Reception/Admin at Youth For Christ.
3. Reception/Salaries/Accounts at a Christian School.
4. Mum
Sorry...I just haven't had five jobs!!!!

Three of my habits:

1. Getting up early (by early I mean b/n 6am & 7am)
2. Reading in bed before I turn out the light
3. Menu Planning

Five place I have lived:

1. Melbourne, Australia
2. Mt Hagen, PNG
3. Wewak, PNG
4. Back to Melbourne...but I've lived in 2 suburbs and 2 semi rural towns on the outskirts of Melbourne, does that count as more than 5?

I'm tagging whoever wants to join in. In deviating a little from the rules I'll create one of my own ~ if you decide to take this on, on your own blog, then please post a comment here to let us know. If you don't have a blog, then feel free to post some facts about you here in my comments.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Mummy Tax

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Miss Mischief insisted I should tell you about the 'Mummy Tax', having been taxed herself, last night!

A friend of mine introduced this to me, by default really. She had opened a little packet of chips for her son and declared "Mummy Tax" and proceeded to take one chip out of the bag for herself and passed the rest to her son. Her son didn't bat an eyelid, but simply accepted that Mum does stuff like that! My children thought it was quite funny, and somehow where once they were reluctant to share one chip with me they were quite accepting of the "Mummy Tax". They knew it would only be one chip (or a bite of anything they happened to be enjoying). They will now share quite willingly, knowing we have no intention of depriving them of their entire treat.

Last night we were out for dinner for my Mum's 60th birthday and the children had chips served with their meals. Mr Busy handed me a chip and said "Here Mum, Mummy Tax". Miss Mischief, on the other hand, had to pay a "Daddy Tax" and feeling slightly miffed to lose one chip off her huge pile, said "You should tell people on your blog about this". I think she feels that if she has to share, then so should every other child on the planet!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig

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We're home again. The girls and I had a fabulous camp! We went to the IMAX theatre, had a sail on Port Phillip Bay in 'The Enterprize', a replica tall ship. Then we spent one a half days at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, exploring the difference in life between now and 200 years ago, as Australia was just getting started. We did some fun things like gold panning, candle dipping, played a 'Gold Fever' game and learned what life was like for children in the 1800's. Miss Sunshine's teacher learned a lot about the difference between teaching now and teaching then, I think! He was able to put some of those new skills to use a dinner time that night with one of the parent helpers!!!! The kids voted to have him come back and join us ~ apparently he has some friends, not to mention that he was our bus driver and we needed home to get home LOL.

The kids were absolutely fabulous. We spent a lot of time on the bus, given the 2-3 hours of traveling each way to camp. They told jokes over the buses PA system, they sang songs. Two boys made up a rap song about the camp and the kids encouraged them when the boys finally pushed through the nerves to perform it...again, on the bus! We had a Bus Idol competition. As a parent I was able to witness the ways that our teaching staff encourage and nurture the faith of each child throughout the camp. And I was able to really spend some quality time with some of the kids, chatting about how tough things are at home, with one boy. Praying with some of the girls who had gotten a bit scared, cuddling another one who just wanted to go home to Mum. Teasing a boy who had broken his promise not to tell anymore jokes. It was a great bonding time for us all. The kids got to see that us parents are regular people who enjoy having fun!

I'm going to need the tissues when it comes to Year 6 graduation now, I think LOL.