Tuesday, 30 April 2013

kindness gift wk 2: homemade muesli...

Around our house we love homemade muesli, so this week I've decided to make this as my 'kindness gift' as blogged about earlier in the month.

What you need to do:

5-7 cups of oats (I mix wholegrain & rolled oats) into a shallow roasting pan
heat 2/3 cup of canola oil with 3/4 cup of Manuka honey & 2 tsp cinnamon
(very rarely do I actually use that much honey as it costs a lot! cheaper options are golden syrup, honey/maple syrup or maple syrup)
Pour the oil & honey over oats, toss thoroughly, put in oven on bake at 180-200 Celsius.
Toast for about 10mins, stirring a few times so it doesn't burn/stick to dish
When quite golden, remove and cover with the following:

1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flaked/slivered almonds 
1/2-1 cup of unsalted roasted cashews
(or just chop some whole almonds)
other options: sesame seeds, linseed, peanuts, pecans, macadamias

put back in the oven and watch carefully, take out once coconut and almonds nicely browned.

Let cool then add your fruit:

1/2 cup medium/finely sliced apricot
1/2 cup dried apple diced
1/3 cup wheatgerm (or LSA mix)
1 cup raisins/sultanas (or a mix)
1/2 cup craisins/cranberries (optional)
(Countdown supermarket sells: Berry Mix in 400g bag that lasts me 3-4 muesli 
making batches)
Optional extras:

add more cinnamon 
vanilla extract is good too (add to the oil at start)
1 cup Allbran
1-2 cups cornflakes 
(the last two make the muesli last longer and lighten it up a bit)

could try...2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses in with oil & honey.

this is what the muesli will look like after being cooked and dried fruit added.
A batch of this muesli using 6 cups of oats last's my husband and I 2wks and that is eating generous portions of muesli.
It may seem expensive reading down the list of ingredients but you customise them to suit your budget and the more you make it the more you learn what works and what doesn't.  Also Bin Inn or bulk food places are great for picking up the basic ingredients for cheap.

This week's batch of muesli went to my lovely sister and her family, to say thanks for the HUGE 2kg tub of fresh runny honey they gave us, which I use to toast my muesli in.

Monday, 29 April 2013

gift bag tutorial no.1...

My first attempt at doing a tutorial, I little sketchy but I'll learn what works best as I try these things out. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

double chocolate chip cookies....

These are possibly my favourite homemade cookies, they not only taste good, they look bought when baked and you get a load of cookies from one batch.
It's an all round winner in my mind.


Serves 30 (if you don't eat lots of cookie dough)


125g butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa (the richer the better)
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (get the chunky ones)


1. Preheat oven to 160 C
2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy
3. Mix in vanilla essence and egg
4. Stir in flour and cocoa
5. Add the chocolate chips
6. Place teaspoons of mixture on greased baking tray and bake at moderate oven for 10-15 minutes.

Yum...now sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy a warm chocolate chip cookie, two! 

(This is one of the recipes I used for week 1: gift)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

kindness gift wk 1...

week 1: 

* I made a special bag for my 'random act of kindness gift', this was fun to create something unique for my gift to go in, instead of just using a plastic plate, or glad bag.
(tutorial for bag)

* then I made my favourite cookies (on the blog another day), which are double chocolate chip, and peanut butter chocolate chip

* packaged them up in the little gift bag and set off to see a friend who is husband less for a few weeks, 32wks pregnant and has a near 2yr old...I figured she would love some home baking to pass the time.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

a quick recipe...

savoury muffins....

4 Eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup grated tasty cheese
75g feta roughly chopped into 1/2 cm chunks
4 cups self-raising flour
1 red onion - finely diced
(cooked to eliminate strong onion flavour)
2 tomatoes - diced
1 red capsicum (or prefered colour) - diced
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder 

1 cup finely chopped spinach (if you don't have this try a mixture of homegrown spinach, basil, and parsley)
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds 
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Either butter large texas muffin trays, or line them with squares of baking paper*

Whisk together all the wet ingredients until combined.

Sift the flour into the mixture and add the tasy cheese, onion, tomatoes, spinach and salt and pepper (to taste) and fold gently into the wet ingredients.

Spoon mixture into the muffin trays and bake for approx 20-25 minutes until cooked.

*I like to line my muffin tins with baking paper - there is a lot less mess to clean up and they look really stylish wrapped in the baking paper, especially if you tie some twine around the baking paper cases in a bow once they are out of the oven and cooled.

This week my husband asked me...or maybe I offered to make muffins? for 2 days training that he was helping run for work instead of him buying them from the supermarket.  I instantly hit google up for some recipe ideas on savoury muffins, as I didn't have a favourite one in any of my books, now I have found a good recipe.  The original recipe can be found here, but I have adapted it to suit our taste buds.  When it comes to savoury muffins my husband loves cumin seeds in them, fresh herbs, and lots of salt flavour, so I've added a few extra spices and herbs in to the original recipe.
It also makes 12-15 decent size muffins just using the standard muffin tin size and they rise up nice and high.  
This is a keeper for me anyhow...try it out and see what you think?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

my tribute to Ross...

{21.04.1983- 28.01.2013}

My dear brother

You looked different and talked different, peoples eye's lingered on you as we walked through town, chatting, shopping, and joking around as siblings do.
To me you were normal, perfect, the right brother for me and I stopped noticing that people gazed at you for an extra long time.  As for me you were the only Ross I knew, the brother God had hand picked for me to grow up with, to laugh with, to cry with, to build lego with and dress up as a girl during our childhood years.

To have you journey with me for the past 29 yrs 9mths has taught me so many things, and I'm still learning from you even now that you are gone.  With out you I wouldn't be half the woman I am today, and I thank you for helping shape who I am today, and I thank God for placing you in my life to be used in this way.

You've taught me to appreciate the finer things in life, you loved all things Royal, Regal, Classy and Refined...if it wasn't done properly it wasn't worth your time.
You've taught me to appreciate history, your love for castles and all things British was outstanding and it always amazed be how much you knew about these topics.
The biggest lesson I learnt from you Ross was 'Patience'.

To slow down, as you were unable to walk and move as fast as me, if I wanted to chat with you I had to walk at your pace.  There were many times in our childhood we'd just sit out in the paddock for a rest to help you catch your breath and then move on, it took take us long time to get home after exploring somewhere.  This never stopped us having hours of fun, loads of laughs and various sibling squabbles about who was carrying what home or riding the bike or scooter home.  It almost always ended in me taking both, but I didn't mind it was part of life with a brother like Ross.
You were born with a faulty heart (tetralogy of fallout)  but it was an enormous heart when it came to loving those who were dear to you.  So caring, and generous, you always thought of others and always rung for a catch-up.  With the uncanny knack of ringing when we had just sat down for dinner...love you for this Ross!

To me these phones calls were sometimes very timely, just when I needed to chat with my brother about life, other times I found them annoying as I thought I was too busy to catch up.  But on the whole I always tried to answer your calls as I never knew if it would be my last chat with you.  That was the difference with having a brother who had a heart condition...life expectancy was originally 6wks! each day was borrowed time after that.  Now we've had our last chat on earth, and it was great! you challenged me, you questioned some of my life decisions at the time, and you asked about my friends and said to say 'hi' to them.  Next time we talk you will be perfect and I'll be perfect in glory land on one of those streets paved with gold, and I'll be able to visit your castle, the one that God had designed for you from before you were born.  I can guarantee that it is better than any castle you ever dreamt of building from you lotto ticket winnings.  I await the day when I get to see you again Ross, for now though it's farewell.

And I want you to know you were the best brother I could have ever dreamt of having, you were more than a brother, but a very close friend too.  I miss having you around, but I'm thankful that my life was blessed with you being in it for 29 years and today you would have turned 30!!! (21 April 2013).

Happy Birthday little brother...love you forever!


Thursday, 18 April 2013

homemade is best...

Homemade is definitely best when it comes to most things in life, there is a sense of accomplishment, and satisfaction that you've made it when you thought it was too hard.  This I reckon is especially true when it comes down to gifts, they may be simple or elaborate but the fact that you've spent more time on the gift usually means it is better suited for the receiver.  You have thought a lot more about what you are going to make and in return it is better designed for the receiver, and I think that makes it so much more beautiful.

Over the next 4 weeks I'll be posting once a week something homemade that you can easily do as a gift or treat for a friend, child or someone you think needs cheering up. 

These homemade treats...will be referred to as 'Random Acts of Kindness', and each week I'll be giving my homemade gift to someone I think needs to receive a 'Random Act of Kindness' pick me up.

It's time to add some cheerfulness to 2013!!

Anyone want to join in? 

(you can choose what you make to give someone)

Friday, 12 April 2013

a bucket full of tears...

2013 through us my family a curve ball back in January, when my only brother passed away.

what passed through my mind when my Mother called to tell me he had gone to be with his Lord? 

- this is surreal
- I've seen him close to death many times before
- now he has actually gone!!
- I have to see him to believe he isn't here anymore
- I'd been expecting this phone call from Mum for the last 15yrs
- it still hurt to know he had gone
 (regardless of the fact he had lived his life with a heart condition which was deemed in-operable at birth).

I've lost all my grandparents, but to loss someone so close to you feels like your heart has been ripped out, trampled, and it's hard to breath.

But the other thing that grieving does to a family is it brings the remaining members closer together.
You embrace each other like never before, you share stories of memories you hold, then you laugh and cry at once and that is perfectly normal.
You become more aware that every day is a blessing, to bless others, and to embrace those closest to you to say you love them.  
 It reminds you that those fickle family frauds, are they really worth the divide between loved ones. 

Since my brother's funeral I've been to 3 more funerals, none of which have been easy, but I was blessed to have had nearly 30yrs with my brother, where other's have only had 4 days with their loved one.  Needless to say I've shed a bucketful of tears in the last 2 1/2mths, and I've learnt a lot by letting them stream down my face.

So tonight/today reach out to those closest to you and tell them you love them immensely.


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