Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #2

Today continues my quest to try recipes I have earmarked, and narrow down all of the post it notes I have over my cookbooks. I have so many cookbooks and this year I am determined to use them instead of my usual websites, as it gives me great joy to read through a cookbook and pick out yummy recipes to try.

Usually, getting my family to eat brown rice is a mission. I was really keen this week to try a Curried Rice Salad from The Skinny Bitch cookbook- excuse the name! This cookbook is all about sustainability and eating food that is good for your body, not necessarily diet food and being skinny. It is a great read if you are interested in a vegan lifestyle or just want to make your meals healthier. Reading this cookbook has made me more aware about pesticides and whole grain foods, although I still do love my meat and cannot get away with dairy free or vegan food in this household! Nonetheless, I slightly adapted one of Kim's recipes for my family's tastes.

Curried Rice Salad
adapted from The Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook

Makes 4 servings

1 cup brown rice
1 cup diced cucumber
1 carrot, grated
1 cup chopped green beans
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon liquid honey
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Cook the rice according to packet directions- I use my rice cooker.

Combine the rice with the cucumber, carrot and green beans.

In a small jug, whisk together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, curry powder and sesame oil for the dressing. Combine with the rice and vegetables and stir in the coconut. Chill for two hours then serve.

Kim believes in using non-GMO oils and I was pleased to note that at least my sesame oil would tick the box, even though my mayonnaise wasn't vegan.

To find out more about Kim, visit

I served the rice with Crunchy Chicken Fingers based on 4 Ingredients Kids as I know my family likes this.

750 grams chicken tenderloin
3/4 cup natural yogurt
2 cups wholemeal breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Combine breadcrumbs and cheese together in one bowl, and place yogurt in another bowl. Coat chicken with yogurt and then breadcrumb and cheese mixture. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

The verdict:

My husband kept saying that the rice was "so good" and "really good"- pleasing words coming from the strong, silent type. The chicken and rice was devoured by my eighteen month old, although he did pick out the green beans. My four year old refused to eat anything but that can be quite typical of our usual evening! Overall, I would say that this was a very successful dinner and I may have finally won the brown rice battle.

Linking up with Wake Up Wednesdays.

Wake Up Wednesdays

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Love Papercraft Sampler

February is fast approaching, and with it comes Valentines Day. To me, February is the month of love because it is the month that I married my wonderful husband. We will be celebrating six years of marriage in February, and so this Love Papercraft Sampler will be perfect to display during the month.

The squares are mounted on white cardstock at 12"x12", then the decorative paper is 11"x11"  and the brown cardstock is 10.5"x10.5". Each inner white square is 2.5"x2.5", with the inner squares at 2.25"x2.25".

I had a lot of fun using up my wedding, Valentine and love themed scraps, as well as playing with a chocolate, red and pink combo. Here is a close up of each corner:

Top left

Top right

Bottom left

Bottom right

This is how it will be displayed in my home during February, complete with a wedding photo as well as a recent photo of the two of us.

How are you decorating for Valentines Day? I would love to hear your ideas.

Supplies used:
7Gypsies: Love Amour stickers.
BoBunny: Layered Valentines stickers.
Close To My Heart: Cloud Nine stamp set, A Garden stamp set, You Are My Happy Alphabet stamp set, Cotton Candy ink
Creative Memories: Cheerful Valentines Additions, Loveable Heart punch, Cherish stickers, Chocolate cardstock
Cuttlebug: Sample Embossing Folder, Clouds Embossing Folder.
Stampin' Up: Pink ribbon, Chocolate Chip ink, Riding Hood Red ink, I heart Hearts stamp set, Large Oval punch, Punch Potpourri stamp set, Occasions Aphabet stamp set.
Miscellaneous from my stash: Red glitter heart stickers

Linking up with:

Show and Tell

 Show & Tell Thursday's

The Memory Nest

Sunday, January 26, 2014


This year, I am taking a portrait of my children every week and sharing it here.

This week's photos:

Lucas checking out a snail on our window.

Adam has been in the Tupperware cupboard.
I love the way they are intrigued by the simplest things- bugs and banging plastic!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lego City Birthday Party

My boy Lucas recently turned four, and the excitement was high for at least a month beforehand. He requested a Lego City birthday party, and his birthday wishlist was Lego, Lego and more Lego. I turned to the place I know has great party supplies- Sweet Pea Parties.

The first thing I did was create an invite. You can get Lego City invitations but I always like to create my own, so here is what I came up with using my digital scrapbooking software and a free Lego font from

I started off with the basics- Lego City decor for the table! Cups, plates and napkins were easy to find to match the theme. For everything else, I tied in the colours of blue, red and white to match the police car and firetrucks featured in the Lego City range.

One of the big things is food- and once again I went with the Lego theme as well as the red, white and blue colour scheme. My biggest gamble was making Lego Block Jelly as outlined in my previous blog post about things off Pinterest that I wanted to try out. To my surprise, it worked really well! All I did was put different jelly colours in Megablocks and left to set.


I also made lego blocks and Lego men out of silicone moulds using Yellow Candy Melts and Red Candy Melts. The yellow ones made cute Lego men, and I also used them to make my Lego Man Head Pops using the Wilton Lollipop Sticks, drawing on the faces with a green icing pen.

The red melts were great on the cake as well as the cupcakes, which I wrapped in the Indigo Baking Cups.

I also made Lego pizzas for something savoury to snack on.

We also served Cheerios with tomato sauce ( a must for any birthday party according to my husband), crackers with cheese circles cut to look like Lego blocks, mini savouries, red, blue and yellow M&Ms and some fruit salad cups.

The fruit salad cups were banana, strawberries and blueberries to match the theme colours and presented in the cute icecream cups with red spoons. The cutlery was contained in a special Lego box that Lucas made.

The kids ate at a separate table covered with a Blue Table Cloth to contain any spills or tomato sauce slops.

To keep the kids entertained while I prepped the food, I printed out some Lego Minifigures and the kids had fun colouring them in- even some of the adults had a go!

Of course, the most anticipated item at a birthday party is usually the cake, and this year was no exception. Lucas helped me to make my go-to chocolate cake recipe.

Using a silicone mould and a square cake tin, I made a Lego Man on top of a sheet cake to create a two layered cake.

The cake was made using Navy Blue, Ruby Red, and Yellow fondant, as well as some blue buttercream icing and homemade black modelling chocolate. The thing I loved most about the fondant was that it actually had a flavour to it- the red was yummy! I am not a cake decorating expert by any means but I was pleased with the end result- and Lucas loved his Lego Man cake. I stuck some candles on it and we were ready to go.

The guests each left with a Lego City goodie bag full of chocolate and a Lego City Notepad.

And yes, Lucas did get all the Lego that was on his wishlist thanks to generous family and friends!

For more ideas and instructions, please visit my Lego Birthday Party Pinterest board.

 Linking up with Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Merry Monday #92 and FMS #120 card

Time is going by so quickly already, and I am glad to get some crafting hours in while the days are still long.

 I finally finished my December Daily and have a lot of Christmas stuff left over, so while it was out I decided to play along with this week's Merry Monday challenge.

I combined the challenge with the Freshly Made Sketches design this week.

Luckily I had all of these bits and pieces on hand and the card came together relatively quickly- no stamping on this one for a change!

The banner was a leftover journaling card from my December Daily, and the embellishment was a layered sticker I had purchased but never got around to using. It feels good to use up some of my stash!

Supplies used:
Echo Park: 'Tis The Season Layered Stickers.
Stampin' Up: Season Of Style DSP, Mini Glue Dots, Season Of Style Designer Journaling Tags, Riding Hood Red Taffeta Ribbon.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #1

One thing I love receiving is recipe books- I have post it notes all over them with recipes I want to try.

Well, this year I have decided to bite the bullet and make one recipe a week that I have flagged in my recipe books. I trawl Pinterest and food magazines a lot, but some of my recipe books have great tried and true recipes and it is time to find some new favourites.

My first recipe comes from Annabel Langbein's cookbook The Best of Annabel Langbein This is one of my go-to cookbooks but there are lots of recipes in here I have yet to try. I wanted something light but filling for a hot summer evening, and the Grilled Chicken and Crispy Noodle Salad looked amazing. I was intrigued by the combo of bananas, avocados and pesto with chicken and bacon in a salad, but since my family enjoys all of these ingredients I figured it was worth a try.

I got all of the ingredients together (minus the pesto, which was in the fridge!)

You marinate the chicken in lemon juice and pesto with whole lemon slices- it smelt so good. The recipe called for grilling the chicken, but I had already diced it so I just cooked it in the pan.

Then it was a matter of tossing all of the ingredients together...

And adding the crispy noodles to serve. Yum!

The salad was surprisingly filling, and the combination of flavours worked well. I would happily make this salad again, and wouldn't change a thing.

I really recommend any Annabel Langbein books to any cook wanting a fantastic book for reading as well as recipes- the food photography in this cookbook is so vibrant and it makes me want to cook every time. She is a great New Zealand writer and a lot of her recipes adapt well for busy families.

Linking up with Wake Up Wednesdays.

Wake Up Wednesdays

Sunday, January 19, 2014


This year, I am joining in here and taking a portrait of my children once a week in 2014. 

Lucas loves helping me with the baking.

Can you spot the cheeky face?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Summer Papercraft Sampler

It has been a while since I shared some of my papercraft samplers- the last one I did was this Winter themed one and so I needed one for the other seasons.

Here in New Zealand we are in the middle of summer, so it was only fair that my next item be a Summer Papercraft Sampler.

This was a great way to use up some seasonal scraps I had stashed away, plus I love the colours together as they really remind me of summer. Here is the finished product:

The squares are mounted on white cardstock at 12"x12", then the decorative paper is 11"x11"and the yellow cardstock is 10.5"x10.5". Each white square is 2.5x2.5", with the inner squares at 2.25" x 2.25".

A close up of each four squares-

Top left:

Top right:

Bottom left:

Bottom right:

And here it is hanging up in the frame in my entranceway.

My favourite squares are the sun with sunglasses and the pinwheel- do you have a favourite square?

This was a lot easier to get into than my Winter one, as this is the third one I created and I am now more organised with creating each square. I will have another themed Papercraft Sampler to share with you in February.

Linking up with Show and Tell and The Memory Nest.

 Show & Tell Thursday's

Supplies used:
Stampin' Up: Pool Party cardstock, Extra Large Oval Punch, Pool party ink, Strawberry Slush ink, Coastal Cabana ink, Itty Bitty Shapes punch pack, Fish Frenzy roller stamp, Pinwheel Sizzix Die, Boho Blossoms stamp set, Itty Bitty Buttons.
Creative Memories: White cardstock, Shape maker System, 12" Rotary trimmer, Precision Point Adhesive, It's A Girl Paper Pack, Summer Layered Stickers, Meadow Mini Punch, Seasons Paper Pack, Gold cardstock, Mediterranean cardstock, Blossom Place and Punch, Fabulous Summer Additions, Classic Seasons stickers, Cheerful Summer Additions, Butterfly Punch.
Making Memories: Pastel Mini Brads.

Close To My Heart: Micro-Tip Scissors.
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