Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WCW Bacon and Egg Pie

Bacon and Egg Pie is one of those polarising dishes that everyone has their opinion on. What type of pastry? Peas or no peas? Hot or cold?

Today I am sharing with you my version of Bacon and Egg Pie, which I hope you will enjoy.

You will need:
400g smoked shoulder bacon, chopped
8 sheets filo pastry
7 eggs
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

preheat oven to 190 degrees C on Classic Bake.

Place four sheets of the filo pastry in a deep pie dish. Sprinkle 2/3 of the bacon over the base, then add the peas. Crack 6 of the eggs into the pie, reserving the last egg.

Sprinkle with the last of the bacon and season with pepper.

Place the last four sheets of pastry on top of the pie, and then fold in the overhanging sides of the base pastry to make a scrunched topping. Cut three slits for steam to escape. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush over the pastry.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes until golden. Can be served hot, warm or cold and works great with onion marmalade on the side!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Our Family Holiday to Cromwell

We have just returned from a wonderful time in Cromwell. I apparently used to visit all the time when I was a young girl as my family lived nearby, but as an adult I have only ever driven past Cromwell and had no idea of how large it was or what attractions it had for a young family. My husband had never visited Cromwell either an had only driven past, so when an opportunity came up to visit Cromwell with other family members and celebrate my grandparents' birthdays, we decided to make a family holiday out of it.

We stayed at Cromwell Motel, and I cannot express how wonderful this place was! From the recently renovated bathroom, the spacious kitchen bench, the sensible room layout, the pool and the accommodating hosts, this place surpassed my expectations. Even a vomiting child was no problem for the owners, who helped with extra bedding and didn't make a fuss.

On the way there, we had to make a stop at the historic old church at Lake Tekapo. We managed to get this beautiful family shot- we had one take on a camera with a tripod, and the place was milling with tourists but amazingly none got in the shot! This is being turned into a canvas for our wall.

When we got to Cromwell, we had to take another family photo with the giant fruit! Cromwell is known for stone fruits, and this monument is a great photo opportunity.

The boys enjoyed wandering through Cromwell Mall, a great outdoor group of shops with waterways throughout. I recommend getting the icecream from Hansel and Gretel's Sweet Shop- the Belgium Biscuit flavoured one was amazing- and the boys chose mint choc chip and banoffee. I had a cashew and cream cheese mix, which was delicious!

Since Cromwell is the place of stone fruits, it was only right that we go fruit picking. The only fruit available to pick was cherries, and we had a lovely afternoon picking cherries from Glenvale Orchard. We even took some white cherries, which were fantastic for avoiding stains on the kid's clothing!

There is lots of historical information at Old Cromwell Town, where the buildings from the settlement have been recreated in a street setting. Old Cromwell was flooded due to the building of the dam, but the history remains. Grab a bite to eat from the cafe and sit by the lakeside, or explore the buildings and shops.

None of us have been fishing, but we holidays with my sister and brother in law, who is a keen fisherman. We trotted off down to the lakeside to try catch a fish. We were unsuccessful, but discovered how peaceful and fun fishing can be! Lucas in particular was so excited about catching a fish, that we now have a new hobby to look into here in Christchurch.

Our Friday afternoon saw us heading off to Highlands Motorsport Park, where there is a brand new dinosaur park tour! We were loaded into a truck and driven around the park, where dinosaurs were spotted thorughouyt the woods as well as a few other interesting sights!

There is the opportunity to get off the truck and explore the area, with a flying fox, picnic area, obstacle course and photo opportunities with some of the dinosaurs. This is a definite must-do in Cromwell for those of you with children- or even if you are a grown up!

At Highlands there is also plenty for the men to look at, with a vast array of supercars, motorbikes and vehicle memorabilia. You can even get a ride in a Lamborghini or V8 Supercar, or have a race with Go Karts. If you are more like me, you can sneak off and have a wine at The Nose winery and restaurant. Other activities for the kids include mini golf, a sculpture park and a balance bike track.

It is a short drive out to Clyde Dam- the controversial project that flooded areas of Central Otago but has been beneficial in providing a trusted source of power since 1993. From here, you can also visit nearby Alexandra- where I lived as a young girl!

We came prepared with a lot of our own food, but we did dine out at Gentle Annies, based in Golden Gate Lodge, for birthday celebrations. The waiter was amazing- bringing the boys their food as we sat down to eat so that they wouldn't have to wait while 35 adults ordered, and there was also a children's play area. The wine list was extensive, and the food was far beyond what I expected. My kale wrapped salmon with risotto did not disappoint, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed his gourmet sandwich.

I was so impressed with what Cromwell has to offer- I didn't even get to the wineries so we have all agreed as a family that we will be going back! Even my husband was pleasantly surprised at the array of activities to do in Cromwell, and if we ever win Lotto we would be getting a holiday house and a boat for Cromwell. The pace, setting and location was perfect for our family, and the boys are already requesting for Cromwell to be our destination at Christmas.

Monday, January 26, 2015

To The Laboratory!

Welcome back to another installment of the Poppins Book Nook!

This month's theme is To The Laboratory!

My boys are both science mad, and so this theme was right up their alley. We have previously created Chocolate Foam, experimented with dissolving items, made a gooey geyser, explored how condensation works, shaped some fizzy stars and done science experiments with kitchen items.

When we saw Pop Up Physics Fun it instantly enthralled both of my boys. The 2 year old had a huge smile looking at all of the interactive elements, and my 5 year old boy was so excited to read all the fun facts. 

The book also has suggestions for experiments throughout the book, so we took these on board.

The first experiment was a challenge of removing the bottom coin from a pile, with just a ruler allowed and no hands, no picking up any other coins and no tipping the other coins over. Lucas had a great time coming up with ideas, and discovered that if he hit the bottom coin with a ruler on the side very fast, it would fly out and leave the other coins still stacked. Of course, we had to repeat this move a few times as it was very entertaining!

Secondly we tried the experiment outlined above- moving a can with a book and marbles, It even moved by itself, much to the delight of the boys.

We had a great time using experiments from this book to investigate the world around us. Click below to see how other members of Poppins Book Nook were inspired!

 Clip art by MelonHeadz.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual MayhemPreschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

Friday, January 23, 2015

Breakfast Bounty at The Shroom Room

I was lucky enough to try out one of the newest cafe attractions to Lyttleton in the new Albion Square- The Shroom Room- for a birthday breakfast.

Walking in, the atmosphere was very inviting and I was taken by the striking black decor and rock n' roll vibe. Handwritten chalkboard menus showed the specials, and the cabinet food looked divine. The selection of pizzas, muffins and sweet treats in this vegetarian and vegan inspired eatery will leave even the meat eaters happy with the options supplied!

It was a bit too early in the morning to be having pizza, so we opted for the breakfast menu. But first came the coffee- a great size and a great price too!

 Photo courtesy of Melissa 
The menu had a great selection of breakfast fare, and a lot of the ladies chose to go with the hash breakfast. Poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, spinach and homemade hash cakes that were generous in size, delicious and well presented.

I opted for the muesli, berry compote, fresh fruit and yoghurt. The presentation was amazing, with a cute chopping broad, springs of lavender and even a fancy milk jug. The food itself was delicious and I may have sparked fresh fruit envy!

Sunlight streamed in, and this cafe boasts an excellent indoor/outdoor flow. You could sit inside on colder days, but the courtyard looked extremely inviting and looked out onto the action. On Saturday the Lyttleton Farmers' Market was running, which meant that the cafe was busy but we did not feel it was too noisy or crowded. It was still a very peaceful place and I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast.

All of us raved about our meals, and it is safe to say we will be experiencing The Shroom Room again! I can't wait to take my husband and boys here, The Shroom Room has got a perfect combination of healthy, flavoursome food and a relaxed atmosphere that is popular with locals and visotors alike.

For more reviews, check out what Anisa and The Press have to say about The Shroom Room.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Four Ways with Nibble Rolls

Perfect for picnics, camping or road trips, nibble rolls are a fun way to eat! Nibble rolls are a pizza type dough with filling- in-between a pinwheel scone and a sausage roll.

These nibble rolls are so adaptable, and today I am showing you four flavour combinations.

To begin, you will need some uncooked pizza dough. You can purchase dough from the supermarket, or make your own using the following method in a breadmaker.

1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup lukewarm water
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
3 teaspoons breadmaker yeast

Place the ingredients in your bread machine in the order listed. Select dough setting and let the breadmaker get to work! You can also knead by hand if you do not have a breadmaker.

When the dough process is complete, remove from breadmaker and let the dough sit for 45 minutes until doubled in size.

Now we are ready to begin!

Gather your filling ingredients together. My combinations are:
50g feta with 100g defrosted frozen spinach
1/4 cup onion marmalade with grated cheese
Vegemite and grated cheese
Finely chopped dried apricots and 1 teaspoon sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Divide your dough into four even portions.

Taking the first portion, roll out on a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle, then spread fillings on top.

Roll up from the long end to create a sausage, stretching as you roll to make the log as long as possible.

Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 8-10 slices. Pictured here are the spinach and feta rolls, yum!

Continue the roll out, fill, roll up and slice method for each dough segment and filling combination. Place each different roll flavour on a baking tray (two flavours per tray) and brush each roll with some lightly beaten egg. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for 18 minutes.

Serve hot or cold- these make a great platter option and are great for kids as a handheld snack. Pictured from bottom going clockwise are cheese and onion chutney, cheese and Vegemite, spinach and feta, and apricot cinnamon.

Perfect for a snack on the go- these finger sized bites can be made with any combination of flavours you choose! What would you put in a nibble roll?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sweater Weather

One of my hobbies is online clothes browsing, and I recently discovered that a website my American friends rave about ships to New Zealand! Modcloth has unique and cute clothes, and their website got me thinking about winter and autumn layering.

One of my colours is deep teal, so when I was browsing through sweaters and saw this, I immediately knew it would fit perfectly in my wardrobe. The Couldn't Task For More Sweater looks like it was made for me! (Another thing I like about Modcloth; all their clothes have such fun names!)The loose fit will lend itself well to layering, and it has a slight sheen to it. It even has a hood on the back, great for those days when I need to pop to the shops and the wind gets a bit chilly.

Modcloth Feature Sweater

Being sheer, this sweater would look great with different pops of colour showing through. However, I have gone with a monochromatic look since this colour is one of my favourites and I want the sweater to be the hero of this outfit. A simple teal camisole will provide some warmth, and this button down top won't add too much extra bulk but is detailed enough to stand on its own if you need to take off your sweater. A slightly higher collar on the top will make the layering of this outfit look polished, without being too sombre and boring.

Usually I would pair teal with grey, but when I saw the beautiful bird weekender bag I knew I had to complement it with brown booties and some light brown pants. I also added a bird inspired necklace as a longline necklace is always flattering!

Modcloth now ship to over 50 countries, and with detailed descriptions and customer reviews on the website I am highly confident about ordering my dream outfit.  I would love to know which item you would order- or if there is anything else on the Modcloth website that takes your fancy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Colourful Activity

My two and a half year old son absolutely loves a book called Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd.

This book is great to teach children counting and colours, and each night I read this as requested.

To reinforce counting and colours, I gave each of my boys a photocopy of Dog without his spots, and punched out different colours of spots using a circle punch and coloured cardstock to correspond with the story.

I started to read the book, and as I got to each colour the boys took turns putting the corresponding spot onto their Dog.

 Dog got progressively spottier and messier as the book went on!

At the end of Dog's adventure, I got the boys to point out each coloured spot as I read the description. Here they were pointing out the blue blob of paint.

At the end, the boys each had their own colourful Dog!

This is such a simple activity, but great to improve counting, colour recognition and gluing skills.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Travellin' Light

I am soon to head off for a week's summer holiday, and have been trying to figure out what to pack. I want to pack a small amount, but where I am heading it can be hot yet pouring with rain, so I have to work with variable weather conditions!

As per my Pinterest Resolutions, I wanted to create a capsule wardrobe with minimal fuss.

Here is what I packed (excluding underwear, pajamas, running gear and a pair of togs). 3 dresses, 2 cardigans, four tops, two skirts, two shorts, four pairs of shoes and four jewellery sets.

I have worked out 24 combos- more than enough to get me through seven days, weather changes and activities! My days will be varied between walking, swimming, being on a boat, wine trails, speedway racing and going out for diner, so I also need a mix of casual and dressy outfits. I am sure there are more that 24 combinations possible when you take into account change of shoes, jewellery and adding one of the tops, but these are the combinations I am planning to wear for different occasions.

This is my first time trying flat lays- but I have discovered that they can be extremely helpful when planning outfits!

My maxi is paired with gold, with or without a drape bolero. My basic monochrome outfit is my black blouse, patterned black and white skirt, and black accessories.

My monochrome outfit can be glammed up with a chunky necklace and heels, or dressed up with my bolero and gold accents. Going back to basics I can pair it with my white blouse instead of black.

Black and white can also be changed by layering with a black bolero or my grey cardigan. Then I can add colour interest with my green t-shirt and bold green jewellery.

This top goes well with my other bottom options; the patterned skirt, denim shorts and beige cargoes.

This blue tank can work with either my cargoes or the coloured skirt, keeping with the blue accessories. My cargoes will also go with the white top and gold jewellery for when it gets really hot!

This top will keep me cool with the patterned skirt, either with gold or blue accents. I can also pair it with the denim shorts for a casual look.

Back to basics with my black top, black accessories and cargo pants, or with my denim shorts. Onto my grey dress, I will keep it simple with black shoes and let my necklace be the focal point.

This dress can be worn casually, but I am planning to wear it out for heels for a large dinner we have planned. If we end up going out another night to somewhere fancy, my grey dress will be fancied up with my bolero, statement necklace and heels.

If you still need more inspiration, the lovely Nikki has also written a great guide to packing clothes for a holiday. I took on board her suggestions of going monochrome with pops of colour, considering my activities, packing some active wear and checking the weather. Thanks Nikki!

Linking up with Wardrobe Wednesday, What Wives Wear and Fashionomics Friday.

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