Sunday, 31 July 2011

Save the Planet Sunday #9

Little Miss J loves to paint....and no matter what project we start off with, somewhere along the line, it ends up with her painting her hand so that she can make handprints!!  So I try to come up with something she can do that's different to try and keep her attention focused......that's how we ended up painting some flowers fashioned out of empty egg cartons - although I have to say that did not deter her in any way from doing the handprints!!! 

This turned out to be a nice eco-friendly craft and she did enjoy doing it - although it does involve drying time so may not be suitable for very young children.  I had to boost Little Miss J's patience level by letting her do the handprints while we waited for the paint to dry!!!!

I cut up some empty egg cartons.

 Then she set about painting them.

The cardboard does get quite soggy so you have to keep an eye.

We had to wait until the inside dried to paint outside and here is what happened in the meantime!!!!

Once the inside was dry, we painted the outsides.

A lolly stick for the stem and some crumpled tissue paper for the centre.  And she had her 'present' ready for daddy, for when he came home from work just as all her craft projects are!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

My first guest post!!!! 'Christmas in July'

Today you can find me with my very first guest post at Fireflies and Jellybeans for the Christmas in July series!

Come and take a look and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Beauty in my backyard

These lovely plants in my little backyard have been making me smile everyday, so I thought I'd share them with you. 

Aren't they beautiful?

On another note, I was featured on Passionately Artistictoday for my Dark chocolate and Orange cake

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Save the Planet Sunday #8

Its been a very hectic week and I am so exhausted - I think I'm trying to fit in too many things and my mind is in this is a quick save the planet post.

Did you know that you can use baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to exfoliate?  The best way to do this is to either take a couple of teaspoons of baking soda in your hand and adding some water and spreading it on your face in a circular motion followed by rinsing it off. 

Alternatively, you can use it mixed in your cleanser.  In both cases, follow it up by moisturising your skin. You will be able to see the effects very soon . As with all exfoliants, use no more than 2-3 times per week. Baking soda has neutral ph so is very mild on the skin and it is a fine abrasive powder so works great as an exfoliant. 

Keep well and do your bit to be 'green'.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Healthy Chunky Monkey 'Icecream'

Little Miss J loves  her food and she particularly loves her pudding.  Which means I keep running out of ideas and am forever on the lookout for treats that she can have that are not laden with sugar.

I found this beauty on Pinterest.

What you need:

Banana, chopped up into chunks and frozen
Chopped walnuts
Dark chocolate - grated (the recipe called for chocolate chips, I didn't have any so improvised)

Pulse the frozen banana in a blender.
Out into a bowl. Sprinkle with walnuts and chocolate shavings and there you have it - a very delicious dessert that tastes just like 'icecream' and the best part of it is that its all natural sugars! Yay! Little Miss J loved it - (and so did I - sshhh!!!)

Mine doesn't look quite as spectacular as the original picture but it tasted great - thats all that matters!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


As if I didn't spend enough time in blogland, I am now totally and utterly a self-confessed Pinterest addict! Its a brilliant concept that uses virtual notice boards.  You can find me on Pinterest here. Check it out - prepare to get addicted!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Save the Planet Sunday #7

It was chucking down with rain outside this weekend - so it was crafting to the rescue for a rainy afternoon.

I had seen these toilet paper tube flowers in a few places in blogland and have been meaning to try them - but they got used for a kiddie craft project - not to mention upcyling toilet roll tubes!!!!

We flattened a toilet roll tube and cut half inch strips.  Little Miss J did try to cut them with her scissors, but they're a tad difficult to cut with kiddie safe scissors, so I helped cut them and she glued them together.

 Then a few clothespins came in handy to hold until the glue held firmly.

 Then we glued a lolly stick to the back and made a pretty flower!

Next time around, I might get her to paint the 'petals' before gluing them together.

Happy recycling everyone!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Spinach pesto spaghetti with chorizo

Why is it that the tastiest dishes are created when you're trying to use up what's left in the fridge??

I had read a great recipe for spinach pesto linguini here and filed it away to make it sometime.

I had some spinach leftover in the fridge that desperately needed using up and I had about half a packet of fresh basil. So using the suggestion in the recipe above, I created my version. I did not measure any of the ingredients, but will try to put down a measurement below.

Here's what you will need: -

Spaghetti or any other pasta that you prefer.

For the pesto: 
150 g fresh spinach (blanched)
Approx 30 g fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped cashews
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp grated grana pradano ( you can also use parmesan cheese)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic

For the sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 tomato chopped
Sliced chorizo torn into pieces

1. Grind all ingredients for the pesto together in a blender.  (If you want to preserve the pesto and retain its green colour just pour a little olive oil so that the top is covered and refrigerate.)

2. In a pan, pour 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent.  Add the chopped tomato and the chorizo and cook until tomatoes are soft.  Then add the pesto sauce and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes.  Don't cook any longer as the pesto will lose its lovely green colour and goodness.

3. Pour the sauce over your cooked spaghetti (or any pasta that you are using).  Dish it up and top with a a bit of grated grana pradano or parmesan cheese. 

A very yummy meal and didn't take long to make at all! For a veggie option, you can leave out the chorizo and use whatever veggies you have knocking about! 
Enjoy! :)

Monday, 11 July 2011

Vegetable painting

I remember this from when we were in school - using vegetables dipped in paint to make stamps on paper.  So one hot sunny afternoon - we moved our table outdoors and I got little miss J to paint using some okra and french beans.

 Cut the top of the okra off and it makes a lovely 'flower' stamp. 

Then she mixed a few colours and they actually turned out really pretty.

Here she is trying to use a french bean which I cut at a slit so she could make some 'leaves' - but she didn't quite get the hang of it.  My little Picasso still managed a little masterpiece though :))

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Save the Planet Sunday #6

This week has whizzed past and I've really found no time to blog - its been so busy around here!!! But I'm hoping that is remedied next week as there is so much I want to write about and so much I want to do - so little time.

Anyways, we went to the 'pick your own' farm for the first time with little miss J this weekend and here's what we came back with!

Look at all that goodness - fresh farm produce - no supermarket packaging one less thing to harm the environment and whats more we had fun picking all of it.  And all of it tastes gorgeous.

What was your little contribution to the planet today?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Very Yummy Cinnamon Swirls

When I made my Cinnamon Pancakes back along, I ended up making far too much filling. So I bunged it into the fridge and everytime I opened the fridge door, there it was, goading me to try yet another cinnamon recipe.  Now how can I say no to that???? So I went and found meself a recipe for cinnamon swirls, which I absolutely adore.  However, just so you know, this recipe does not use the danish pastry that is normally used to make cinnamon swirls. 

I have at last managed to take pictures while baking, coz Little Miss J was fast asleep when I made these! So there are probably too many photos!!! 

This recipe makes about 15 - 16 swirls.

What you will need: -

For the dough: -
Self raising flour  250 g
Salt - a pinch
Unsalted butter, softened 90 g
Semi skimmed milk 170 ml

For the filling: -
Butter (melted) 55 g
Dark brown sugar 60g
Cinnamon 1 1/2 tbsp (this is very can reduce this if you want)
For the drizzle: -
Icing sugar 60 g
Boiling water 2 tsp
Method: -
1.  Preheat oven to 210 degrees celsius/Gas mark 6.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2.  Sift flour and salt into a bowl.  Add the chopped unsalted butter and mix using your fingertips until teh mixture resembles breadcrumbs.   Make a well in the centre and add almost all the milk.

3.  Using a palette knife, bring the mixture together until it forms a soft dough. You can add the remaining milk now if necessary.
4.  Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and knead briefly to make a smooth dough.

5. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, roughly 15 inches x 10 inches.  Spread the cinnamon filling with a palette knife leaving a little space around the edges.

6.  Gently lift the dough from one end and roll like a swiss roll. 

7.  Once rolled, I would suggest popping it in a bit of clingfilm and in the fridge for about 10 minutes.  I didn't do this and it was a bit fiddly to cut. 

8.  Once you take it out of the fridge, using a sharp knife, cut into slices roughly around 1 inch thick.  Place on your lined tray.  As you can see, mine lost a bit of their shape.  This should not be a problem if you bung it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.

 9.  Place the swirls close together and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.  In a bowl, mix the icing sugar and the boiling water and beat till a smooth paste is formed.  Drizzle over the swirls when they are slightly cool.

And ta da - you have yourself some very yummy cinnamon swirls - even if I do say so myself!!!!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Save the Planet Sunday #5

Time to talk 'green' again. Here is a quick recipe for a homemade mouthwash which you can make with ingredients that you will already have around the kitchen. No harsh chemicals, no alcohol and no artificial preservatives.

You will need:
Baking soda
Peppermint essential oil(if you want a minty taste!)

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 oz of water.  Add a tiny drop of peppermint essential oil and your mouthwash is ready.  If you want to make a bigger batch, mix 1  tsp baking powder to every 8 oz of water and store in a sterilised container.  Since there is no preservative in this mouthwash, it is better to make it fresh every 2 - 3 days rather than store it.  

Baking soda is a mild abrasive - it helps kill bacterial microorganisms in your mouth and it also acts as a whitener.  Not to mention that is a much cheaper option that commercially bought mouthwash.  

Friday, 1 July 2011

Creating cards and another feature!

I'm having a good week this week - yet another feature - this time for my Cinnamon Pancakes over at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mommy. Woo hoo!

I've done so much baking and cooking this week, the crafting has all fallen by the wayside! I have a few things I want to do - but so little time!

Anyways, I'll stop waffling now!  Little Miss J has been invited to her first ever birthday party. Her key worker at nursery is also going on maternity leave, so we thought we'd make a couple of cards. Perfect opportunity to try something new with paint!

I had long forgotten this method of painting with yarn/wool which we learnt in school, but thanks to Putti Prapancha, that was soon remedied.

Little Miss J dipped the yarn in paint and placed it on a card.

 I helped close the card over the yarn and a gentle tug on the yarn resulted in these beauties.

She then painted some flowers with straw, which was also inspired by Putti Prapancha

We ended up with these two lovely cards - one for the birthday girl and one for Little Miss J's keyworker. Don't they look gorgeous?

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