Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Easy garlic naan bread

two pieces of homemade garlic naan bread on a blue plate

It was a cold Saturday night a few weeks back and just the husband and I, no kids and it was late and we couldn't really be bothered cooking dinner. I was craving Indian food for some reason and I looked online for a local Indian takeaway. I was dreaming of a hot, fragrant, spicy curry and some chewy, soft, garlic filled naan bread to soak it all up. I had all the ingredients for ALL of it and said, "don't be lazy, get in the kitchen and make it" so I did. I had this garlic naan bread made in about 20 minutes flat while the curry was bubbling on the stove. By the time it would've taken us to order it, pick it up, bring it home and serve it, I had dinner made.

Every country has their own bread. The Mexicans have tortillas, the Turkish have pide and lavash, the Lebanese have pita bread and it goes on and on. Indian breads are some of the nicest and so, so easy to make. Cooking them on a griddle pan on the stove stop works just fine. It's just a matter of mixing plain flour, baking powder, a little sugar and salt, adding oil and milk and in this case, garlic and finish off with melted butter once cooked.

I believe the best utensil in the kitchen is your hand so get stuck into it, bringing all the ingredients together until a soft dough forms.

After resting for 10 minutes, take a small piece of dough and roll out flat (about the size of your hand) and place on top a little crushed garlic. Fold that over and roll out flat again.

On a griddle pan (or any pan will do), place a piece of baking paper and the rolled out naan bread dough onto the pan over a high heat.

Once cooked and charred on the underside, flip over and repeat.

You don't have to worry about the bread being uniform in size. I think it looks better a little uneven and odd shaped. Once cooked, brush with melted butter and serve immediately.

If you can walk to the kitchen, you can make this naan bread yourself without having to order take out. Indian food at home isn't all that difficult. You only need a few basic spices and basic pantry ingredients to recreate similar dishes, like this naan bread, at home. Save yourself a few bucks and make this at home. You'll be glad you did and you'll be surprised just how easy it is.

Easy Garlic Naan Bread

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk (more or less, enough to bring the dough together to a smooth dough)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbs butter, melted

  1. Place the plain flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and the milk. 
  3. Add the milk a little at a time, adding more until a smooth dough is formed. (You may need more than 1/2 a cup.)
  4. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Take small handfuls of dough and roll out into shapes approximately the size of your hand.
  6. Place a small amount of crushed garlic into the centre of the dough and fold over.
  7. Roll out again, ready for frying in the pan.
  8. Preheat a griddle pan (or similar) on the stove top and line the pan with baking paper.
  9. Cook each naan bread in the pan until it is cooked on one side and flip over.
  10. Once cooked and nicely charred brown, remove from the pan and brush with melted butter.
  11. Serve immediately.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Outdoor furniture makeover with hessian (burlap) cushions

One good thing about my new husband and I is that we love a bargain especially if it's free. He's right into recycling and making do like I am and if we see something put out on the side of the road, we'll grab it like the above 2 outdoor chairs.

We have a lot of little outdoor spaces that we like to sit at all year round so we had enough chairs but when I saw these 2 (2 of 6), I grabbed them. I didn't take the chair pads because they were in pretty poor condition and beyond saving.

We had major drainage works completed at the side of the house earlier this year and there was quite a mess left. Damien decided to make this little paved area reusing pavers we already had so we needed a couple of chairs so the finding the above two was perfect timing. This area down the side of the house is really warm and sunny in the morning so perfect for cold winter mornings and in complete shade by midday so perfect for hot summer days in the afternoon.

Damien gave the chairs a spray of black paint with paint we already had. Being a couple weeks out from the wedding, my first reaction was to go and buy some chair pads but I really couldn't justify the cost. My second choice was to buy some fade resistant fabric from the store and make some cushions but have you seen the price of that per metre? I wondered what I could use from my stash that would hold up to the weather. I was also wondering what I could use for the cushions and then I had a light bulb moment.

I have quite a few cushion inserts and pillows so I thought I could use them. They were exactly the same size as the chair but I thought I could disguise it by making the fabric a little bit bigger.

Then my brain went into overdrive and I remembered I had a few hessian (burlap) sacks in my stash for various crafts and they would be just perfect. When I measured the width and total length of the chair it was going to be a little bit short lengthwise and a little bit longer on the width. I didn't want to cut the hessian as it has a tendency to unravel so I just sewed in to fit. I also needed 20 centimetres of fabric because the hessian bag was just that little bit short and I really didn't have anything appropriate in my fabric stash until I remembered I had 1 black pillow case in the linen cupboard which probably wasn't going to be used for it's intended purpose and it worked out well for the extra 20 centemetres required for the length of the chair pad plus ties to tie it onto the chair.

After cutting the black fabric to size, sew onto the opening of the hessian sack which has been sewn in to fit the width of the chair.

Turn right side out ready for sewing ties on.

You'll need 6 ties per chair, two at the top, two at the middle and two at the front of the chair pad. Sew strips of black fabric and turn right side out. Insert open seam on ends into itself and sew to close.

Give the hessian sacks a bit of a press with a hot iron, ready for sewing the black ties onto.

I thought I'd get a little bit creative with the chair cushions and make a stencil with the word "CHILL" on it just for the sake of it. This was just typed up in Microsoft Word and using a Stanley knife cut out the letters.

Place on the hessian and mark out the letters with a permanent marker.

Colour in and finish with a full stop (which is just a circle). Make sure you have an old piece of card or paper underneath or the permanent marker will come through on the other side.

I toyed with the idea of making removable cushions but I just couldn't be bothered. I have quite a large washing machine so they would fit in there or a good scrub with a scrubbing brush and some soapy water would clean them with a rinse off with the hose. Once you've sewn the ties on in place, insert the chair seat cushion and sew into place.

Insert the cushion for the chair back and pin the top opening ready for sewing. It can be a little cumbersome with the cushions inserted but by taking my time and persevering, they worked out okay. It was a quick afternoon job and I didn't have to spend a cent. (Although technically I bought the hessian sacks some time ago, the black paint and cushion inserts, it's all about using what you've already got.)

So there you have it. Two outdoor chairs for our newly created outdoor space that didn't cost a thing. This space came in very handy on the wedding day because it was a great space to just 'chill out'.

They may not fit 100% or look professional like the store bought ones but they do the job and they're individual which is what I like. Next job is to paint the house and the fence. Slowly but surely we're getting through all the things on the to do list.

PS I must've been baking on this particular day and had greasy fingers which marked the camera lens.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Slow Cooker Greek Lamb with Garlic Sauce (Gravy)

In an attempt to get more (or at least some) order in my life and balance family, study, blogging, a wedding and a new relationship, I've been using my slow cooker for just about every meal these last few months. In fact, most of my meal planning incorporates the slow cooker. As well as being the perfect appliance for heart warming stews in winter, it is perfect for the warmer months as it won't heat up the kitchen but it will cook a joint of meat, such as this lamb, just perfectly. This is how I cook lamb all the time. I've shared this Free Form Lamb & Potato Pie before plus using the lamb in wraps, but I thought I'd share the recipe on it's own and how you can make the perfect sauce made with the juices.

It really couldn't be any easier than throwing as many cloves of garlic you like in the bottom of the slow cooker (skin and all), place the lamb on top, sprinkle on oregano, salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil. That's it! Just leave it to do it's thing.

Once cooked, retrieve the garlic cloves and squeeze out the garlic. It'll be soft like butter.

This delicious squishy mush will be used in the sauce for the meat. Put the meat aside to rest while you make the gravy.

Pour the juices into a saucepan and carefully skim off any excess fat. Make a paste from 2 tablespoons of flour with water until a smooth paste forms. Add this to the juices from the lamb and over a medium heat, stir until thickened. Adjust seasonings if required. Return the roasted garlic to the gravy.

The lamb may not be as crispy as if you cooked it in the oven but the meat will fall off the bone and be so full of flavour.

Serve with vegetables of your choice and besides the above recipes for using up the leftover lamb, stay tuned for another tasty recipe to come. Make use of your slow cooker as much as you can. Your evening meal is prepped in the morning, cooking all day which makes your job a lot easier come dinner time.

Slow Cooker Greek Lamb with Garlic Sauce

  • leg or shoulder of lamb
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic (no need to peel)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Garlic Sauce (Gravy)

  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • enough water to form a smooth paste
  • juices and garlic from the lamb

  1. In a slow cooker, place 5 to 6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled.
  2. Place the joint of lamb on top of the garlic and sprinkle with the oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil.
  3. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  4. Once cooked, set the lamb aside and retrieve the garlic cloves, squeezing the soft garlic from the garlic peel.
  5. Pour the juices from the lamb into a saucepan and carefully skim off any excess oil.
  6. Make a smooth paste from the flour and water and add to the sauce pan with the soft garlic. (If you don't have enough juices from the lamb add 1 cup of stock.)
  7. Stir over a medium heat until sauce is thickened.
  8. Serve with vegetables of your choice.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Monster Jam® 2015 - Brisbane, Australia

Hey guys and girls! It's Monster Jam time and the big boys are in town. Now, I wouldn't say I'm a fan, at all, but I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a few of the Monster Jam trucks who will be on show in Brisbane tonight plus I know it would make my son's day if he got a chance to see them. He's been a big fan since he was a toddler. 

Candice Jolly will be driving Monster Mutt. One of two female drivers heading the Australian tour.  Imagine if your family dog suddenly sprouted six foot tyres instead of legs and grew to almost twelve feet tall; now you have a pretty good picture of Monster Mutt.  Candice is one of the sport's best known female drivers.  Raised in a family that loves motorsports and most of her family participates in many different types of racing.  Her sister, Courtney Jolly has also driven in Monster Jam competitions.  Jolly has not only built a large fan base in North America.  She has also become one of the sport's most popular drivers on the World Tour, having competed several times outside of the USA.  Known for her big smile and bubbly personality, Jolly is a big hit, both on the track and during the Party in the Pits.

Bari Musawwir will be in Zombie.  Bari's background does not include motorsports or mechanical experience but radio controlled trucks. He got the opportunity to drive in an actual Monster Jam competition, making his debut driving Backwards Bob at the 2010 event in Panama City, Panama.

Current Racing World Champion and 2014 Freestyle World Champion, Todd LeDuc is in Metal Mulisha.  He comes with serious racing credentials, being the son of legendary off-road driver Curt LeDuc and is one of the most exciting drivers in Monster Jam.

It will be the first time to Australia for Team Hot Wheels Firestorm, piloted by Scott Buetow, a design engineer with 32 years of motocross racing behind him.

The death-defying Adam Anderson, youngest ever driver to win a Monster Jam World finals Championship in 2008, and son of four-time Monster Jam World Finals Champion Dennis Anderson, will be driving Grave Digger.

Adam's brother Ryan Anderson will be in Son Uva Digger.

Scott Liddycoat is also joining the line-up piloting the fearsome Dragon.

Marc McDonald, in El Toro Loco, a fun loving Oklahoman is set to stampede over the competition.

Max-D will be piloted by Neil Elliot, superstar and 11-time World Champion. Neil is one of the most exciting and talented drivers in the game.

The Queen of Carnage and the first woman to ever win a Monster Jam World Final, Madusa will also be the other woman on show.

The QSAC stadium at Kessels Road, Nathan has been transformed into a dirt track, ready for the event tonight. Tickets are available from or Ticketmaster at or phone 136 100.


Friday, October 2, 2015

100+ free colouring pages for adults

So, you've probably heard about the new craze taking the world by storm, adult colouring? Not to be one who jumps on the bandwagon every time something becomes popular, I've resisted temptation for so long but weakened and bought a pocket sized adult colouring book to take away on my honeymoon. It's not like I've never coloured in before. I always enjoyed drawing and colouring for as long as I remember and when my daughter first started colouring as a small child, I'd make sure I bought books that I would enjoy colouring. I would colour them in secret when she went to bed and show her the next day. She's quite neat and may have picked something up seeing mine but who knows? I really can't justify the price book shops are charging for these books. You can pick up kid's books for $2 but these small ones are anything from $10 and upwards. So, if you're like me and don't want to spend the cash, I've come up with this comprehensive compilation of free adult colouring pages for your enjoyment. Enjoy it while you can, or should I say until the next craze comes to town.

Free adult coloring pages art by Thaneeya McArdle

free colouring pages

Coloring pages are for grown ups now! These adult coloring page printables are difficult due to their complex patterns and surprisingly relaxing to color! Mandalas, enchanted forest and secret garden scenes, owls, flowers, etc


I'm sure you'll find enough in this lot to keep you going for a while. Enjoy!

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