Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 139


Welcome to another week of Thriving on Thursdays and finally, I think I might be back to running on all cylinders. My goodness gracious. I have been lucky to enjoy good health these last couple of years, except for the odd head cold but I really was struck down with something severe last week. The doctor said I had developed bronchitis. It's gone through the house, knocking every one down (except Damien). High fevers, terrible cough, aching joints just to name a few of the symptoms. I was lucky to have Damien around to ferry the kids to and from school and wait on me. Needless to say Mount 'Washmore' needs to be tackled along with the other general household duties. 


We're one week into a two week school holiday break. I was lucky to have a one on one 'date' with each of my children which was something I hadn't done in such a long time. It's so refreshing to interact with them as little people now and listen to their opinions and views on the world. My daughter has an opinion on everything and is quite the expert. (I wonder where she gets that from.) Hopefully it'll be something I can get to do more often. My man Damien is so brilliant that he lets me do this. Now that I'm feeling well, it's back into finishing off wedding craft and the next big job will be to give the garden a good going over. Great time of the year to do it now that it's a bit cooler. Now, onto last week's party. Here's my top three food and non food posts from last week.



Softtoy Pony - Kuschelpferd Lilly

Nine FREE Robot Appliqué Templates, each one representing a different occupation ~ Threading My Way

householdjobs and physical activity final


Thank you so much everyone for linking up each week. There truly is a bunch of gifted talented people out there in the world. I love seeing each and everyone of your posts and wish I could feature them all. If you were featured, please feel free to grab a 'featured' button from above. Now let's see what you've been working on this week and HAPPY 4TH OF JULY to all of my US friends!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ricotta, zucchini & cherry tomato tarts

Sometimes I go back through old recipes I've posted here, to find how I made something in particular to make it again and as I scroll through the recipe list, it looks like I must have this huge array of ingredients at all times, a fully stocked pantry, a refrigerator that resembles a deli and a freezer with whatever your heart desires. Well let me assure you, it's nothing like that. I would say 99.9% of the time, my recipes are created based on what I have left in the fridge, pantry or freezer and it needs using up, like yesterday!

It was one of those lazy Sundays when I needed to do some school baking for the week and we had kinda missed lunch, so while the oven was I thought I'd check what I had on hand to whip up a quick snack. I had one sheet of puff pastry, one tired looking zucchini, the last of the punnet of cherry tomatoes and about half a tub of ricotta cheese that was destined to be something else but I never got around to it. That's how these Ricotta, Zucchini & Cherry Tomato Tarts came about. I never get an urge to make something and rush to the store to buy a particular ingredient just so I can make it. Never. I always just make do and use what I have.

I've got these semi circle pans which are just perfect for tart making. I managed to squeeze out 12 circles of pastry, even joining some of the edges together to form rounds.

The filling is made up of the grated zucchini, the ricotta, grated tasty cheese, an egg, salt and pepper and a bit of garlic. The cherry tomatoes are popped on top.

Bake in the oven until filling has set (or until golden brown). We were starving by then so I took them out a little earlier than I should have. A delicious brunch, lunch, snack or party appetiser. Sprinkle with a little chopped chives for serving if you like. Remember, to only always use what you have. There is a substitute for just about everything.

Ricotta, Zucchini & Cherry Tomato Tarts
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 200gm ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C.
  2. Cut circles from puff pastry and line either a cupcake pan or similar which has been sprayed with a little oil spray.
  3. Combine, ricotta, grated cheese, beaten egg, garlic, grated zucchini and salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon ricotta mixture into pastry cups.
  5. Top with halved cherry tomatoes.
  6. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until mixture has set and is golden brown.
  7. Suitable to eat hot or cold and suitable to freeze.
  8. Makes 12.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fake vs fresh wedding flowers

There's no question in my mind that I would prefer fresh flowers for my wedding. This is for my bouquet, my bridesmaid's bouquets, the boutennieres, Damien's mother's corsage and for the tables. We have set ourselves a very strict budget for the wedding and we aren't going over it. I did allow $100 for flowers and going on what I did the 'last time round', I thought it would be more than enough to cover what I needed.


From memory (I could go and look at old wedding photos but I won't), I had plain white Oriental lillies and white roses in my bridal bouquet last time around and the two bridesmaids had small bunches of jonquils. There were only two buttonholes of perhaps one small white rosebud, two corsages for the Mums and small bunches of jonquils for the centrepieces. I'm am positive that whole lot cost me around $50. The florist I found went to the flower market the day before, arranged the flowers and delivered them to me on the morning of the wedding. Admittedly it was back in 2001 but this time around the quotes for very simple purple flowers with a bit of greenery ranged from $490, the lowest, up to $1,000. I just cannot justify that sort of money even if I wanted to extend the budget for the sake of fresh flowers.

The is the type of thing I was wanting for the three bridesmaids.
For weeks I toyed with the idea of going to the flower market myself, the day before the wedding, and buying the fresh flowers and making the bouquets. Because the wedding ceremony and reception will be at our house, I thought it would be one major stress I had to do that I really didn't need. I belong to quite a few wedding Facebook groups and when I saw the beautiful artificial wedding flowers that were being made, I looked into it a bit further.

The boy's boutonnieres.
So after researching prices at local stores, watching Youtube clips on how to make bouquets, digging around in my craft stash and adding a couple of personalised adornments that fit with the theme of the wedding, I had a crack at making my own. I also figured if I made them now, they could be packed away ready for the wedding and one more thing crossed off my to do list.  

The cost of the flowers for 4 bouquets, 4 boutonnieres and a corsage all came to the pricely sum of $15. I purchased them from an overseas ebay seller. The same flowers were available in local stores for triple the price. The twine I had and the cute little handmade guitar brooches came from a German etsy seller. I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. Looking at them, I know they aren't real but it's like comparing oranges and apples. For all the reasons I mentioned earlier, they are suiting me for so many reasons and I think they look nice and suit our personalities and our wedding theme. 


So many people are opting out of fresh flowers for so many reasons and trying to be a little bit individual I guess. Check out the creativity with this boutonniere. Even the the title of the sheet music is "Can't Help Falling In Love". Love it!

The bouquets were a little more effort. I had to arrange them the way I wanted and wind it all with florist tape and then the twine. Really, the whole lot took a couple hours one Sunday afternoon. I added a couple small stems of ivory roses to my bouquet just because.

I used some of Nanna's vintage lace around the handle plus finished with a $3 rhinestone encrusted guitar brooch which is sticking with the theme.


With the money that I saved, I can now go and pick up a few bunches of fresh flowers a day or so before the wedding from a local flower market or even the supermarket for my table centrepieces. It's a spring time wedding so the reception area will be sweet with the scent of fresh flowers. Don't forget I'm growing some myself which will help with the costs. They are coming along nicely with all the rain we've been having. 


If you've got the budget for fresh flowers and that's what you want, go right ahead. I'd love it as well but I'm very happy with what I've decided to do. If you want to do something a little more individual, there are so many talented, creative people out there who are making absolutely gorgeous bouquets with things such as brooches, paper flowers, fabric flowers, buttons and whatever else you can think of. It's your wedding, your choice.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Microwaved Mexican stuffed potato

I'd forgotten how easy it was to make a meal out of one humble potato. I used to do these 'stuffed' potatoes all the time on my own for a quick meal and thought I'd start doing it again when it's only the man and I at home for an easy night's meal. It's done in next to no time and it's a great way to use up leftovers like the Chilli Con Carne I'd cooked the night before.

It only takes a couple of minutes per potato in the microwave to cook it. First, prick all over with a fork, place on paper towel in the microwave and for this medium sized potato, I allowed 4 minutes. After two minutes, I turn the potato over and do the other side for 2 minutes. Better to under cook it and then zap for an extra minute or two. If it's overcooked, the skin will be quite tough. While it's cooking I get the toppings ready.

I had an avocado in the fridge and whipped up my easy, 'no fuss' guacamole which is just mashed avocado, salt and pepper and a bit of lime juice.

Just enough leftover chilli, for two. This gets heated in the microwave too for a couple minutes.

Grate some cheese. Gotta have cheese!

Now that the potato is cooked, time to assemble. Be careful with the potato because it will be super hot. Cut into quarters, not quite cutting all the way through. Top with a knob of butter. Top with the heated chilli, grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa (if you have it). 

In around 10 minutes, you have a quick, healthy meal for two. The topping ideas are endless. Use any kind of leftovers, cooked meats, salads like coleslaw, baked beans and bacon (for example). I'm going to go back to the humbled stuffed potato more often now. I know this one was well received.

Microwaved Mexican Stuffed Potato
  • one potato per person
  • leftover Chilli Con Carne (or savoury mince, for example)
  • butter
  • guacamole (made by mashing avocado and adding salt, pepper and lime juice)
  • cheese, grated
  • sour cream
  • salsa

  1. Prick potato all over with a fork and place on a paper towel in the microwave.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes (for a medium sized potato) and turn over, cooking for a further 2 minutes. 
  3. Repeat for more potatoes. (You can cook all potatoes at once but will have to experiment with cooking times.)
  4. Cut potato in quarters in serving dish and top with a knob of butter.
  5. Add toppings and serve.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 138


Welcome to another week of Thriving on Thursday. Oh, woe is me. I feel like I have 'man flu'! My darling son decided he'd share his flu with me so I've been laid up in bed since Tuesday. Feeling all the aches and pains and have an annoying, niggling cough. I guess I've been pretty lucky of late and can't remember the last time I had a cold. It's just hard when you still need to get the kids to school, lunches to be made and the whole regular routine. I've just dragged myself out of bed long enough to write this post and that's where I'll be headed again. Here's my top 3 food and non food posts from last week's party.




Cord Keeper For Tangle Free Earbuds

everything you wanted to know about blogging


Thanks so much to everyone for linking up. Yet another great week of fantastic blog posts and inspirations. If you were featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from above. Looking forward to seeing what you've all been working on this week. Let's get linking! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Business Mamas Diploma of Business - Getting started

There have been many times in my life where I've reached the 'crossroads'. Sometimes I've taken the right path and many times, I took the wrong path. I'm very happy with my lot in life at the moment but there's something missing. Before I had my children, I was a worker. I worked all my life since I left high school. I took great pride in my jobs, loved going off to work, loved the socialising and more importantly loved the pay packet at the end of the week. Since the children, I haven't had that. I haven't missed it really but that job satisfaction I crave. Don't get me wrong. I'm busy. I've never been more busy since I had children but let's just say the pay's not that good. My children are my priority in life and will be for some time but how can I 'have it all'? I can I firstly decide what it is I want to do and then create that 'work/family' balance?

I've been given the most amazing opportunity to study a Diploma of Business, online through Business Mamas, an online business school designed to help you launch your business. Whether it be launching a micro business for extra cash or starting the next big business sensation, it's all about you and your goals.

Business Mamas is specifically designed with the stay at home mum in mind. Created by mums, for mums, the program is designed to help you develop a business idea from a concept through to the launching stage. Business Mamas is fully accredited to deliver the Diploma of Business (BSB50207) across Australia.

Right from the initial consultation with a Business Mamas' representative I just knew this is what I needed right at this moment in my life. I prepared my work space, ready for online study and was assigned a business 'angel' who went through the student log in process and is available at all times for any questions I might have.

bird's eye view, cars, crossing, crossroad

I've reached another 'crossroads'. My children are now 10 and 8. Soon they will be at high school and then leaving home. I've always had so many business ideas but always had faith 'working for the man' was the better option. What a perfect opportunity for me to now discover all about having my own business that will fit around my family's life. From the first couple of units I've already done of the Business Mamas Diploma of Business course, I'm on a voyage of self discovery, identifying what my strengths and weaknesses are and how I can improve, how I can hone in on the skills I already have, how I can apply that to running my business and all in the comfort of my own home still while ferrying the kids to and from school, being involved in their busy lives and being a stay at home mum.

mountains, nature, sky, sunny

Stay with me over the next 12 months while I share all about my study adventures and my journey of self discovery. What that business is I'm just not sure yet but have a couple of things in mind. 

Take the first step to live happy, work happy, be happy! Contact Business Mamas today and the Business Mamas team will be in touch with more information.
Business Mamas is an accredited online business school designed to help you launch your new business. Whether it be launching a micro business for extra cash or starting the next big business sensation, it’s all about you and your goals!
Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Disclaimer:  In return for monthly blog posts for a 12 month period, Business Mamas have waived all course fees associated with the Diploma of Business. All thoughts, photos and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

3 ingredient fish curry

You've heard of the term "curry in a hurry"? Well this dish couldn't be any easier especially after you've had 'one of those days'. We were recently involved in helping Damien's Mum move from her unit into a nursing home. The poor woman's health has declined over the months and she just couldn't stay on her own anymore. She had a one bedroom unit that needed packing up, cleaned and some things moved to her in the nursing home and all the things she no longer needed back to our place into storage. We worked for 3 days doing this and being an hour away from where we lived, we were just about exhausted each day we got home. This dish took literally minutes to prepare and on a cool night, just what the doctor ordered.

I remember someone cooking me something like this years ago and they called it a Malaysian Fish Curry. I think our idea of Malaysian and other Asian curries has come a long way since then and we  have access to a lot of Asian ingredients, grown here in Australia and authentic tasting curry pastes are readily available in the supermarket. That's what I tend to use in my Thai curries but this recipe is a great standby. It's just a matter of getting a can of coconut milk on the boil and adding a tablespoon (or more) of regular curry powder.

I buy a kilo of frozen white fish fillets for less than $10 from the supermarket so fish is a regular on our menu. It's pretty cheap compared to red meat, there's no bones and most importantly, my kids eat it. Add the fish to the boiling coconut milk mixture, add plenty of salt and pepper and within about 5 minutes, the fish will be cooked.

Whenever I cook rice, I tend to cook up 2 or 3 cups and freeze the leftover rice in serving size portions. It's just a matter of letting it defrost or pouring boiling hot water over it. Serve with a side of fresh vegetables and dinner is on the table in less than 15 minutes. This meal went down a treat after our busy day and it just goes to show that you don't need to buy takeaway even when you can't be bothered cooking. Other than opening the can of coconut milk, cutting up a few vegies and serving it in a bowl, there really wasn't anything to it. It may not be an authentic Indian, Thai or Malaysian curry but it sure was good.

3 Ingredient Fish Curry

  • fresh fish, cut into bite sized pieces
  • can of coconut milk
  • 1 tbs curry powder (or more to taste)
  • salt & pepper

  1. Boil coconut milk and add curry powder.
  2. Add fish pieces, turning after a couple minutes and boil until cooked through (approx 5 minutes).
  3. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables.

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