Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homemade Ginger Syrup

Last long weekend while we were visiting the Sunshine Coast we stopped in at the Ginger Factory.  I grabbed a massive chunk of ginger while we were there because I had seen this recipe and thought it would be fun to try.  Last night I decided to whip it up and oh my lord is it easy.  You basically chop the ginger, chuck it in a pot with some sugar and water, bring to the boil and leave it for a good hour and a half.  Then go about your day getting other stuff done and when you come back you simply have to strain it and you have a delicious syrup to mix with some soda water.

Ginger Beer

I am thinking that this will be delicious in summer possibly with a little vodka and a slice of lime. Yum! I think I might grab a bunch of ginger closer to Christmas and make up some syrup to add in with presents.

Homemade Ginger Syrup for Ginger Ale

recipe from Imbibe Magazine via Joy The Baker

makes 2 cups ginger syrup

2 cups coarsely chopped ginger

2 cups granulated sugar

6 cups water

Place chopped ginger in a food processor (or blender in a pinch) and pulverize until well chopped.

Place ginger, sugar, and water in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour to 1 hour and a half, until the liquid has reduced down by more than half. You’re going from 6 cups of liquid to 2 cups. The boiling syrup will become glossy and silky as it cooks down and nears completion.

Remove syrup from the flame and strain twice through a cheese cloth, or fine mesh strainer, into a large bowl. Let syrup cool slightly before pouring into a bottle to store. Cool completely before incorporating into drinks.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Veggie Garden Birthday Cake

Veggie Patch Cake

For dad's birthday we had dinner on Friday night with some family and friends at my parents house. I decided to make a birthday cake. Dad is super into his vegetable garden at the moment so a veggie garden cake was a natural choice. The idea came from Australian Women's Weekly More Cake For Kids. This cake was so easy to make and turns out super impressive. If you know anyone that loves to garden then trust me they will love this cake.

Veggie Patch Cake

The cauliflowers were my favourite part of this cake. They were made using raffaello chocolates and green fondant.  Everyone was fighting over who got to eat the raffaelo's and dad somehow managed to hide one away until Sunday.

Veggie Patch Cake

The carrots were orange fruit sticks and ming leaves and the tomatoes were jaffas and green icing.  The book said to use fondant but I was having trouble getting the crosses to stay on the tomatoes.  Instead I just whipped up a simple icing with icing sugar, water and green colouring and used it for both the crosses and the vine.

Veggie Patch Cake Veggie Patch Cake

I love making birthday cakes and I am already planning what I can do for the next birthday in the family which is my mum's.  I have a few ideas but trying to decide which I can actually pull off!  I can't wait till next year when I will have an extra cake to make for Miss Squishy's first birthday.  Is it wrong that I am already thinking of ideas for her first birthday party???

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Daddy

Happy Birthday Daddy! Today you are not only entering your 50th year you are also entering the year that you will become a granddad.  The Grand Dad as you are requesting to be called.  You are the best dad anyone could ever ask for and I just know that you are going to be an even better granddad to our little Squishy.  I can only imagine the mischief you are going to get up to all in the name if entertaining our little girl.  She is going to love you!  I hope you have the most amazing day for your birthday. You deserve it!  Oh, and I hope you don't mind me sharing these photos.  They are my most favourite photos of you especially the  last one.  That face is just classic you!

Happy Birthday Dad Happy Birthday Dad Happy Birthday Dad Happy Birthday Dad

Love you daddy. Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Winter + Soup = Perfection!

One of my favourite things about winter is cooking up batches of soup.  Everytime I see a soup recipe online that sounds tasty I do a mental check of what is in my cupboards to see if I can make it that night. I may be a little bit obsessed.  Most of the recipes that I have been finding lately are hanging out on my pinterest cooking board so I thought I would share some of my soup plans and some of the recipes I have already made so you can all give them a go too.  Click the photos to be taken to the recipes.
The Best Ever Tomato Soup

Chunky Vegetable Soup

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

These three recipes above I have tried and they were all delicious!  The tomato soup was my first time making tomato soup and it was seriously the most delicious tomato soup I have ever tasted.  The middle recipe I would prefer blended up after cooking but I didn't have a blender at the time that I made it.  Next time I will blend it I think.  Broccoli & Cheese soup was something that I had been wanting to try for ages but I wasn't sure if it would be any good.  After I heard a few people talking about it within a couple of weeks I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go.  I am sure glad I did.  It was amazing!

Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

Quick Chicken & Corn Chowder

These are the next three recipes on my list.  The chicken & corn chowder looks like such a quick and easy recipe to whip up.  I do need to buy a slow cooker though so I can try the first one. We had my sisters when she was living in Europe but we gave it back when she moved to Melbourne.  I think I definitely need one before bub comes along.  I think it will save my sanity!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Good, The Bad & The Bump(y)

Week 24 Baby Bump

The Good
  • Sunshiny & warm weekends
  • Adorable little baby dresses
  • 1st birthday parties - my favourite sort of party!
  • Coming home from work to a tidy house, a stocked fridge and Corey cooking dinner.
The Bad
  • My car....still! It's sitting at our friends waiting to be fixed.
  • Cold mornings. They make it hard to get out of bed for work.
The Bump
Week 24 Baby Bump

Can you tell it was sunny and warm this weekend!  I took advantage of it to wear a summery outfit and get outside for my photo.  I think my tiny bad list this week is a testament to how good I am feeling at the moment.  I am loving life this week!  This just seem to be going really well.  I feel great and on Sunday I hit the 6 month mark which means only 4 more months till we meet our little Squishy.  I can't believe how fast it has gone. It is going to be October before we know it!  I am so so so excited and it has given me a kick up the bum with the projects I have planned for her.  Last night I started a quilt and organised my to do list so I can start knocking things off. Hopefully I will have something to share with you all soon.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Birthday Baking

Yesterday we had a joint celebration at work.  It was one girls birthday and another girl was leaving to go on maternity leave.  We had a mini party and everyone made something to bring along for afternoon tea.  I decided to make some cookies and cupcakes.

Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies

Firstly I made these delicious White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies from Sugarlace.  These were delicious! I love cookies that are soft and this were the perfect consistency.  I halved the recipe because I didn't need need 4.5 dozen cookies.  It was all going well until I reached the part where it said 3 eggs and couldn't decide how to split it.  I ended up using 2 eggs and the cookies came out perfect.

Scented White Cupcakes

My very favourite cupcakes are the ones that my mum baked for our wedding cupcakes.  The recipe comes from the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery recipe book and they are ridiculously delicious.  I think you all need to bake a batch of these this weekend.  I like to top them with a basic buttercream icing.  Delicious!!!

Scented White Cupcakes by Crabapple Cupcake Bakery

2 3/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g softened unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp rose water
1 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 170*C.  Line muffin pans (makes 24 normal or 48 mini cupcakes)
  2. Sift together flour and baking powder.
  3. In a separate bowl cream the butter for 1-2 mins.  Add the castor sugar a third at a time beating for 2 mins after each addition.  After the last addition beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.  Add egg whites a quarter at a time beating for 1 min after each addition or until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla essence and rose water and beat until combined.
  4. Add a third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined.  Add half the milk and beat until combined.  Repeat process.  Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined.  Do not over beat as this will toughen the mixture.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases.  For mini cupcakes bake for 13 minutes.  For standard cupcakes bake for 18-20 mins.  Rest for 30 mins before icing.

These are seriously my favourite cupcakes ever!  The only issue I have is that I now have 6 egg yolks waiting to be used.  I am thinking of making some lemon curd but if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Good, The Bad & The Bump(y)

Baby Bump Week 23

The Good
  • Corey feeling Squishy kick for the first time. 
  • Long weekends spent market shopping and relaxing.
  • Fairy bread fudge....delicious!!!
  • Warm cozy pajamas on rainy nights.
The Bad
  • This post being a few days late....sorry guys!
  • The car trouble I touched on in my last post.  My car needs a whole new motor which is kind of expensive.  
  • Long boring appointments at the hospital.
The Bump

Baby Bump Week 23

Every week when I type up this post I am more and more surprised at how quick the week has gone. Little Miss Squishy is going to be here before we know it.  I really need to get started on the nursery sewing and decorating very very soon or I am going to run out of time.  I have so many plans and so little time!  But I have a list so all I need to do is get started.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gotta Love A Long Weekend

This past weekend was a long weekend here in Australia and we decided to take advantage of it by heading to the Sunshine Coast for a few days.  The weekend started off rough with our car breaking down on the side of highway just outside of Caloundra.  We hired a car for the weekend and despite the rain and wind decided to make the most of the weekend.  We visited a couple of markets, the strawberry farm, ginger factory and of course the Eumundi pub.  I also managed to get a bit of reading down.  I finished 1 book, devoured a second and started a third.  A good start to the months reading!

Pool Strawberry Farm Strawberry Farm Strawberry Cheesecake Eumundi Bookshop Eumundi Bookshop Thank you Flowers Rainbow Lorikeets Ginger Factory

Because of the car dramas we ended up staying an extra night and only got home today.  It was a bit of a bitter end to the weekend because we found out the car is going to be quite expensive to fix. Luckily Corey has a friend who is a mechanic who is going to help us out and hopefully we will be able to save a few dollars.  Thank god for good friends willing to help out!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Bit of Baking

Baking has been a bit of an obsession of mine since my morning sickness wore off.  I have actually developed a bit of an obsession. My baking to do list is growing faster than I can make things.  It's loads of fun though and is making for lots of happy tummies around the office.

Muffins & Banana Bread 

Last Sunday mum and dad came around for brunch and I whipped up some Peanut Butter Banana Bread (recipe here) and Apple & Cinnamon Muffins (recipe here) for the occasion.  Corey has been slowly eating away at the loaf of banana bread since and is loving it!  I am not a big fan of banana's or banana bread but I tried a piece and it was quite nice.  Very moist! I would prefer it without the peanut butter glaze though.  I loved the muffins though! They were also super moist. I think it is because of the yoghurt in them.  The bonus with these is that not only are they yummy but they are also low fat. So guilt free baking!

Carrot Cupcakes

The weekend before I realised we had a bag of carrots in the fridge that weren't being eaten so I decided to use up a few by making some carrot cupcakes.  These were delicious!  Especially with the addition of maple buttercream icing. Yum!!!

Carrot Cupcakes by Australian Women's Weekly

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
2 cups grated carrot
3/4 cup chopped pecans (I left these out)

Preheat oven to 180*C. Line 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.

Combine eggs, oil, sifted flour, sugar and spice in a medium bowl.  Stir in carrot and chopped pecans.  Divide mixture amongst cases.

Bake cakes for approximately 30 minutes.  Stand cakes for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.  Enjoy x

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My 1st Teddy Bear

Every baby needs a teddy bear! It's like an unwritten rule or something.  Of course my baby had to have a teddy bear that was specially handmade by me.

Squishy's 1st Teddy Bear

I started working on this ages ago.  On the 26th April to be exact (thank you Ravelry).  I always forget how much I hate making toys until I get to the assembly stage.  The knitting portion goes by quickly but then you have to assemble all those little arms and legs and ears. Yuck!  So this poor teddy sat in pieces on the lounge for a couple of weeks till I finally started picking pieces up and gradually putting it together.
Squishy's 1st Teddy Bear

Teddy was finally finished on 28th May and then the weather turned hideous and gloomy so I couldn't take photos.  Finally on Saturday I just didn't care anymore and decided to snap some photos because I really wanted to share them with you all.  I am so happy with how this little teddy bear turned out. I hope it becomes a favourite toy of Little Miss Squishy and I hope she treasures it forever because I made it for her with all my love.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Good, The Bad & The Bump(y)

Week 22 Baby Bump

The Good
  • Movie dates + Malteser's = perfection!
  • Getting all the fabric together to start making a quilt for Squishy
  • Brunch date with the parentals.
  • Cuddles from Roxy Foxy.
  • New boots for winter.
The Bad
  • Watching the last episode of Revenge Season 1.  Awesome episode! Don't know how I am going to last till the start of Season 2.
  • Getting puffed out super easily. Pregnancy + Asthma = no fun.
The Bump

Week 22 Baby Bump 
Holy moly 22 weeks! Where has the time gone.  Every Sunday comes around and I go "omg time to take another photo!"  I am sure I am going to reach a point where it starts to go slow but for now I am enjoying the swiftness of time.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

May Reading List

Winter has started off with a bang here on the Gold Coast.  This past week has been full of grey rainy days and it seems set to continue for the weekend.  This means I get to pull out all my cosy knits but it also means that I can't get any decent photos of a new knit that I have to share with you.  Fingers crossed I can get some decent light this afternoon!  So because I can't take any photos I thought I would share with you the books I read in May.

So this months reading list didn't reach the dizzying heights of last month and to be honest I'm not sure if I'll hit 7 books in a month again this year.  But the books I did read this month I did enjoy.  I read another 2 books in the Pretty Little Liars series.  There are 4 more books I think in this series but only 2 of them are out.  I can only find one on the e-reader store so I think I might get the other from the library.  Deadlocked is the latest book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.  I am addicted to these books! I rushed out and bought it the first chance I got and read it within 2 days.  I must say I got to the end and kind of went "is that it?" I was expecting more.  The Book of Lost Threads is a random book I got of my friends e-reader which I must say I chose purely because of the cover.  I really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of 4 people in a little country town who become friends and help each other deal with their demons and make some moving realizations about their lives.  It is a very moving and sweet book.

So this month brings my total for the year up to 20 for the year.  If I want to reach my goal of 52 books I need to read 4.57 books a month!  Ha ha random number.  Considering I am going to have a newborn bub for the last couple of months of the year and I assume not much reading time I think I should get a wriggle on.