Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Xmas Highlights usual all the stress leading up to Christmas and blink and its suddenly over! Here's how it all unfolded for our family.

Christmas eve was spent with my side of the family all meeting at my place, ten of us in total. My little brother prepared the entree, while I made us lunch and pud.
I was keen to try some turkey this year after watching all the northern hemisphere cooking programmes leading up to Christmas. Not convinced I could pull off a whole bird I went for a "Tegel Turkey Breast Roast with Cranberry Stuffing". It was surprisingly delicious and moist after cooking it in roasting bag. To go with it I made Jamie Oliver's roast veges. The best roasted potatoes Ive ever made. For pudding I made us an "Eton Mess". This is a mix of munted up meringues, whipped cream, syrupy strawberries with fresh strawberry on top. All served in a brandy snap basket. So yum!  And apparently one of Prince Williams favourites!

We did all the usual fun stuff,  opening presents and hanging out together. Good family time.

In the afternoon we did some deliveries to help get the children giving before all the receiving.  Then we went and checked out the City Christmas lights. By the time we got home it was 10pm. I was pooped, but in true procrastination style we still had presents to wrap and load into sacks!

The kids only slept in a measly half an hour more despite the late night before. They found their sacks and brought them in to our bed. We read the Christmas story and prayed thanking God for the best Christmas present of all, his Son Jesus. The kids then tore in to their presents. It was fun watching Zak zak doing it for the first time. Yuss! he must think, permission to destroy something!

We drove over to hubby's family to have brunch and then later in the afternoon we drove out to Wellingtons Bay for a BBQ at the beach. It was lovely to see so many others who thought a relaxing day at the beach is a great way to do Christmas.

Pasta Maker!

Check out hubbys new gift from me! Its the gift that keeps on giving! He gets a cool kitchen gadget...and I get dinner done! But seriously, the italians have got it right. Taking the time to hand create something like this makes you savour it so much more. My brother helped prep the tomato based sauce and we all concluded it was the best pasta we had ever eaten! We are already looking forward to making some ravioli and other Italian morsels.

So good!

I hope you are yours are had a great Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cranberry and pistachio nut biscotti

Christmas baking.

I thought I would try and make biscotti as its something Ive always wanted to try and make. I had an idea to try and find a Christmas themed one with cranberry and pistachio nuts to make it look green and red for Christmas. So after googling cranberry and pistachio nut biscotti I found this recipe.  

1/4 cup light olive oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand.
Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12x2 inches) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough may be sticky; wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.
Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool.
I found I used more flour than the above as the mix seemed way too wet and loose.
I also tried a batch with part of it dipped in chocolate. Super yum!
Have a go! It was way easier than I thought it would be! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the goings on.

Well its been a stressful few weeks here unfortunately. Thankfully I have some wonderful friends who have been praying loads for me and my family and I have felt them. So thanks, you know who you are.
So I haven't exactly been getting into the "Christmas spirit". Take my annual xmas picture for example. I planned that months ago and only did it yesterday. Mr Zak zak did not want to comply for my photo. He wanted all the letters for himself. Consequently I took individual photos and then put them in a row. Don't even ask how long it took me to make the red letters stand out. I wish I had spent more time on I really should have started the project weeks ago and not the week of xmas.

Anyhoo in other goings on. The kids had their end of year gymnastics show. Unfortunately I had to miss it because I had to work, but Dada took about a minutes worth of footage so at least I could see something of the night. I had already sat though the weekly practices so I at least knew the routine. Dada said he was so proud when our little Joe got a  trophy, the only one in his group. Miss Joy got a big certificate too. My kids are awesome. Just sayin.

And some body has taken a bit of skin off his nose. Another reason I should have taken my xmas photo weeks ago! Joe was undertaking some tomfoolery in the form of climbing up our very high fence. I think he's survived childhood pretty unscathed so far. First blood nose at age 5. Ah well. That'll learn him.

Last week we were all sick with the sniffles. I actually rang in sick for work. I hate ringing in sick.

I tried making something I saw on Pintrest. Hotdogs with spaghetti poked through. The kids loved it! Im not gonna lie... I ate something different for dinner. I may try it again with a different kind of sausage.

Miss Joy turned 8! I can't quite believe it actually. I wanted to keep it low key this year. So we just took a couple of her friends out for dinner at our local Gengy's. It's an all you can eat place. They bring the birthday girl out a birthday pancake and the entire restaurant sings happy birthday and then the BBQ flames are lit. Super fun for an eight year old!

She is growing up to be a pretty special young lady. Kind and sweet hearted. Love my Miss Joy to bits.

Sunday Morning was our churches annual childrens and creche presentations.
Joe and Paisley Jades daughter "letting their light shine".

In the evening service we held our annual Christmas concert. My lovely hubby did a great job as MC for the night. He enlisted the children to help him teach about Christingles. Any northern hemisphere readers heard of these?

Only a few more days until Christmas!! What!?
I may get my A into G and do some Christmas baking.

Ooh and if you are in for something funny...hubby and I saw this the other night on TV that had us in stitches. It was like he summed up our bedtime parenting to a tee. (It gets to the bedtime routine at  about 2.30 minutes.)

I did a post called "Worst case scenario mum"  and now don't feel so bad! Somebody else does it too

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

schools out...argh....

I cringed at the thought of getting out of bed this morning. I wanted pull the covers up and not get out. Why? Because already the madness has begun...the first day of the school holidays. Even hubby gave me a good luck pep talk before he left for work. For the last three school terms it has just been me and Zak zak, the day  to ourselves. 

So while I was in the shower I knew I needed a plan of attack. I needed to lay some ground rules, and I needed to do it today. "Show no weakness, be in control, take no prisoners....don't negotiate with terrorists"....okay so I may be getting a tad carried away...they after all only children...right?! Some how three children + a fairly small echoie house = Me slowly going MAD. The noise just drives me spare. They are usually happy sounds...but even this irritates me. There may only be three of them...but it sounds like 20.

So we have had a pep talk and have come up with some negotiated rules and an activity chart to look at over the holidays in case somebody is bored. I tend to have a "hands off" policy to parenting. My favourite Nigel Latta line is "go and play" and usually the kids can spend hours outside entertaining themselves. So if they need some ideas we have this.

 Am I missing anything?? Or do you have any other suggestions?

School Concert:
The Kids had their end of year school concert, Miss Joy in the red played a dear. Joe sang in the choir. Hubby and I had to take turns outside with the noisy toddler...ahh the joys of having a toddler. 

Baby Shower

The other thing I wanted to show ya'll is the pretty baby shower cup cakes I made. I was going for that marbled icing effect. I really need to practice my piping skills. I must admit...they tasted devine. I'd lend you the recipe for my vanilla cupcakes but I'm not sure of exact measurements.

My chocolate cake tasted delish too... I made a massive basic mix for the cupcakes ( I was hoping my cake mixer would handle it all) and put them in first...and with the left  over mix I put cocoa and grated cooking chocolate in to make the cake. As you probably already know I hate following recipes. Some times it turns out right...this was one of those times. Yay me!

It was a fun baby shower for my Sister in Law in Auckland. Baby Showers are not really an Indian thing to do,  so it was fun introducing them all the games like; Guess the disgusting baby food, blind fold farex feeding, blind fold nappy change and guess the pregnant belly girth. I had fun playing host as well as getting to know the new baby's extended family.

I made a nappy cake too. I think they are such a cool present for baby showers.