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Home Made Irish Creme

photo (3)Its been a while since I’ve done a post – I’m 7 months pregnant with baby number 2! I dont do pregnancy all that well and kind of drop of the face of the earth for a while while I’m sick and crying from the physiological pain of the Vomit. But I’m feeling alot better now and ready to get back into my little world of blogging!
I can take or leave alcohol BUT I love Bailey’s! Its always been something we get as a special treat from duty free. So when I came across this recipe a few weeks ago I let out a sigh of happiness and then thought  to myself of course thats why is so delicious, look what’s in it. So easy, and so yum and tastes pretty much like the real thing! I would recommend investing in good quality whisky.

This makes 1 Litre. I’m pregnant so none for me, and Scott won’t get through all that in a short time, so giving some to a friend with a cute label. Who wouldn’t want to receive that as a gift? Apart from a recovering alcoholic I suppose.

Happy mixing

What you need –

  • 1 tin of evaporated milk ( 375ml)
  • 1 tin of sweetened condensed milk (350ml)
  • 1 teaspoon of instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of drinking chocolate (in used Quick)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 and a half cups of good quality whisky

What to do –

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together well. Pour into glass container and store in the fridge. Shake well before pouring

 

Quinoa and Red Kidney Bean Patties

photoAs you would know, Im always on the lookout for yummie new vegetarian recipes. The only recipes that make it here have Scotts thumbs up, and with him being a totally meat lover, thumbs up means a lot!

I love these. Love love love. They taste amazing and you know that they are good for you and you have sneaky goodness in them for the kids!

This made me 8 medium sized patties. Added them to my buns with hummus, lettuce and beetroot. Yum.

Note – I was just using what I had at home at the time, but some grated zucchini or carrot would work well too. Add some hot sauce for the adults!

What you need –

1 x 390 g tin of red kidney beans – drained

¼ c of  quinoa

½ a cup of water

½ a cup of wholemeal breadcrumbs

1 medium onion – grated

2 cloves of garlic – grated

1 and a ½ teaspoons of cumin

½ a teaspoon of salt

1 egg

Handful of fresh herbs – roughly chopped (I used oregano and mint)

3 tablespoons of olive oil – for frying

What to do –

  • Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Transfer into a large bowl. Add the beans and use a potato masher to mash them up roughly (leave some chunks).
  • add all the other ingredients except the oil. Mix well and form into patties.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the patties for a few minutes on each side (or until golden).

Bare Naturals Launch!

photo (100)So this is the first year I can really remember that I have stuck to my New Years Resolutions. Like, ever. I used to do a massive list that was pretty much unattainable. Not this year, no sirie. I made a whopping 3 New Years Resolutions, and hurrah, I’m kind of doing them!

One of them was to do less thinking about things and more action and I have really been pushing myself to action the things I say I will. This is actually surprisingly (or not surprising to most of you) very time consuming. But I’m learning, and getting lots of warm fuzzy feelings of accomplishment along the way.
So that being said I wanted to introduce you to Bare Naturals!! A company I have started to sell my home made organic products!

My journey to this point has been interesting. I started making my own products when I found myself out of full time work for a whopping 7 months (which is a long time when you have worked full time since you were 16, and now in your….gulp 30’s) after the February earthquake in Christchurch. My world took a bit of a hit and I was floundering. My friend suggested a book to me called “A Home Companion” and it changed my life! I had always been interested in natural products, but after reading this book and getting a bit more educated about chemicals, I started making my own beauty and cleaning products and I just love it.
About 9 months ago I was at the airport seeing off my best friend who came to see me after I had my baby. We were munching (or hoovering) down sandwiches from Healthy Habits. Seriously those sandwiches are the BEST. She said to me

‘You need to start selling your products girlfriend’

Me – ‘pffft who would buy them?!’

I cant remember what she said in clarity next to warrant quotation marks but she and Scott encouraged me/hounded me to start selling some products.

‘You will look back at this conversation one day and you will remember that this is where it started’ she said.

That part is true! So I got working and here we are!

I would love it if you would check out the website www.barenaturals.co.nz

There are some delish lip balms on there that would make great stocking stuffers at just $6 each! They are all natural and mostly organic, so they are safe for you and your family.

Pure Peppermint lip balm, beautiful and crisp $6 each

Pure Peppermint lip balm, beautiful and crisp $6 each

 

Limited edition Christmas Spice lip balm $6 each. With hints of cinnamon, lime, orange and clove essential oils - its a Christmas treat!

Limited edition Christmas Spice lip balm $6 each. With hints of cinnamon, lime, orange and clove essential oils – its a Christmas treat!

 

Below The Mo lip balm for men! $6 each. Made in a low gloss formulation, which is extra thick for less application for the forgetful man

Below The Mo lip balm for men! $6 each. Made in a low gloss formulation, which is extra thick for less application for the forgetful man

All products come wrapped individually

All products come wrapped individually

 

Christina xx

ps I just re-read that post and gosh I can get side tracked!

Preggers Eggers pregnancy belly balm $12 for a limited time Contains only organic ingredients of almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter

Preggers Eggers pregnancy belly balm $12 for a limited time
Contains only organic ingredients of almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax, and cocoa butter

Homemade Garlic Salt

photo (97)I recently ran out of my favorite seasoning and I usually buy it from markets in Christchurch. In the lead up to Christmas and my Bare Naturals project (post to come about my exciting project soon when its loaded up in computer world!) my calendar is filling up fast and don’t have a weekend spare to go to the markets. Sooooo I thought I would have a go at making my own salt spice mix and I am surprised how good it turned out! I had a 500 g pack of sea salt so I used all of that and now I can seasoning for the masses! I have to be honest and say its not as good as the Smoke and Spice Company one, but I know they smoke their garlic to give it that beautiful flavor. Mine is still delish though! I had a couple of old salt bottles with large holes on top as well as one used pepper grinder. Im keeping one and giving out two to my foodie friends. Makes a cute Christmas gift for someone you know maybe?!

What you need –

500 g of sea salt

10 cloves of garlic – grated

3 tablespoons of fresh oregano

3 tablespoons of fresh thyme

3 tablespoons of fresh rosemary

Half a tablespoonful of chilli flakes

 

What to do –

  • Put your salt into a bowl. Grate in your garlic and mix well. Finely chop all your herbs and add to the mix as well as the chilli flakes. Mix well and then spread out salt mix into a tray and let it dry out for 24-48 hours. Once done, pack up into containers.

DIY Bath Salts

photo (69)Oh. My. Aching. Muscles.

Boot Camp.

Yes, that all needed a full stop after each word so I can fully make my point. I love boot camp – but sheesh it can be hard work (surprise surprise). But I’m sure you all know that already. So after last weeks particularly hard session, I mixed up some bath salts to help my poor muscles.

These are so easy to make and the look great all done up with a cute tag. You can add different kinds of essential oils – whatever takes your fancy. I did rose as my pink salts, lime as my yellow salts and a blend of black pepper, lime and sandalwood as my blue salts. I’m in two minds whether I should share with my friend Kylie who is to blame for me going to boot camp in the first place….

What you need –

2 cups of epsom salts

1 cup of rock salt

6 – 10 drops of food coloring

5 – 10 drops of essential oil

What to do –

  • Mix the epsom salts and rock salts together well in a bowl.
  • For my batch I wanted to make 3 different colors and scents, so I mixed my salts and then measured out how much salt mixture I would need for each container. Then used three separate bowls to add the coloring and oils to.
  • Add food coloring a few drops at a time and then mix well between each addition to get to desired color. Add essential oil last and mix well.
  • pack into a glass jar and seal how you like – attach a card and ribbon for gift giving!

Use approx. half a cup for each bath and enjoy

Note – you dont need much food coloring at all! I accidentally used too much – would have preferred mine a bite more pastel.

 

Slow Cooked Curry Chicken

photo (65)Christchurch has been having crazy weather in the last few days – huge winds which have been cutting power and keeping most of us up until the wee hours, hail, thunder and lightning (which I personally love from growing up in Australia). So while it was hailing at 8 am this morning I decided thats its a great day to trial a new slow cooker recipe. It turned out great.
What you need – (serves 2)
A slow cooker
1 large chicken breast (or two if you want a meatier version)
140 g tomato paste
3/4 cup of water
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 and a half Tablespoons of curry powder
1 Tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
1 medium onion – sliced
What to do – 
Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker except the onion and chicken. Mix up all those ingredients really well and then add the onion. Mix again and then add the chicken on top and season with salt and pepper.
Cook on low for about 7 hours or until the chicken is cooked to your liking.
Serve with
basmati rice, a few Tablespoons of greek yoghurt, a few papadoms and fresh coriander to sprinkle on top

Cuddles and Kittens

photo 1 (15)One of my goals this year was ‘Less thinking about things/more action’. I put that into practice the other days with starting something in 30 minutes that I have pondered on doing for about a year! My bestie Sarah started up a monthly charity event called ‘Feel Good Fridays’ as a once a month get together to support a charity by way of donations, as well as having a kick arse great time in the process! She suggested I think about doing something in NZ (she’s in Australia) as well. Just thinking about it made me feel warm and fuzzy and good about myself. I often have good intentions to do something and I ride along with those fuzzies but never actually do them. I cheat my way to feel good without the work. Not this time.

Church last week was all about not putting things off and actually doing something TODAY, and not putting your to-do’s in the laters basket that never gets done. Well, I think thats what it was about, thats what I heard anyways….could have been something completely different – that would not be the first time. Anyhoo.
So I have started my own charity get togethers here in Christchurch. I called in Cuddles and Kittens because those things make me happy and, come one, I organized everything from start to finish in 30 minutes so there wasn’t much time for a cooler name than that.

About – 

I decided to create this group because the news of the world has been getting me down of late and I wanted to create get togethers primarily to donate to a charity and just do something tangible to think of others. I also hope we will having fun and bring people together as well. Its a small way to give, but it all adds up, and we get to have fun along the way, meet new people and hopefully make some new lasting friendships.
The general idea is to come to an event that I create and bring $5, $10 or just whatever you can for that chosen charity for the month. 

The first event is Friday the of October and its a earring and broach making session at my place, as well and lots of cake and chocolate! Bring $5 or $10 or as much as you can afford and (apart from $2 of that) it will go the the Ronald McDonald house in Christchurch who do an amazing job for families in need at the worst time of their lives. Come and get some warm fuzzies of your own and meet some new people and give a little to others.  You can to take home some home made goodies and there is a ‘spot door’ prize as well.
Spot door prize

Spot door prize

If you are in CHCH and are interested, please let me know and I will add you to the group for more information.

Example of earrings and broaches you could make on the night

Example of earrings and broaches you could make on the night

Chiang Mai Noodles

photo (58)I tend to get a bit gung ho with new recipes. I will discover one that I love and cook, and then do it constantly for a few months and then move onto the next one with the same enthusiasm. This morning this recipe for chiang mai noodles popped into my head and I realized that I haven’t cooked it for years! Its one of Scott’s favorites. I forgot how quick and easy it is, and for a night like tonight when its cold and rainy its perfect. You could easily substitute the chicken for tofu for a vegetarian option.

What you need – (serves 4)

250 g thin egg noodles

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, grated

1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

3 Tablespoons of red curry paste

375 g free range chicken breast, cut into thin strips

2 Tablespoons of fish sauce

1 Tablespoon of brown sugar

3 cups of coconut milk

1 Tablespoon of lime juice

1 cup of chicken stock

4 spring onions, sliced, to garnish

A handful of fresh coriander , to garnish

What to do –

  • Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and cover and set aside
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic and chilli and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken cook until the chicken is well done. Add the curry paste and stir well. Add in the fish sauce, sugar, coconut milk, lime juice and stock. Reduce heat and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes – do not boil.
  • To serve – divide the noodles into 4 deep serving bowls and spoon the chicken mixture on top. Garnish with the spring onion and coriander.

Beautiful Chicken Roast

photo 2 (3)Its been awhile since I have sat down to write a blog post! The reason for that is a mixture of things – including a killer holiday to Australia for 2 whole weeks that was spent with family and friends (that make up my chosen family). AMAZING. So we got home with full love tanks and lots of happy memories of meeting new additions to the family. However, the love tanks of our wallets are running a touch low. This has made for less experimenting in the kitchen and more pulling out my freezer meals and going with basics that I have tried and tested many times. One of those is roast chicken. Ahhh the Roast. For years the perfect roast eluded me. Mum would tell me they are so easy, but I could never master them – until THIS roast chicken. Its one of Scott’s favorite meals and mine too. It seems impossible to get wrong.

You can find the seasoning I use here – ITS AMAZING!!! I discovered it a few years ago and I have been hooked and converting people ever since! Its a great gift idea for the ‘foodie’ who has everything else.


photo 1 (4)

What you need –

I whole (preferably free range) chicken (no stuffing)

One lemon

A bunch of fresh herbs – I normally use oregano, thyme and basil mint

Smoked Garlic seasoning

4 – 5 Tablespoons of coconut oil

What to do –

  • Preheat your oven to 230 degrees.
  • Place your chicken in a large, deep baking tray.
  • Don’t bother cutting up your herbs, just as is, stuff into the cavity of the chicken. With a knife, score all around the lemon and then put into the cavity of the chicken after the herbs.
  • Sprinkle liberally the seasoning and then scoop out coconut oil in tablespoonfuls and dob all over the chicken.
  • Place the chicken into the preheated oven and immediately turn down the heat to 200 degrees.
  • Cook for an hour and 20 minutes – or until the juice from the chicken runs clear.

Note – I normally add the vegies to roast at 40 minutes into cooking time, and then turn them at one hour into cooking time.

Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

photo 3 (2)So its been awhile since I’ve done a post! Life has been somewhat busy. Hmm lets put in perspective busy. Today I went to a ‘Mums and Bubs’ movie session with some good friends followed by lunch after, and then more play time – busy of a different kind than what used to be my life a year ago. Sometimes I cant believe that this is my life now, I’m having so much fun I have completely blocked out the fact that I will eventually have rejoin the workforce. But I will sometime soonish, so until then I will enjoy myself!

Anyhoo that intro got very off track – introducing the best banana muffins you will ever taste! What makes them so good you ask? The cinnamon sugar topping thats what!

I got to use the cupcake cute kit Mum gave me, so that was fun too.

What you need –

Muffins –

⅔ cup sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 very ripe bananas – mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping –

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup of butter or margarine – melted

What to do –

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Grease or line with paper cases a 12 hole muffin tray
  • In medium bowl, beat the sugar, oil and eggs with wire whisk. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in remaining muffin ingredients just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  • Cook for 17 to 20 minutes – or until a skewer is inserted and comes out clean
  • Remove from tray and place onto a wire rack to cool.
  • For the topping – mix the sugar with the cinnamon on a bowl. Dip the muffins into the margarine/butter and then roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Cute cupcake kit from Mum

Cute cupcake kit from Mum