Wednesday, September 30, 2009



a) TIME SAVING: You can down it like a shot

b) SIMPLE: you don't need to add milk & coffee

c) INDULGENT: you can console yourself with a piece of chocolate to balance the bitter espresso & calm your borderline freak-out session when you see your 2 boys trying to empty daddy's wallet content into their sock drawer & your 3 year old girl trying to cut her own bangs.

d) PRACTICAL: no kids will dare ask you for a sip for fear you'll actually let them have one & photograph the horrific face they make when they do.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

And the winner is.....

Hey Fantastic Followers! (Arg, that has an odd repressed childhood ring to it)

I'm terribly tickled by your "Giveaway" comments. I'm just having a blasty-blast reading through some of the more ghastly home remedies ever. (If I could give the prize for genuinely terrifying home remedies, Silver Princess wins, hands down!)

Seeing as I got so much feedback & enjoyed your great comments & great ideas (and not so great ideas) I've decided to pick 2 winners, so here you go.

I dragged this fresh looking young man out of bed & forced him to rummage around in a hat while he was eating breakfast, for some reason unknown to him.

"K-a-r-i" & "R-y-a-n"

There ya go! Congratulations! Kari & Ryan! Hope you like your humble little prize (100% homemade & free of alligator urine) Ryan, lemmie know how would be best to get you your prize. And Kari, I'll be seeing you soon hopefully.

Thanks everyone. I've got some spiffy foodie ideas for another giveaway soon so stay tuned!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fragrant Giveaway!

So maybe you don't know this about me but I'm a bit trippy when it comes to natural beauty products. I suppose it's the fact that so many wonderful things in the kitchen can be put in your mouth & smeared all over your body. (Hurrah for messy eaters). I'm not a vigilante about natural health products but you have to be daft to not know that there's a load of crap in consumer beauty products.

I used to think my sister was out of her mind when she'd walk around with banana & oatmeal smeared on her face like a freakin' alien but reeeeally, you can't deny the joy in smashing stuff up, grinding it up & the walking around looking like Frankenstien much to the horror of your DH, who you then hold down & force to don the same concoction.

The more you look into it the more you realize that you can start a whole spa in your kitchen. (minus the L.O. pasta).

So in celebration of God's green earth I'm gonna give away 1 of my favorite winter body products. Lavender & TeaTree Salt & Sugar body scrub.

Anyone who gets dry skin in the winter months will love it. It's the easiest thing to make:

cup of sugar or salt (I used both cuz' salt is a bit too coarse for my liking)
enough carrier oil to turn it into a slushy paste, don't overdo it on the oil. (I used grapeseed but you can use whatever you like, probably not EV olive or cooking oil, ewwww)
10 drops or so of your favorite essential oil (or a blend of oils) I used 7 lavender 3 tea tree


SO! If you wanna take a swing at this giveaway, here's the dealio:

1) Leave a comment answering two questions. What homemade natural product do you use or make & what's the weirdest homemade/natural product you've used or know of someone using (no enema stories please, tx)

2) Significant other can comment for you (or for themselves) to up your chances.

3) Come back on Mon morning on the 28th to see one of my kids randomly picked your name.

4) Sorry but I can only ship within the country :( But we'd still love to hear your whacky ideas

That's it folkies! Comments are now open!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Things we must contemplate.......

- Why didn't I just resist the temptation to start watching "Top Chef"?

- How hard would it be to start a micro-green garden on my window sill?

- What kind of a person would actually enjoy cooking using "molecular gastronomy"? My personal guess is, MASA!!

- Why does composting seem like it's a two faced evil-doer, on one hand it has the ability to be extremely eco-friendly & simple yet also have the potential to be a huge steamy pile of stinkin' mess?

- If my kitchen mixer is named 'Bruce the Mighty Mixer', what shall my sleek blue & translucent glow in the dark blender be called?

- As a cook should I speak up when someone puts mayo on a meal I made that did not call for MAYO as a condiment? (let's just not go here)

- Why am I blogging when I'm supposed to be making bread for tomorrow?

- What would I need to do to get one of you to sneak off with me to Italy....har har! (seriously, if you have any super plausible getaway plans & elaborate cover ups lemmie're my new best friend)

One last contemplation:

Giveaway coming soon as I figure out who keeps stuffing marbles into my boots!

--- Ciao

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Blessed Bread ALONE: Focaccia

Recently someone asked me how to make Focaccia & I directed them to my blog saying that I had posted the recipe. But after searching I realized that I had NO such recipe posted yet. I mean.....REALLY? I've been making this recipe nearly as long as I've been making pancakes! Great balls of steaming ooger! The time to post is now. (though technically this draft has been sitting on my dashboard for months)

Now, If I may let you in on a little secret:

You have permission to be a mediocre cook but if you can bake a loaf of bread you'll pass as a kitchen genius.

Try it, next big meal take a little time to try out some bread and you'll have guests grabbing hold of your ankles refusing to leave. How do I know this? I am yet trying to shake off ankle holders now. (they are roughly between the ages of 5-1)

Honestly, people. This bread was one of the first breads I tried making & believe me, there's nothing like being hailed a genius when the only things you can actually make in the kitchen is scrambled eggs & focaccia. Observe:
Here I am posing as an impostor cook, looking smug, & mismatched. It's pretty obvious the only thing I've actually accomplished in the kitchen is drink several beers, make bread & successfully convince people I can cook. I admit I even pulled this on my boyfriend and he is yet still my boyfriend.

So please, pretend that you're not paranoid of yeast & get cracking: (Hint, the secret to a good focaccia is in the triple raising)

5 c of bread flour or all purpose flour (use 1/2 extra tsp of salt if using all purpose flour)
1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 tbsp sugar

2/3 c olive oil (You only need 3-4 tbsp for the actual dough, rest is for topping)

2 c warm water (40 c) (Set aside 1/4 of the water for yeast)

Dissolve sugar in warm water in a bowl sprinkle yeast on top & leave undisturbed for 10 min.
Sift flour, salt together in large bowl. Make a well in the center pour yeast/water in & mix till blended (there will be lumps & crumbliness) then make another well & add olive oil & remaining 1 3/4 c warm water. Mix with wooden spoon till it comes together then turn out onto floured surface & knead for 10 min. (If you have a stand mixer you can knead for 6-8 min)

The dough should be soft but not too soft to handle. Add more flour as needed.
Turn the dough into a oiled large bowl & set in the oven or warm place (covered with towel) for 1 1/2 hrs till it's doubled in size.

Lightly oil two baking trays, or of you like use two 9" cake pans (this will give you a much fluffier, thicker focaccia), punch dough down shape into two balls roll or press into the pans, cover the pans with towels & let it rise again for 30 min.
Preheat oven for 200c (400f)

Using your fingertips press dimples all over the dough's surface. Drizzle the remaining oil over the bread. Sprinkle generously with seasalt.

The most traditional topping is rosemary sprigs. But there are heaps of toppings that you can choose from & or improvise with some ideas are:

sliced red onion
coarsely ground walnuts or pecans

black olives halved

sun-dried tomatoes

cherry tomato halves
sprinkling dried basil

fresh basil leaves
brown sugar (about 1 tsp per loaf)

bits of anchovies

parmesan cheese

Let the dough sit again for another 30 min then bake for 20-25 min till golden brown. And that's about it. Cut & serve warm.

I try not to let my foccacia get too "busy" with toppings. Usually pick 2 or 3, max, besides the olive oil. Of course if you add a pizza sauce & cheese before the toppings then "BAM" the evolution of pizza.

Also if you have a bread maker you can set it to "dough" and put the ingr. in according to the maker's instructions till the first rising

Well, that's it & as you can see I have no actual picture of the finished product & that is because no matter how much I make there is almost no left overs at all. EVER! Sneaky guests have been observed sneaking back into the kitchen at midnight with their head in the fridge eating left over focaccia straight out of a ziplock bag. (yeah, you didn't think I knew it was you, didja?)

Afterthought about bread sticks:

PS. If you wanna make bread sticks divide the dough after the first rising into walnut sized balls & roll out to about 10 in sticks. Leave to rise for 30 min, then brush with olive oil & sprinkle with whatever topping you like. (caraway, dried basil, oregano, sesame seeds, poppy seeds etc..) & bake for 15-20 min till golden.

PPS. A simpler option to toppings on bread sticks is to add seasoning to the dough before kneading.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Just thought I should share......yeah! So that's curry! What am I saying....that WAS curry a LONG LONG time ago. Just when you think you have all your bases covered & you've slapped together the best "cheat" meal ever (Japanese curry) so you can take the kids out to play. Just for the record "Curry" (that comes in blocks) is made in this house about as frequently as we go to McDonalds ---- only when absolutely necessary.

Let's just say someone did not turn the burner off.

Well just thought I should share. In case your wondering......sadly, it was edible enough for us to have to consume. It was like eating horrible-burnt-curry-humble-pie. -- And yeah, I was about as thrilled as I looked in the picture that I had one of my girls take. Just for you! Cuz' it's important that you know that I can burn it like a pro. :)

Well, gotta run, meals to burn, kids to chase.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Opening Birthday Season.....

This handsome firstborn son turned 8 and we are happy to ring in "birthday season" as it's become known. Unfortunately we weren't as prepared as we should've been. (eg. only 1 candle for the cake) other minor hickups in our otherwise "spotless" birthday record. (eye rolls)but it wasn't a bad cake. Simple cheesecake using no recipe in particular & adding little extras & my own midnight spins (after all no one really likes baking at midnight when they should be asleep) This is a good old fashioned "Cheese Monkey" picture from us two Cheese Monkeys...with our cheese cake, no less. I'm not sure why Ryan wanted cheesecake but he sure was happy with the outcome, glory be!As you can see we're really "big" on birthday hats here. (Don't ask me why) Someone felt compassion for the poor little guy who couldn't make his own & (literally) slapped one together for him before the final crucial "cake-bringing-out-song-singing" moment when all who are not wearing birthday hats will be banished forever from the party. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but this man is REALLY big on food.

Maybe you can tell now. This is after we tried to hide the left over cake. Someone needs to learn how to take rejection.

That's it for now.

Oh...afterthought. I tiny little speckle in my brain is contemplating the idea of putting up some cooking videos. Not as glorious as SBJ's a thought, -- we'll let it simmer for a bit.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Playdough Dinner with LOVE!

Don'tcha just miss playdough? The smell the feel & the way it would linger under your fingernails for weeks esp if you came from a large family & didn't get your nails cut that often.

I was deeply impressed by the imagination of my not terribly artistic 5 year old man. This is no ordinary pile of play dough. This is a full course dinner he made for me choosing what he thought was my favorite foods. And he took time explaining each thing to me in GREAT detail. And I will in turn explain to you in great detail because apparently that's what mothers do at times. So that is what I shall do. READY?

(Snail looking thingie) Cinnamon Bread roll, (flat thingies, riddled with holes) sourdough flatbread, (pile of business) mashed potatoes with butter, (long skinny thingies) lady finger biscuits, (little marble thinga-ma-bobs) cucumber/tomato salad, (balls in crumpled up tissue) apple cinnamon raisin muffins.

Ain't that just the sweetest thing? If I coulda eaten it I woulda!