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Strawberry Muffins

We’re having a little lunch at work this week to sort-of-farewell my library volunteer who is taking some time off to manage some family issues for the next couple of months.  She’s the loveliest person ever and always spoils me with home-cooked meals (which make me feel very guilty but not so guilty that I don’t go home and gobble them up, ha ha) and helps me out in the library and basically supports me more than she knows.  I didn’t know what to bring and didn’t have a lot of ingredients in my pantry to make anything very exciting so I did a quick panicked look through my cookbooks to find something I could bake.  I had some strawberries in the fridge that were a bit past it but still fine to eat so I wanted to incorporate them.

I ended up finding this recipe at Food.com and it worked a treat.  I adapted it slightly, but it was so easy and the muffins are very tasty.  I’m not actually a huge muffin fan, but I wolfed down a few of these – purely as a taste-testing exercise, you understand.  They were delicious.  And they’re a one-bowl wonder which is always good.  No butter to beat or anything fiddly or fussy.  A good standby recipe to have when you’ve got people coming over and have nothing to serve them.  This recipe took less than 30 minutes – from making to baking and then eating.  So quick!  This would be a good recipe for kids (and first-time cooks) to have a  go at.  You could substitute any fruit in the recipe so give them a try with raspberries or blueberries, apple or even pineapple.

Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients

1 2/3 cup strawberries, chopped
2 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
1 1/2 cup plain flour
2 tbs milk
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 c
  2. Put a paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups, or grease just the bottoms of 12 muffin cups.
  3. Slightly smash strawberries in large bowl, using fork.
  4. Stir in sugar, oil and eggs and milk until mixed.
  5. Stir in other ingredients just until moistened.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  7. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown or toothpick poked in center comes out clean.
  8. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar, if desired
  9. Cool 5 minutes.
  10. Makes 12 muffins.

Enjoy! (Best eaten the day you make them)

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Frosty Greetings

Following on from my previous post, I am on a bit of a snowman vibe at the moment.  I used to draw this particular little guy about 15-20 years ago, and had forgotten all about him.  I don’t know why, because he is so quick and easy to draw and enables me to get lots of cards done in a short amount of time.  Better still, he is of course white so I don’t have to do lots of colouring!  Just black for his hat, a bit of red or blue for his scarf and a tiny swipe of cool grey (Oh I do love my Copic Markers!) for some shadowing, and I’m done.  I’ve tried him with and without a carrot nose – I prefer him without – and he doesn’t even have the customary black-dotted mouth (I’ve always found them a bit creepy).

A quick stamped sentiment and a card is done and dusted in no time.  And I enjoy doing them.  He makes me smile.  I think I also like the fact that he is all mine – my design and idea (although, how hard was it to come up with a snowman?). He’s not exactly a very Australian concept though – perhaps I should try him with a bush hat (the kind with corks hanging from it) and some gum leaves sticking out of it.  Actually, that’s an idea…

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Simple Stamped Snowmen

This is a quick and easy card idea that would be fun to do with kids (or adults!) and produces some lovely, quirky little characters.  I made a whole stack of these in one evening – perfect for when you are time poor and need to make a lot of cards in one go.

There’s lots of examples of stamped snowmen on various websites, using potatoes or sponges cut to shape.  I didn’t have any potatoes (my cupboards were a bit bare this week) so I carved a little roughly-circular-ovalish shape from a leftover piece of rubber from my printing class earlier in the year. I dabbed the stamp into a moistened sponge that had white paint on it and stamped onto some mini brown card stock.  It doesn’t matter if the stamped image doesn’t come out completely perfect – it adds to the design and makes it a bit more rustic and handmade.  But you can fix it up with some more paint if you want to.  The extra details were cut out of coloured card stock and drawn on with a Pigma Micron pen (they’re my go-to for doodling and adding details to things, especially when I don’t want any bleeding of ink or smudges).

I stamped a Christmas greeting on each card to finish, and voila!  So simple and quick!  They’re really cute and you can make each snowman quite individual, just by adding different details.  Try a scarf, or some holly on his hat, or no hat at all.  I also added a bit of glitter to them to help the white shine (you can’t see it in the photo…) but you can do anything you like to make them your own.

Hope your festive season is shaping up to be happy and heart-warming 🙂

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Beaded Bauble

Every surface in my house is currently buried under a pile of card, paper, bottles of glue, mounting tape, marker pens and ink.  So what would any sensible person do?  Tidy up?  Sort some things into neat piles?  Put everything away before starting something new?  Ha!  I scoff at your suggestions!  I am not sensible in any shape or form, so yesterday I decided to add to the mess by doing some beaded decorations inspired by some I had seen on Kelly Rae Roberts’ Instagram account.  I thought they were really lovely, and easy to do (the hardest part is choosing the beads) and wouldn’t take much time.

I bought some pretty glass baubles last week (they were on sale – bargain!) and chose some beads from my ridiculously large supply at home.  I went with blues, silvers and pearls for this one.  You simply bead a length of jewellery wire (the end looped and crimped through the loop on the bauble) and then loop and crimp the other end so it can be hung from whatever you want to hang it from!

KRR had hers hanging from a chandelier, but you could dangle one of these from a curtain rod (hanging in the window, catching the light) or from your Christmas tree, or decorating the banisters of a staircase.  I’ve seen them hooked on to drawer knobs on a dresser and hanging outside a front door from porch lights.  Lots of options.  They would make a quick and easy gift too.  I’m going to try and get some more finished before I move on to another messy project (might as well cover the entire house is chaos!).

Hope your day is shiny and bright 🙂

 

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Tuna Loaf

As I have stated before, I am a bad vegetarian.  For 90% of the time, I eat a vegetarian diet.  But then for the other 10%, all hell breaks loose and I eat fish. I don’t feel good about it and I don’t make any excuses for it, other than the fact I have a really restrictive renal diet and so can’t eat all the proteins a vego would normally have in large quantities eg chickpeas, lentils, baked beans, nuts etc.

So I eat fish sometimes.  Which makes me a pescatarian I suppose.  Sorry, fishies.

Which brings us to today’s recipe, Tuna Loaf.  Not the most appetising of titles, I agree, but the proof is in the pudding, right?  Or, in this case, the loaf.  Tuna Pudding sounds even more gross, so let’s stick with loaf.  It’s an easy-to-make, cheap and delicious dish that tastes just as nice cold the next day.  It’s got a lovely, slightly crispy outer edge and it’s soft and moist in the centre.  The little pieces of gherkin add extra crunch and sweetness.  You can also make it with tinned salmon, which is really yummy (but I can’t have salmon so I have to stick to it’s poorer cousin, the humble tuna).  Try and always buy the sustainably fished tuna if you can.  Make up for some of that pesky pescatarian guilt!

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Tuna Loaf 

Ingredients

425g tin of tuna in springwater, drained
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 spring onions, chopped fairly finely
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons tomato sauce plus extra for glazing
1/2 cup chopped gherkins
Salt and Pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees C.

Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Mix all ingredients together.

Press into the tin and press down with a fork.  Squirt or brush some tomato sauce over the top – in a fancy pattern or just haphazardly, I won’t judge.

Bake for approx 35- 40 minutes until top is golden and loaf feels firm.

Cut in to slices to serve.

Voila!

If you’re smart, you will argue for the end piece because it is crunchier and tastier and just the best bit.  You made it, you get first dibs.  It’s like a law or something.

Enjoy with a side salad or whatever vegies you like.  As I said, it’s nice cold too, and perfect for lunchboxes as it holds its shape quite well.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

PS  Yes, that is a ‘Moby Dick” plate in the photo.

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Haloumi & Zucchini Fritters/Patties

I have been meaning to make haloumi fritters for ages, because I keep seeing them everywhere, on menus and in magazines.  I finally got around to trying them this week.  Mine is a fairly basic recipe, to which you could add “extras” like chopped vegie bacon, sauteed onion, spring onion or sundried tomato.  Experiment with whatever you have in the fridge (that’s pretty much what I do – I’m not very organised!).

This recipe makes about 12 medium sized fritters.  They’re good hot or cold, so great for tucking in lunchboxes.  I’ve baked mine, because I don’t really fry anything, but you could certainly fry them if you prefer that method.

Ingredients

2 medium zucchinis, grated
100g haloumi cheese, grated
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Tbs chopped dill or parsley
Tbs sumac
Salt and pepper to season
(go easy on the salt as there is plenty in the haloumi)

Method

Preheat oven to 190 C

Squeeze as much excess liquid out of the grated zucchini as you can.  Mix with haloumi in a large bowl, with breadcrumbs and beaten eggs.  Mix herbs and seasoning through the mixture.  If it’s a little wet, you can add some more breadcrumbs or some rolled oats to soak up the excess moisture.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Using a large spoon, drop about 1/4 cup of mixture on to tray to form each fritter.  Leave a little room for spreading.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until brown and crispy on the outside.

Serve as a snack with some herbed yoghurt and salsa, or have for brekky with a nice poached egg and some mushrooms.

Enjoy 🙂

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Dear Friend

Another birdy card.  I just like birds, ok?  They add a nice finishing touch and some colour.  And I like that they add direction ie they are usually not square (I find that birds rarely are!) and help to draw the eye in or across, and tie all the elements together.  You know what I mean – don’t make me try to make sense!

Having said that, I struggled with this card.  I added bits, and took bits away, and fiddled around for AGES, trying to get it to look right.  In the end, I gave up and settled for what it had become.  A day later, I don’t mind it now.  I think adding the green square in the upper corner helped to bring all the colours and elements together without having to add another image or word or heavily patterned piece.

Do you have tried-and-true elements or images you like to use in your designs?  I’d love to hear what inspires you and makes your design process easier.

Have a lovely day, dear friends 🙂

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