Sunday, August 26, 2012

A bit of what I have been up to of late...

Its been a LONG time since I posted but a friend suggested I try posting on Sundays... Not sure if that will always work but I am planning on finding a little time to stop by and say hi a little more regularly... Fingers crossed!

So I have been busy with my bee and swaps, and have just today joined another bee--a rainbow bee--very exciting, and even more exciting I get to do the first month this October--how lucky is that! 

In my other swaps I have had a lovely few months, got lots of lovely presents for my birthday in the Fat Quarter Swap and although I was slack posting here on the blog I did send out some thank you emails! I also had some lovely swaps from my swap partners. Want to see some of my goodies?

Like I said--WOW! Thank you all so much lovely ladies!

I have also been busy with my Block Swap making some lovely blocks and learning some new tricks along the way... I was even lucky enough to win a sponsor giveaway from the Fat Quarter Shop from this swap group!! Thanks Cynthia--my prize was so gorgeous and I am looking forward to putting it to us soon!

These are a couple of the blocks I made for the swap (I forgot to take a pic of my first one) and I was pretty happy with how they turned out--

I have also had a lot of fun over in my bee, you can see all our lovely blocks in our bee album. So far I have made all manner of blocks for some lovely gals from the other the other side of the world. It is so much fun trying out new techniques and seeing what everyone makes, how they interpret the design and what hidden treasures our scrap stash yields along the way. If you have EVER thought of getting into a bee or a swap then I would say, do it, it is lots of fun--if you're not sure you can commit to the longer bees then try out a block swap group!

So, want to see some of my bee blocks?

Not too shabby right? I had so much fun making May's block (the wonky stars) that I even started making some for me and am part way through doing about 16 blocks. YAY!

So that is a little catch up for me, I have a couple of quilts almost done and perhaps next time you hear from me they will be done--fingers crossed as one is already late for a friend's birthday and the other was due to be ready when my little man made it to his cot (and he has been there about 4 months now!)--ah well, that's life--


Friday, August 17, 2012

Baking with the kiddies

I don't know about you, but I love making things with the kiddies!  Especially things we can eat :)

I work Monday to Wednesday each week, and so on Thursday mornings, since the girls have me up at the crack of dawn, I always try to make something with them before their morning sleep...

We have a fantastic invention called a 'Learning Tower' (link to actual design page) which the kids use so that they can reach the kitchen bench to help out or just to see what is going on so they don't feel left out.  Ours isn't as flash as this one, as we found a great tutorial and learning tower plan and made our own out of some left over ply we had lying around...  (ours looks more like the one on the left)...

Our 'learning tower' makes it so much easier for the girls to help in the kitchen, whilst not trying to stand on the same chair and push each other off...  Disaster waiting to happen!

Actual Learning Tower from their site
DIY version

Anywho, I digress...

Making things.  We love to make cakes, muffins, cakes, and more muffins, and sometimes the occasional biscuit too.  

My grandmother made these SNICKERDOODLE biscuits for my kids last year sometime and they (and I) LOVED them!!!  She hand wrote out the recipe for me, which was very lovely..
So, last week, we decided to make these biscuits. 

Here's the recipe:

Biscuit Dough
125g butter
1/2 cup sugar (caster or normal)
1 egg
1 1/2 cup Self Raising Flour
Cinnamon Goodness Coating
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 
Jam - any type (at least 2 tbsp - we use raspberry - yum!!)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and mix until well combined.  Fold in flour and mix with spoon until a smooth dough forms.
Mix together the extra sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Roll teaspoons of the dough mix into balls and roll through the spice mixture.  Place on trays lined with baking paper, making sure you allow room for spreading.
With your thumb make an indent in the top of each biscuit (don't go right through though!!).  Fill the indent with a little jam.

Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until golden.
Leave on trays for at least 5 minutes before eating (otherwise the jam might burn your mouth!!)

We creamed the butter and sugar, and then Matilda measured out the flour (note the concentration tongue!)

Then Matilda sieved the flour...  (lots went on the bench, but that's OK, as how else do kids learn yeah??)

The girls helped by rolling the dough into little balls and then dipping them into the cinnamon sugar coating before placing them on the tray :)  They really do love helping.

Matilda (age 3 1/2) decided that she would like to count the biscuits as they went onto the tray.
1-2-3-4-5, here's another one, 1-2-3-4-5-6, here's another one, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, and so it went on until I think she'd had enough at 14!!!

Annika (22 months) loved dipping the dough balls into the cinnamon sugar, and proceeding to tip most of it out as she dragged the balls out of the little container of yumminess.  She likes to squash the biscuits too before putting them on the tray, just to annoy her sister ('Mummy, they're not circles anymore, Annika wrecked them')!

After they're all on the tray, we have great delight in squishing our thumb into each biscuit to make a little indent for the jam to go into - this really does make for the best biscuits!!!

And below, the finished product :)

That same day, I decided to make some scrumptious looking carrot muffins with cram cheese icing - what could be better!!??

These ones have almonds in them, and were meant to also have ginger, which I would have loved, but the kids would have hated, so I substituted blitzed up raisins instead :)

I got them out of the oven.  They looked superb. 

I ate one before the icing went on while it was still warm, because I can't help myself.  I thought to myself, there's something missing here...  I read over the ingredients list...  Can you guess what I'd left out???  One whole cup of sugar!  Yes, that's right, 250g of lovely, scrumptious, delightful sugar!!! 

You know what else?  They weren't actually too bad!  I will probably put some sugar in them next time, but definitely not the whole cup!  I think the raisins made them sweeter than they would otherwise have been...

So that was my baking Thursday - a bit hit and miss this week, but we all had fun doing it!!!

Take care, enjoy life and your families!