Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mushroom & Cheese Egg Puffs




Since the kids left school, {Dimitri - 2010 and Cheri - 2011} they are forever missing in action. Both have drivers licences, so they come and go as they like.

I do not have a problem with that, as long as I know where they are and that they're alright, it is fine by me.

The thing I do have a problem with, is to suddenly cook only for two. Now, this is every weekend and during the week I might have to cook for all five of us {Jacobus included}, sometimes there are four of us and other times it is only Roy and myself.

I thought the best solution for my serious problem is to cook a full meal, and freeze half when it is just the two of us .. but then again, I am not fond of defrosted food and Roy dislikes it even more. We also can not, both money-wise and waist-wise, afford to get take-aways every time!

Before the kids, it was just the two of us, and I never seemed to have a problem then to cook a full meal - you know, meat, rice, veggies and a dessert... So, WHAT IS DIFFERENT NOW? Old age or plain laziness?

This was our Sunday lunch today - more a breakfast, but we are known to eat breakfast for dinner, no big train smash .. food is food, this was quick and filling - with bacon and toast on the side. {And of course dessert as well}

This recipe makes 12 large Puffs {I call them puffs because they are about double the size as on the photo when just taken out of the oven, but almost similar to a souffle, it looses the puffiness quickly}. We had some and I put the rest in the refrigerator to snack on - very nice cold as well.

Mushroom & Cheese Egg Puffs

Recipe adapted by me from the cookbook : LEKKER VINNIGE ETES

1 Large Onion, chopped finely
Oil
250g Button Mushrooms, sliced
2 TB Chives, chopped finely
1 cup Cheddar, grated
4 Extra-Large Eggs
4 TB Flour
1 t Mustard Powder
2 cups Milk
Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

1.) Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F) - Spray a 12 hole muffin pan with Spray 'N Cook.
2.) Saute the Onion in a little Oil until soft - Add the Mushrooms and chopped Chives - Cook until the Mushrooms are soft and all liquid has evaporated.
3.) Spoon the Mushroom mixture into the bottom of the muffin pan holes - Sprinkle the Cheddar Cheese over this mixture. (The holes should look about half-full by now)
4.) Beat the Eggs, Flour and Mustard Powder together - add the Milk and beat until smooth - Season with Salt and Black Pepper to taste.
5.) Pour the Egg mixture over the Cheddar Cheese layer - fill each muffin hole to the top (Yes, right to the top..) - Bake 30 minutes.
6.) When it has puffed up nicely, it is done!

Remove from the oven, but leave to stand in the muffin pan for 5 minutes, then using a table spoon, gently loosen the edges and it will lift out easily.

Serve and enjoy!    - whatever time of the day  ;-)

Ciao,

 
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Quick Oven Meatballs

Quick Oven Meatballs ~ Low-fat comforting meatballs, cooked in the oven #Meatballs #QuickRecipe #ComfortFood

Meatballs has to be one of the most comforting types of food and a saucy recipe like this one I am sharing today, it  is very versatile - Serve them over rice, mashed potatoes, polenta, in a sub or make a delicious sandwich!

I made this when we were still in the middle of Winter, it is also one of Cheri's favorite dishes. {And an added bonus - it is low fat}

This is another recipe from the cookbook Spyskaarte vir Elke Seisoen by Annette Human. If you have been following my recipes for a while now, you should know that this lady is one of my favorite cookbook writers - I have several of her books and am yet to find a recipe I do not like. {Not saying I do not do some tweaking every now and then..}

The original recipe mentions that you do not have to pre-heat the oven, but I do anyway - at least 10 minutes before the dish is due to go into the oven.

Quick Oven Meatballs


2 thick slices of Whitebread, crusts removed
1 Large Onion, chopped finely
1 Medium Tomato, peeled and chopped finely
2 TB Corn Flour
2 TB Vinegar
2 Extra-Large Eggs
1 kg Extra-Lean Beef Mince (Ground Beef)
1 TB Ground Coriander
1/2 TB Salt
1/2 t Black Pepper
1/2 t Nutmeg
Pinch of ground Cloves
1 TB Butter, melted 
1/4 cup Boiling Water

1 cup Beef stock (low in salt)
1 - 2 TB Tomato Sauce
1 TB Gravy Thickener (I like to use BISTO)

1.) Soak the Whitebread in cold water - press out all water (it will almost look and feel like dough}
2.) Place the Whitebread, Onion and Tomato in a large mixing bowl.
3.) Mix the Corn Flour with the Vinegar - add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl - beat the Eggs and add this as well - add the Beef Mince, Ground Coriander, Salt, Black Pepper, Nutmeg and Cloves to the mixing bowl.
4.) Stir or knead the mixture until all is combined well (Hands work best)
5.) At this point I pre-heat my oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F) - spray an oven dish with a lid with Spray 'N Cook.
6.) Pour the melted Butter and Boiling water into the oven dish and stir to mix - Form golf ball sized meatballs and place in the oven dish - I usually end up with 2 - 3 layers - cover with the lid and bake for one hour until done.
7.) Mix the Beef stock, Tomato sauce and Gravy Thickener - add to the oven dish and gently stir through - replace lid and bake another 10 - 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

These are meatballs !  Serve the way you prefer  ;-)

I like them with rice and two veggies on the side, but that's me.  Let me know what is your favorite way of serving meatballs and maybe I can get out of the rice & meatball ritual?

Chocolate & Pear Dessert



I am still guarding my precious Graham Crackers, which I received from my bloggy friend, Michelle at Michelles Tasty Creations , with my life!

This morning I actually had to search for them as I hid it from the kids .. {I know, bad mother..}, but I do not just want them to stuff it down.

Today, I decided to use them in a recipe which requires a thirsty kind of biscuit. Normally, I would use Tennis biscuits, but I really want to experiment with the boxes Michelle had send me - next time I use Tennis, I will be able to tell you if Graham Crackers can be substituted. {I have to let you in on a secret - 95% of my readers are from the US and Canada,... and only around 2% from South-Africa - and Tennis biscuits does not seem to be that famous outside of our own country}

Therefore, I very much appreciate Michelle sending me the Graham Crackers as I know how frustrating it could be when one finds a recipe, only to realize that one {sometimes even more than one} ingredient is not available in your country.  I do try to keep to "international" friendly ingredients, but it is not always possible, as I might think this or that is available everywhere, and then find out readers have no idea what I meant in the recipe.

Here is today's dessert: {I made 5 individual servings from this recipe .. if you use slightly smaller serving bowls, glasses or make one big dessert, it should be enough for 6 - 8 servings}

Chocolate & Pear Dessert


150g Graham Crackers {or Tennis biscuits), broken into small pieces (keep a few for decorating)
1 can (820g) Pears, halves or sliced
1 packet (90g) Chocolate Instant Pudding 
450ml Fresh Full Cream Milk


1.) Remove the Pears from the can but retain the syrup - {keep a few for decorating} - chop into smaller pieces.
2.) Use two tablespoons of syrup per individual serving and place on the bottom of the dish.
3.) Place half of the broken pieces of Graham Crackers on top of the syrup.
4.) Beat the Chocolate Pudding and Milk for one minute on medium speed - top the Graham Crackers with half of the Pudding.
5.) Divide the chopped Pears between your dishes and place over the layer of Chocolate Pudding.
6.) Add another layer of the remaining Graham Crackers over the Chocolate Pudding.
7.) Spoon more syrup (also about 2 tablespoons per single serving) over the crackers - try to cover them all.
8.) Use the remaining half of Chocolate Pudding to cover the crackers.
9.) Decorate with a slice of Pear and a piece of Graham Cracker.

Chill for 30 minutes and serve - all done in less than 45 minutes and it tastes amazing.

Chocolate and Pears team up well in a dessert, that's for sure!

As always, if you have any questions about ingredients or anything really, leave a comment and I will reply by e-mail.

Bye-bye now,



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Saturday, September 29, 2012

DIY Gel Candles



Gel Candles can be so different and kids seem to love them, especially if you make some with something inside - I am thinking, perhaps little fish .. would seem like they are swimming in water, or a small clear plastic ball or two to look like bubbles...

In the above photo I have made my candle exactly the same way as HERE but using clear gel and not wax. I have found that working with gel is actually much quicker (to melt) and easier to work with than wax.  

Here, I have used a plastic shot glass (the hard-plastic kind) as a container. I did not color the gel as the container is a see-through blue color already.

I started all the prepping as in the tutorial (shown in the link above), then placed some small pebbles - available from most craft stores - at the bottom - poured in my melted gel and waited for it to set.

After that, just a piece of decoration around the top!

If you do decide to make gel candles with something, as mentioned above, in the middle - remember to pour in a little gel, wait for it to set, place the fish or whatever you will be using, on top and pour in some more gel. I have made some like this, layering the small fishes etc and it looked great. Unfortunately, I gave those away long before I thought I will blog about it! As long as it is not something too heavy it will be okay, also, place whatever you will be using more to the side of the container than close to the wick.

Gel candles can also be scented and colored - same as with wax.

Our next home project is our main bedroom {so far we ripped out the carpet - we will replace it with laminated wood as Roy have already installed this in our lounge, passage and dining room}. The bedroom is beach themed (well, halfway..) - even though we live hundreds of kilometers from the ocean - and I will be making nice big, beachy type gel and wax candles for decorating the top of our entertainment center. But, we might only finish the bedroom, entirely, in a few months as we must first sort out some safety issues in and around the house.

Here is a photo which gives a closer look at today's project:



{a tip if you will be using these purely for decoration - cut a piece of plastic-wrap the same size as the top of the candle, with a little hole for the wick, and place it on top - that way, no dust will be forming on the gel, but on the plastic and you can dust it lightly when needed}

Ciao for now,


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Potpourri Dipped Candles


This is the following candle making project I would like to share with you - but some more photos first ;-)


and more....


Whether a candle is in a container or standing around {some other lovely pieces} minding it's own business - I love them ... I like candles to look at but especially to make them. The dipped technique has to be one of the easiest to spruce-up an ordinary candle.

Now, to start with, you can either use store-bought candles as in the following photo:


Or, make your own using the method I used HERE .

For this project I made my own little candles using a normal tablet holder - these holders are quite strong and best of all, the inside is very smooth.. makes it easy to remove the candle once it has set. {Over time, I collected quite a lot of these containers and made about ten at a time - do all the prepping first and then just fill them ...}



So, once you have your candle, gather up some potpourri (gives a lovely smell once the candle is lighted!) or use some crushed leaves (you can always scent your own candles, which is also mentioned in the tutorial at the above link) - use a little bit of glue and just roll the candle in the potpourri. Now, you can leave it as is or give the candle a smooth look by dipping it (see next photo) in melted hot wax - just quickly in and out and repeat.


I use a pair of tongs or even pliers to hold it by the wick - and my hands far away from the melted wax! It really is just dip in - dip out and repeat... easy.

Now, how will you use yours, in a glass container, maybe some ribbon tied to the bottom or in any one of hundreds of different types of votive holders - or standing upright in some beach sand?

I have more dipped candles which I will share with you ... in due time {whink}

Other news which my regular readers might enjoy - Roy and I, apparently, have become grandparents... no, no .. not the human kind - A BEAUTIFUL 6 week old little Basset girl called NAHLA ! My daughter, Cheri and her boyfriend, Vince have been going steady for more than 2 years now, and they thought it a great plan to take their relationship up by a notch {Oh, thank goodness, it is only a little doggie though...}


I could not get a very good photo of Nahla {think she is a little camera-shy}, but you can see how cute she is ! And Mommy and Daddy is already crazy over her. She will be living with Vince, and Cheri will visit (as she does every weekend anyway) every weekend, and if we are lucky we will see this beauty now and then as well.

I have another post to write - candles again!... but slightly different.

Later then,


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chocolate Mallow Cream Pie



Temperatures are really picking up fast now... and we are only in the first month of Spring!  

I am not in the mood for cooking or baking - I am not even in the mood for eating {not saying I am not hungry, though}.. very confusing... After reading only two or three blog posts in the morning and I am hungry - imagine after reading 100+ a day.

But, inevitably, I am hungry, but it is too hot to think about cooking, even my blog suffered this week .. I think, because of the heat, I am having a blogger's block {does one get that??}.

Anyhow, I haven't given the family a sweet treat since, uhm, last week some time..? I can't remember when last I actually made dinner - I know I ordered take-aways a few times once or twice. Ok, Roy made dinner a couple of times, so nobody went to bed hungry...Bless his soul for not letting his family go hungry!

So, today I made this quick and easy sweet treat, which turned out much better than I thought it would, but let me warn you - it is rich and sweet!

Chocolate Mallow Cream Pie

150g Tennis biscuits, crumbled {or what you normally use to make a crust}
1/2 cup Butter or Margarine, melted
150g Marshmallows
1 cup Milk
180g Plain Milk Chocolate, broken into blocks {keep 3 or 4 blocks for decorating}
1 cup Fresh Cream, whipped

1.) Mix the Tennis biscuit crumbs and the melted Butter or Margarine - press into a 20 x 20cm pie dish {I like a thick crust at the bottom, but you can spread it up the sides of the dish as well}
2.) Place the Marshmallows and Milk in a large pot and heat over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the Marshmallows are melted {3 - 5 minutes} -  add the Plain Milk Chocolate pieces and stir until melted and all is combined. Remove from heat and let cool 3 - 5 minutes.
3.) Fold the whipped Fresh Cream into the Chocolate mixture and pour into the crust.
4.) Grate the remaining blocks of Chocolate and sprinkle over the filling - chill at least 4 hours until set.

Enjoy!

Ciao for now,


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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kitchen Cabinet Sliders {DIY}


Space saver GALORE ! About 2 weeks ago an idea hit me - after we finished the Grocery Slider next to the refrigerator, something kept nagging on me ... the sliding mechanism. I knew, with a little brain working over time, I will figure out a way to get more use out of my cabinets. {Especially the one we finished today}

Before we built and installed the Grocery Slider, which you can read about HERE , my small appliances were stacked on a galvanized shelving unit which wasn't a good idea as we live in quite a dusty area. After I cleared out some cabinets (into the Grocery Slider), I had more than enough space to pack my small appliances inside cabinets. {The galvanized shelving unit has since moved to the Laundry, which you can read about HERE . 


This was before we installed the sliders - see all the space that was not being used, the question marks at the back of the cabinet... half the time I can not reach that far in and the other half I haven't a clue what is right at the back - the arrow points to the upper area inside the cabinet - so much space not being used!



As, I suspect, most of you, I have tall canisters, boxes etc and then smaller bottles, packets and containers in which I keep pasta, rice and a multitude of other stuff.


Left picture:We built our little sliders using the above as follows:
- Sliding mechanisms
- Double Sided White Melamine (left-over from previous projects)
- Iron-on side tape for the open wood
- Screws suitable for wood
- Plastic Screw caps (not on pic)
- 1 x Handle per slider (not on pic)

***As all cabinets differ in sizes I am not giving any sizes, but from the pictures you should get an idea of what and how we did this***

Right picture: The arrow indicates where the iron-on strips needs to go - all open pieces of wood 





On the left is the part of the sliding mechanism which goes onto the bottom of the slider / On the right the mechanism is already fastened to the bottom of the cabinet - when ready the top piece slides into the bottom piece - there is a little stopper which are supplied with this mechanism.


Another picture of where side strip is needed (indicated by the X) to cover up the open wood / Roy uses a standard clothes iron to seal it onto the wood {It will be VERY dirty afterwards, but wipes clean easily using a little dish washing liquid} 


All the sliding mechanisms into place - we used one for each of the small side sliders and two for the larger sliders in the middle. (The small slider - on the far left - has already been installed) The pieces that are pulled out is just to show you how they actually works -- these are the sides that are fastened to the bottom of the sliders.


Installed, handles added and all screws neatly tucked away under plastic screw caps.



The top two pictures shows the smaller sliders now packed and can slide right to the back of the cabinet - and I can see everything at a glance
Same thing with the bottom two sliders - only bigger and packed the way I like it!



The above picture shows what I packed (to see easily) in the bottom part of the larger sliders - Note the little insert in the picture on the right.. I used to keep all my plastic wraps, wax and baking paper, as well as all my different types of lunch and freezer paper in a plastic bin - Well, now I can find them much quicker and the plastic bin is not being moved from counter to counter, as I really had nowhere else to put it. 




An OPEN and a CLOSED picture - I like that, it looks so neat {Actually that is the first thing my son, Dimitri said earlier, when he saw it fully installed..}


A last picture of the BEFORE and the AFTER !!

Well, what do you think, friends.. ??? Something you might do, never will, good idea, bad idea...??

I really would like to know what you think of this - leave a comment, won't you!

Ciao for now!



A Bowl Full of Lemons


This post has been entered into THE DOG DAYS (of winter) ARE OVER @ http://www.craftyscrappyhappy.net




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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Heat-Resistant Pot Stands {DIY}


Besides, making candles, one of  my other favorite craft hobbies is decoupage. I have several completed projects and even more which I have bought supplies for already, but just can not seem to find time to get to them.

My counter tops are all Formica, which is definitely not heat-resistant. Now, I have bought some Pot Stands over the years, but only when I see one that I really like {which is not often, as most Pot Stands tend to look more or less the same.

When I am cooking, there are always a pot that needs to be removed from the stove to the counter, I usually place a pot holder {the fabric kind) or even a dish towel under it. I also like to take food in hot serving dishes to the dining table. These Pot Stands are perfect - and you can make them to suit your theme or color co-ordination etc.

These also make lovely gifts!

Any picture {scrap-booking has loads of lovely different ones} will do, however, the thinner the paper, the less coats of decoupage (mod-podge) will be needed.

Here is a list of supplies I used:


1.) Craft cutting mat
2.) Craft knife
3.) Sheet of paper with pretty pictures - I used a sheet with our BIG 5 {different sheets are available from craft stores with a multitude of themes}
4.) A plain pot stand - also available from craft stores {very cheap}
5.) Decoupage, mod-podge, varnish    *******see note below*******
6.) Craft paint - I used a creamy color as base and a metallic copper for the "rim"

******* The first few layers can be done using standard decoupage or mod-podge but the last 3 or 4 layers must be done with a HARD VARNISH which is HEAT-RESISTANT. This is slightly more expensive than the standard, but not much.

- Start off by painting the plain pot stand in a color you prefer - the background - I used a creamy color
- I painted a little rim with Metallic Copper as well - craft paints usually dries very quickly .. therefore I always do the painting before I start cutting my pictures


- It is always better to cut pictures which will be used with a craft knife, makes a cleaner and softer cut than scissors (best still - if you can "tear" a picture - but that technique will have to wait for another day).
- Once the pictures are done, paint a layer of decoupage/mod-podge over the base as well as a layer at the bottom of your picture - place them where you prefer on the pot stand {a note here: if you stick one picture over another - partially as I did - you will need more layers of decoupage}
- Use a rubber roller or your fingers to rub out any air bubbles on the picture - starting from the center and rubbing outwards.
-. Now, you can start the decoupage layers - my paper was quite thick - I used about 8 layers, waiting 20 minutes in between layering {once you can not feel the outline of the pictures anymore and it feels smooth - you can stop layering}
- Because this needs to be Heat-resistant, you then need to add another 3 or 4 layers of Hard Varnish which is heat-resistant - not all hard varnishes are heat-resistant - please read the label

The project is now done, but, unfortunately the heat-resistant varnish needs at least 7 days to "cure" before using.



Which one do you prefer? .. the decoupaged on the left or the store-bought on the right?


I am thinking of making a few for Christmas, if you have the same idea {or for any other day/gathering} remember to make it at least 7 days before needed.

Roy and I are in the middle of a great space saving/organizing project which I will share with you as soon as it is done. {Just hope my idea will actually pan out the way I saw it in my mind's eye - won't even be able to put the blame on a lame Pinterest pin if it doesn't work out...}

Later,



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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Coconut Ice {plain & mint}

Coconut Ice {Plain and Mint} ~ Make this popular candy at home without all the preservatives ~ Plain or Mint ! #CoconutIce #Candy

I made Coconut Ice, once, a long time ago. Today, I decided to make it again, it is really quick to make and not full of the preservatives found in some store-bought types.

The other thing is.... well, I have not made a Coconut anything in a while, and my craving has started up again.

I think that I mentioned before, I am a total Coconut freak - and I am sure my blog has gone through some withdrawals as well!

This is so easy - mix, color, shape ... no cooking, no baking. Go ahead, treat the kiddies {and yourself} to some today.

I made some plain and mint flavored today:

Coconut Ice {plain & mint}

4 cups Icing Sugar
1/2 t Cream of Tarter
4 cups Coconut
1 can (397g) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 t Vanilla Essence
1/2 t Peppermint Essence
Green Food Coloring (do not use too much as the Peppermint is green as well)
Pink Food Coloring

1.) Sift together the Icing Sugar and Cream of Tarter - add the Coconut and mix well.
2.) Add the Condensed Milk - the mixture will be very stiff (I used a plastic sandwich bag over each hand, and mixed it all up with my hands - almost as if you are kneading)
3.) Transfer 1/4 of the mixture to a separate bowl - add the Peppermint Essence and a drop or two of Green Food coloring to this and use the knead method again to mix it very well - keep aside.
4.) Add the Vanilla Essence to the remaining 3/4 of the Coconut mixture - use same method to mix.
5.) Transfer the same amount as in step 3 to a separate bowl and add a few drops of Pink Food Coloring to this - mix again until the color is right.
6.) Spray two 20 x 20cm dishes (I used empty Ice-cream containers) with Spray 'N Cook. Use half of the mixture and press into the bottom of your dish - do the same with the other half into the second dish.
7.) Press the Peppermint flavored Coconut on top of one of the dishes containing a white layer - even it out.
8.) Repeat step 7 with the Pink colored Coconut in the second dish.
9.) Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and cut into cubes or whatever shape you like {see my two little heart shaped ones.?}

Coconut Ice {Plain and Mint} ~ Make this popular candy at home without all the preservatives ~ Plain or Mint ! #CoconutIce #Candy
In very hot weather, leave it in a sealed container in the refrigerator, otherwise outside the fridge will be okay, not sure how long they would last out in the open for all to see though ..{whink}

Hearty Lamb Stew



We love stews, especially Lamb stews.  The only drawback is that Lamb can get a bit pricey these days.

Once again, this is a recipe from my cookbook GESINSKOS by the much talented Christelle Erasmus. I have adapted the quantities and the type of wine a bit over time. This is also one of my cookbooks that is falling apart, not with age - with all the use!

This Lamb stew is perfect for winter, but I make it throughout the year.  Besides serving this dish over rice, no side is needed as it is packed with vegetables, but it is up to you - a crunchy salad might be welcome.

I use my pressure cooker for this, {I would be totally lost without my pressure cooker and rice cooker...}, but you can make it in an ordinary pot, over medium heat, but I would double the time then.

Hearty Lamb Stew

2 Large Onions, sliced into rings
100g Margarine
1.5kg Lamb knuckles (or neck steaks, shin - even thick chops)
1/2 cup Sweet Rose Wine
1 TB Brandy
1 TB Aromat or Fondor seasoning
1/2 t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 t Ground Coriander

500g Baby Potatoes, peeled
400g Carrots, peeled and sliced into rings
250g Mushrooms, halved (or quartered if very big)
250g Baby Marrows

1.) Saute the Onion rings in the Margarine until soft, using a large pressure cooker, - add the Lamb and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
2.) Add the Sweet Rose Wine, Brandy, Aromat or Fondor, Black Pepper and Ground Coriander to the meat - stir through and pressure cook for 30 minutes (if using a normal pot - simmer, covered, for 1 hour over medium heat).
3.)  Remove from heat - add all the vegetables and pressure cook for another 30 minutes (or another 1 hour if using a standard pot)

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Hope you enjoy this dish - it is definitely a favorite in our house!

Bye-bye now,


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Tropical Oreo Cheesecake



Sometimes an idea can actually turn into a delicious recipe - this one definitely did!

I bought a few containers of Cream Cheese two weeks ago {it was on special ... and I hate loosing out on specials..}. Of course, I did not know what I'll use them for, but, Cream Cheese is so versatile. 

Anyway, I have a chilled compartment in my fridge side of the refrigerator and this is where I store whatever I buy in big quantities, butter and margarine as well. So, I do not always look in there and forgot about it.

The other night when I took out a new tub of margarine, I saw all these Cream Cheese containers - well, I'll have to use them as their expiry date is in a week or two... I started with this dessert the next morning, using only what was on hand.

A while ago, Michelle, from over at Michelle's Tasty Creations , and I, sent each other some biscuits which is only available in our own countries. Now, one of the items she sent me was some of Graham Crackers, I again, on the other hand sent her some of our Tennis biscuits which I like to use in my recipies.

After doing major research a little test-run with some of them, I found that in which ever recipe I use Tennis biscuits, it can easily be replaced with Graham Crackers.

Tropical Oreo Cheesecake


1 packet (80g MOIRS) Tropical Jelly (Jello)
300ml Boiling Water
6 - 8 Graham Crackers
250g Cream Cheese, softened
250 ml Fresh Cream, whipped
1/2 can (of a 397g) Condensed Milk
16 Oreo cookies (I used the brown Oreo)
Hot Chocolate Powder, for dusting


1.) Dissolve the Jelly in the Boiling water and set aside to cool down.
2.) Once the Jelly is cooled, pour a small amount in a 20 x 30cm dish - cover the bottom - place a single layer of Graham Crackers on top of the Jelly in the dish.
3.) Beat the Cream Cheese until very creamy - add the Condensed Milk and beat until well combined.
4.) Fold in the Whipped Fresh Cream to the Cream Cheese mixture - do not over-mix.
5.) Add the remaining dissolved Jelly and stir until combined - break the Oreo cookies in pieces (keep one or two for decorating, optional) and add to the Cream Cheese mixture, stir to just mix.
6.) Pour mixture on top of the Graham Crackers and dust with Hot Chocolate Powder - refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.


The Tropical jelly definitely gave it a one of a kind taste but I am sure any flavor would do.

Later,


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Monday, September 17, 2012

Bacon & Mushroom Spaghetti




***First, I would like to thank everyone for keeping my doggie girl, Chichi, in their thoughts, and all the kind e-mails I have received - unfortunately, after the shooting at my husband and the neighbors, Friday night at our respective houses, she is worse than ever before. I know she is a dog but she is also my little baby and I feel totally helpless with regard to her condition.***

I also want to give a special thank you to an awesome bloggy friend of mine, Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes for "listening" to my drama over the past few days. Thanks, Jamie, it is nice to know one can speak to someone without being judged.

                                    ............................................................................


Just a quick, tasty and very filling recipe I would like to share with you.  

I started out with an actual recipe from a cookbook ... but I can not even say I tweaked it a bit. The spaghetti and the bacon, however is from the recipe, the rest - well, that changed as soon as I started dinner!

This is a large dish, served all five of us adults and there is still some leftover. {can be halved easily}


Bacon & Mushroom Spaghetti

500g Spaghetti
2 Large Onions, chopped
1 Large Green Bell Pepper, chopped
Oil
250g Mushrooms, sliced 
500g Bacon, chopped
1 cup Fresh Cream
300 - 400g Cheddar Cheese, grated
Dried or Fresh Parsley, optional, to garnish

1.) Cook the Spaghetti as per the instructions on the packet, using a large pot.
2.) Meanwhile, saute the Onions and Green Bell Pepper in a small amount of Oil, in a large frying pan, until soft and the Onions start to just brown.
3.) Using a slotted spoon, remove the Onion and Pepper from the pan and keep aside.
4.) Add the Mushrooms to the same pan (add a little more Oil if needed) and saute until soft and brown - remove from the pan and keep aside with the Onion and Pepper.
5.) Add the Bacon to the pan and fry until crispy (or to your liking) - Spoon the Onion, Pepper and Mushrooms back into the pan with the Bacon, add the Fresh Cream and stir to combine and heat through.
6.) Drain the Spaghetti, place back into the pot and add the Bacon mixture - stir to mix and finally stir in the grated Cheddar cheese in three batches, stirring well in between each addition.

Serve and garnish with Parsley if using.

Hope you enjoy!

Ciao for now,


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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Baked Peach & Cookies



As promised - 2 ingredient dessert {oh, the name gave away the ingredients...}

I Lived with my grandparents until the age of 11 years. We had a medium sized Peach tree in the backyard which hung slightly over the fence. The neighborhood boys (and some girls) used to help themselves on the other side of the fence ... drove my Granddad craaazzzyy, because he could never catch them in the act!

Anyway, if it hangs OVER the fence, isn't that public property ..? Aah, you know why I ask that - I'll whisper to you {I used to help myself to a tree or two as well - which was not in our yard, but, it DID hang over the fence} Sshh .. don't tell ...

Before I give away all my criminal acts, let me stop right there and tell you how to make this easy dish .. Gee, I am really one for quick and easies!

Baked Peach & Cookies


1 Large can (820g) Peach Halves, drained but keep the syrup
Choc-Kits Cookies {or any other similar kind - Choc-Kits is a chocolate cookie with chocolate in the middle - I think Oreos would be too hard, what you need here is a thirsty cookie}

1.) Spray an oven dish with Spray 'N Cook -  Place the Peach halves with the inside facing upwards (the side where the stone was)
2.) Top with a Choc-Kits, or similar, Cookie - spoon some of the syrup over the cookie/peach - keep the remaining syrup.
3.) Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F)
4.) After 10 minutes, spoon another layer of syrup over the cookies 
5.) Repeat after another 10 minutes and then place in the oven - bake 15 minutes

Remove and serve with ice-cream or whipped cream - delicious! Look at the melted chocolate from the cookies - it's calling your name.....

Almost midnight - a nice bath and my bed is waiting.

Ciao for now,


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