Friday, September 28, 2012

Fruits of the Forest No-Churn Icecream



There are various versions of vanilla no-churn ice cream out there on the internet, and so far, I've liked Martha Stewart's version the best, but to be honest, we've been getting a bit bored of vanilla, so I decided to try making a Fruits of the Forest version with some homemade berry sauce. It is really yummy, but I can't wait until summer comes and strawberries are back in season because while this one was great, I think strawberry will be even better!

If you don't have berry sauce on hand, it is easy to whip some up - just heat 1 1/2 cups of frozen mixed berries with a few tablespoons of sugar and a dash of water for a few minutes until berries are soft. Cool before using.

Fruits of the Forest No-Churn Icecream

1 1/2 cups berry sauce
1 can (390g) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon plum brandy (optional)
1 carton (600ml) cream

  • Stir berry sauce, condensed milk and brandy together in a large bowl until well mixed.
  • In another bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold cream into berry mixture.
  • Pour into freezer safe container and press a piece of baking paper onto surface.
  • Freezer overnight until firm.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Rhubarb Syrup and Soda


I love the sweet-tart taste of rhubarb, and I wanted to make the most of it during the cooler months when the stalks are beautiful and deep red. This rhubarb syrup is great with so many things, (over icecream, with pancakes) but my favorite way is making into a refreshing soda.

Rhubarb Syrup

1 kg rhubarb, cut into small chunks
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

  • Combine everything in a large pan, and simmer over medium-low heat until rhubarb is soft.
  • Strain liquid into a sterilised bottle and store in fridge. 
To make soda, mix 1 part syrup with 3 parts sparkling water.
The cooked rhubarb is great on oatmeal, or mixed with cooked apples and turned into a crumble.



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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

pleated poppy

Friday: Another beautiful spring day with glorious sun, and temps just warm enough to wear short sleeves. I have been sooo sick, and spent the last couple of days in bed (hence no pics), relying on my parents to get the kids to and from school, but today I made myself get up and at least get them to school, before I retreated back to bed.

Purple twinset: Coldwater Creek
Perfect bootleg jeans: Gap
Gold bracelet: Dyberg/Kern
Navy loafers: Lands End


Saturday: Another great day, and even warmer than yesterday, and finally I am feeling better. I don't usually take antibiotics, but this time, I think I really needed them, and it's taken two courses, as well as doses of my elderberry syrup every few hours to knock it on its head. Since I was feeling better, I decided to roll out a couple of new purchases, a bright yellow tank from Talbots, and some gorgeous retro-style blue and yellow wedges from Seychelles.

Yellow tank: Talbots
Wide leg khakis: Gap
Blue handbag: Kate Spade
Yellow and blue wedges: Seychelles
Sunglasses: Roberto Cavalli



Sunday: A full-on summer day today, but honestly, I still wasn't feeling great. I didn't feel like I could do too much with  the kids, so we took them to see Madagascar 3 at the movies, and it was the perfect choice - the movie was great, and I could spend 2 hours sitting down!

Blue beaded tank: Old Navy
Denim crops: NYDJ
Navy leather bag: Kate Spade 
Floral print heels: Seychelles

Monday: Finally, I think I am better - still a bit tired, but able to function normally, which was good, since today I was jam packed with appointments all day.
Fuchsia silk sleeveless blouse: Old Navy
Black ponte pants: Lands End
Gold medallion necklace: Linneys
Gold bamboo hoop earrings: Tahari
Leopard print heels: Lands End


Tuesday: I was feeling a bit boho today; for some reason the cool and rainy weather today made me feel that way. I love this combination of teal and navy, and it's hard to see in the pic, but the earrings are a very pale green amethyst, and seemed to go perfectly.
Teal print chiffon blouse: Old Navy
Skinny boot jeans: Gap
Green amethyst drop earrings: ecali
Navy and green bangles: Myer
Navy loafers: Lands End

See you all next week!!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

pleated poppy
Wednesday: The weather has been glorious lately - lovely and sunny, but nice and cool so that I can still put my winter wardrobe to good use! We went to see a matinee performance of Annie today - it was so much fun, and brought back some great memories, since Annie was one of the musicals I was in at school.

Oatmeal merino sweater: Sportscraft
Wide leg trouser jeans: Ann Taylor
Pearl necklace: J Crew
Red heeled loafers: Tods

 Thursday: Is it terribly lazy to only change your sweater the next day? I was tired and I was running late, so I literally grabbed what ever was sitting on my chair! At least I still look put together, right?

Black merino twin set: Country Road
Wide leg trouser jeans: Ann Taylor
Pearl necklace: J Crew
Red heeled loafers: Tods
Sunglasses: Roberto Cavalli

Sunday: What a change in the weather! After cold, cold days, with a few rainy days thrown in for good measure, suddenly, we had a positively summer day - I love winter, but the change was glorious and inspired me to wear one of my favorite summer colour combos, tan and white.

White ribbed tank: Eddie Bauer
Perfect boot cut jeans: Gap
Striped scarf: Missoni
Tan leather bag: Kate Spade 
Tan ballet flats: Lands End
Horn cuff: Mai Tai Collection

Monday: After the sun and warmth yesterday, it was back to rain and wind, but I did bring out my Cath Kidston bag and a fuchsia sweater to add a little spring colour!
Fuchsia merino sweater: Sportscraft
Perfect boot cut jeans: Gap
Blue and pink beaded necklace: Etsy
Navy sued and denim ballet flats: Lands End
Floral canvas bag: Cath Kidston


See you all next week!!

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Product Review: WEN by Chaz Dean



While the kids were sick a little while ago, I happened to be awake when one of those 4 hour long infomercials came on for WEN by Chaz Dean shampoo. I honestly can only blame my sleep deprived state for being sucked in, and actually hopping online and ordering some! Does anyone else do that? Buy crazy, ridiculous, as-seen-on-TV products because they are sleep deprived? Unlike, lets say, an ab-roller, or a thigh-master, or even those Zumba sets, at least shampoo will actually get used more than once, and in fact, I actually finished the two bottles I received so I could give you a true review of how this shampoo goes over the long term.

My first impression was "wow, this smells really nice!" The almond mint fragrance is refreshing and invigorating, without being overpowering. My second impression was "gee, you need to use an awful lot of this". For my length hair (just above my shoulders) it is recommended that you use 10-12 pumps of the cleansing conditioner, which is an awful lot.  Using the recommended amount, my two bottles (supposedly 3 month's supply) lasted a little under 1 month, which made this shampoo very, very expensive (2 bottles costs $89.90). When I queried why I was using so much, the customer service rep said they recommend washing your hair every 3-4 days. Unfortunately, I need to wash my hair daily, but I'll talk more about that later.

What I did love after trying WEN for the first time was what it did to my hair. My hair looked (and felt) amazing. I have what I call "kinky" hair. It is not curly or straight or even wavy; instead it has straight bits, and curly bits, and frizzy bits combined. And my hair is very, very fine, but there is a lot of it. After using WEN and letting it air dry (which is my usual "styling" method), I had hair that even my husband commented on, and I have often believed that even if I shaved my hair off, my husband probably wouldn't notice!  My hair was bouncy and full, and the ends curled in little spiral curls, and it was so soft. Until late afternoon.

By about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, my hair looked like it needed a good wash - the roots had become super oily and greasy, and looked terrible. And it was like that everyday I used the WEN - fabulous hair in the morning, greaseball by late afternoon. I tried every permutation under the sun to try and make it work - less product, more product, less rinsing, more rinsing - the outcome was the same. I was so disappointed. Now, I have oily hair naturally, and with regular shampoo I do need to wash my hair everyday, but at least I can make it to 24 hours between washed. Which brings me to my previous point of how much you needed to use, and the WEN recommended washing only every 3-4 days.  With the oily feel on my hair, there is no way I could last 3-4 days between washing - I was barely making it through with daily washing! The almond-mint is supposedly for all hair types - in fact, this point is emphasised over and over in the infomercial, but I just don't think it is suitable for fine/oily hair.

Now bear in mind, that this is for my ridiculously fussy hair. For someone with more "normal" hair, and especially someone who already goes 3-4 days between washing, then WEN is probably going to be a game-changer for them (if they can justify the price), as the results early in the day were honestly as good as, if not even better, than the results WEN promised. Luckily, WEN has a sixty day money back guarantee, so I got a full refund after sending back the associated styling products (which I never used), and I plan to try their Cucumber Aloe range (recommended for fine hair), although I will need to have it shipped from the US, as it is not available here in Australia. I'll keep you updated on how that one works out.

Pros:
  • Made my hair look and feel amazing
  • Did not need to style my hair - wash and air dry was all that was needed
  • Smelled great
  • All natural - no nasties
Cons:
  • For daily washing - very, very expensive
  • For washing every few days - expensive
  • You use A LOT
  • Can only buy through their website
  • Not for fine/oily hair

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Orzo

Yet another easy dish to share with you today, this Mediterranean Chicken Orzo is absolutely bursting with veggies, for a quick and healthy dinner that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes! A tip when cooking orzo - use a lot more water than you think you need. I use 7L stock pot 2/3rds full (about 2 qts).

 

Mediterranean Chicken Orzo

2 cups (1 500g packet) orzo

3 heaped tablespoons sundried tomato pesto (1/2 jar)

1 tablespoon Tuscan seasoning

400g chicken breast stir fry strips

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1cm chunks

1 large punnet mushrooms (500g), sliced

1 punnet grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

4 cups rocket (arugula)

 

  1. Cook orzo in a large pan according to packet instructions, approx 11 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain, return to pan and stir through pesto.
  2. Heat some oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add chicken to pan and sprinkle over Tuscan seasoning. Cook for 5-6 minutes, tossing frequently, until golden brown. Add to cooked orzo.
  3. Add a little more oil to pan, then add asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes. Toss for 4-5 minutes until mushrooms are softened and asparagus is tender crisp.
  4. Add vegetables to chicken and orzo, then stir through rocket to serve.
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