Friday, April 29, 2011

I Do Love A Wedding

Posted by MANDI at 10:47 PM 8 comments
I'm not particularly a royalist though I do like to look at their lovely hats and pretty frocks but I'm not particularly anti-royal either, despite my belief that Australia should become a republic at some point. However,  I do love a wedding. Especially a big, over the top, full of pomp and ceremony, royal kind of wedding. And because there was just such a wedding today I thought I'd join in the fun with Chantelle at fat mum slim and share my favourite photo from my own wedding. A decidedly un-pomp and ceremony kind of wedding that was exactly the way my decidedly low-key hubby and I wanted. In Hubby's words - "sort of like a Sunday session at the pub," with my pitch of - "but with everyone dressed a little bit nicer." And so we had ourselves a small, fuss-free, but very much full of love, kind of wedding. And we loved it. My favourite pic isn't actually of me and the Hubster, it's me and my Dad walking down the aisle. I love the light and how I look exactly like I was feeling. Literally glowing with love and joy and so very happy to be marrying my Mr Perfect. It doesn't hurt that I happen to look amazingly thin too...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Love? Or Something Else?

Posted by MANDI at 11:12 AM 1 comments
I'm not sure if Betsy is loving Spike or if she has a slightly more evil plan. You know, along the lines of "if I make it look like we're cuddling no-one will suspect a thing if he accidentally gets squashed to death. Bwahahaha."

PS - about 20 seconds after I snapped this pic they were tearing through the house, leaping on each other, pinning each other down and trying to chew each others ears. So, situation normal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Posted by MANDI at 7:23 PM 3 comments
A superficial and materialistic post this week. After nearly four-and-a-half years of faithful service my cheap-as-chips home-brand slow-cooker died. Not bad for a $40 buy that I really wasn't sure if I'd like or not. All this time later, and having been used an average of twice a week, it finally gave up the ghost and I rushed right out to buy a new one. We're coming up to winter here in Perth and there's no way I can make it through the cooler weather without a slow-cooker bubbling away in the kitchen.

So I'm now the proud owner of a new slow-cooker. It was still fairly cheap - I did a bit of on-line research yesterday and couldn't really see anything that made any one all that much better than another - and even better, I found another slow-cooker recipe book that I just couldn't live without that was only $12. Bargain! I've just sat down and marked all the recipes I want to try. At the very first going through I've got twelve meals to have a go at. That should make menu planning for the next month or so a bit easier.

What are you grateful, happy or otherwise pleased about this week?

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Date Night!

Posted by MANDI at 4:53 PM 2 comments
The kids are off for a sleepover at Nan and Pop's and, as we started the day nice and early for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, they are nicely tired and shouldn't prove to be too much trouble. Although I'm sure they'll be up and raring to go at their usual 'crack of dawn' hour (insert evil cackle here!).

In the meantime Hubby and I are heading off for a  night out with the former neighbours. We're seeing Paul Kelly and Neil Finn in concert at a relatively new outdoor venue that's not too far from here and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the weather forecasters got it right and that tonight will be rain-free. I'm loading up on coats, blankets and a not-so-fancy raincoat that may or may not have a major hardware chain emblazoned across the back. Noice!  

Here's Neil Finn doing one of my fave Crowded House songs:

And here's something from Paul Kelly:

I'm looking forward to catching up with friends, sitting back and enjoying great music and of course some time with my lovely Hubby.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easy and Delicious

Posted by MANDI at 9:02 PM 2 comments
We've had a very quiet Easter weekend and have loved every minute of it. The kids have pigged out on chocolate. We've attempted to explain yet again the meaning behind Easter but, as non-religious, heathen types we don't necessarily do a great job. We attended an old friend's wedding yesterday. And I've done a bit of baking - because I've had both the time and the inclination. Today I thought I'd make a special dinner for Easter Sunday and decided to have a go at roasting a rack of lamb. They were on special a couple of weeks ago and I grabbed one, determined to finally try one and threw it in the freezer until the perfect opportunity arrived.

Sadly my camera decided not to work so I've pinched, ahem borrowed, the pic from that goes with the recipe. You'll find both of them here.

It was utterly fabulous, totally delicious and the perfect dinner. I added potatoes and beans to the roasting dish and cooked the whole lot for a wee bit longer (like 25 minutes longer) than the recipe directed because I like my meat to not be bleeding. Or pink. Or remotely resemble something that used to be alive. That said, it was still a teeny bit undercooked for me but just perfect for hubby. So here's my version:

Roast Rack Of Lamb (With Roasted Vegies)
(serves 4)

3 large-ish potatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
A handful of green beans, trimmed
500g Kent pumpkin, seeded, cut into 1.5cm-thick wedges
Canola spray
4 lamb racks (3 cutlets on each rack), French trimmed
2 tbs wholegrain mustard 
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1/2 large zucchini, trimmed, quartered lengthways
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a large roasting pan with non-stick baking paper. Spray potatoes with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Add pumpkin and beans and cook a further 20 minutes.
2. While pumpkin is cooking, heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Spray with oil. Cook lamb racks for 1-2 minutes each side or until browned. Combine the mustard and rosemary in a small bowl. Spread one-quarter of mustard mixture over the top of each lamb rack.
3. Add tomatoes and zucchini to the roasting pan. Arrange lamb on top. Roast for 25-30 minutes (less if you like it bleeding, more if your like it brown and bone dry) or until lamb is cooked to your liking and vegetables are tender. Transfer lamb to a plate. Cover with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest. Serve with the roasted vegetables. (I steamed some carrots and broccoli to go with it all too, mostly so the fussy child would eat at least one vegetable.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You're Cooking What???

Posted by MANDI at 4:45 PM 5 comments
Offspring #1: What's for dinner?
Me: Minced Beef Wellington.
#1: Minced Beef LAMINGTON? That sounds... weird.
Me (laughing myself silly): NO! Minced Beef WELLINGTON!! It's a Jamie Oliver recipe. You'll like it, I promise.

I'll let you know how it turns out!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Posted by MANDI at 8:30 PM 3 comments
Soooooo glad school holidays started at 3pm today. This has been a ridiculously long term and everyone is worn out.

Even gladder my holidays start at 4pm tomorrow afternoon. Then we're gonna have fun fun fun!

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Week Is Kicking My Butt

Posted by MANDI at 8:20 AM 2 comments
Nothing terrible, just lots! Both kids were sick early in the week thought they're recovering just fine.The kitten and puppy who can't decide if they LOVE each other or DETEST each other. Mostly it's love but the love gets a little rough at times. Hubby is having some issues at work that are rather more difficult than they should be. Hopefully they'll be sorted today (but if you could keep your fingers crossed I'm sure it'd help). This weekend brings the end of swimming - yay! - AND the first game of the season for footy - yay - so it'll be busy all round.

Can't wait for school holidays. Roll on next Wednesday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Birthday To The Hubster!

Posted by MANDI at 3:56 PM 4 comments
Hubby finally joins me in the 'old-age' stakes and hits the grand age of 39 today! We're in the final year of our thirties. Eeeek!! We had a low-key family bbq lunch with both sets of parents (and a fly-by-night cousin who was in town for the weekend!) yesterday and will be having a special birthday dinner with just the four of us tonight.

I feel bad that he's not actually getting a birthday present. We decided that Betsy the puppy would count as his pressie and then I spent last week wallowing in the depths of a cold from hell and didn't get out to find him any little extras. I did rip the add for the new Harry Potter DVD out of one of the junk mail mags yesterday and gave that to him this morning - it's not on sale 'til Friday so he has to wait. I couldn't even tie a pretty bow around Betsy's neck - she kept trying to grab it and run away - so I gave up and tucked some ribbon in her collar, handed her to hubby and told him that was the best I could do. Very bad wifeliness I'm thinking.

But... I have spent today (along with caring for two sick kids home from school, taking Spike to the vet for his needles, chasing after a puppy who is adorably gorgeous except when she's weeing all over my house, doing two loads of washing, finishing the week's ironing and, now apparently losing my voice despite feeling that I might actually finally be getting better!) preparing a delish special dinner in honour of the birthday boy. I've got slow-cooked lamb shanks on the go and a very yummy chocolate cake cooling for birthday cake/dessert.

So, Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband. I love you more than all the leaves on all the trees in the whole world. And that's a lot! xx

Edited to add:
Here's our seriously fab lamb shanks with cauliflower mash dinner -

And Hubby's birthday cake. The recipe is here and it is totally worth making. Delish!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bloggy Stuff

Posted by MANDI at 4:31 PM 7 comments
A friend got in touch today to ask how she could get hold of the recipes here on the blog without having to scroll through all of the posts. When I set this blog up I decided to do away with the tag cloud of labels but quickly realised that not having it actually made navigating through the blog a bit harder than it needed to be. So, the tag cloud is back. If you're looking for a specific type of recipe just click on the label, for example 'cookies' and it'll take you to all the posts about cookies and hopefully you'll find something nice to make.

While I was fiddling around I thought I'd have a play with the template and see if I could sort that out. The blog looks different on my home computer to how it does on my work computer and I thought I could fix that with the touch of a few buttons. Turns out I can't! Hmmm... not such a surprise but in the middle of fiddling I also managed to mess up some of the settings. So I've re fixed them and changed a couple of things (mostly because I couldn't remember what they were before!).

If you're having any problems can you let me know? Then I'll have another go at fixing it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gratituesday. Late Again.

Posted by MANDI at 1:47 PM 3 comments
I've got a cold that is kicking my butt. Hard. I held onto this post for a couple of days so I could use it for my Gratituesday post and then was so completely unwell / stuffed up / tired that I didn't even manage it. So here's this week's Gratituesday post:

I'm so grateful to have fantastic kids who pitch in and help me when I really need them to. Over the weekend I had the whole runny nose, aching body thing going on and, despite the house being in dire need of a good tidy and clean I knew I wasn't going to manage it. I told the kids they were going to have to give me a hand and instead of the usual mumbles and grumbles they both hopped to and joined in. Before I knew it both their bedrooms had been tidied, the living area had been tidied and all their assorted bits put away and Offspring #1 was vacuuming while Offspring #2 was busy dusting. They worked hard, helped me enormously and I was so proud of them.

I made sure to give them both a big hug and thank them for all their help and was rewarded with big sunny smiles. It might have been small in the scheme of things but, for me, it was one of those proud mummy moments to remember.

Monday, April 4, 2011

And Because Our Life Wasn't Quite Crazy Enough...

Posted by MANDI at 8:20 PM 4 comments
Here's our newest bundle of fluff. Betsy!

She's a 6 week old red and white Border Collie pup. We were definite in wanting another Border Collie after our lovely Max but I'm quietly pleased she's got different markings and colouring to him. We wanted a similar temperament but not an exact replica. As had been agreed, Offspring #1 was allowed to name her after his favourite footy player, Carlton's Eddie Betts. If she'd been male she'd be sporting the name Eddie. 

It's Betsy's first night with us so I'm sure I'll have lots of stories about her puppiness and exactly how she and Spike take to each other to keep you amused in the days and months to come.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Baking: Madeleines

Posted by MANDI at 4:58 PM 1 comments
Or Madelines, depending which recipe you happen to be following! These scallop shaped little French tea-cakes are soft, light and delicious and I know I'm going to be making them again soon.

Normally Madeleines are flavoured with lemon or orange but that was going to cause problems for me because of my citrus allergy issues. I knew that they could be made with honey instead and, luckily I found this recipe for honey flavoured Madeleines in a kids cookbook that Offspring #2 received for Christmas. I reckon Santa knew what he was doing when he chose this little particular book for her stocking.

from Women's Day Easy As 1, 2, 3. A learn to count cookbook for kids.

Makes 24 (I got 18 so maybe I made mine too big?)
90 g butter, chopped, plus 15 g extra, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain flour, plus extra, for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat oven to moderate 180C. Brush 2 x 12 hole madeleine pans with extra melted butter. Dust with flour, tapping out the excess. In a small saucepan, melt butter and honey together on medium heat, stirring. Set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Sift flour and baking powder together and gently fold n. Gradually add butter mixture in a steady stream, folding gently until well combined.
2. Divide batter between recesses, until 3/4 full. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until puffed and golden. Cool in pan 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar when cold.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Two Birds. One Stone.

Posted by MANDI at 12:23 PM 2 comments
We just had a Mr Whippy Ice-cream van go down our little street. It's a very rare occurrence. Like, so rare I don't actually remember the last time one came this way. Anyway, as it is so very rare I readily agreed to the kids' request for an ice-cream cone and trotted out onto the road with them, purse at the ready.
Two ice-cream cones later I am currently rocking Best Mum In The World status AND since it's a little past midday they're not hungry so I don't need to make lunch. Awesome on both counts.

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