Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I made SUSHI...and it was good!

Yesterday I attempted sushi as my kids and huband just devour the stuff.  I must say, I think I did all right.  Mayby not Japanese quality LOL but it worked.  It smelt, tasted and looked liked sushi, the family was happy so I gotta be chuffed with that.
It is quite a fiddly thing, but like anything, I think the more you do it the easier it becomes.
In this Blog post I am going to give a step by step guide to making sushi...the simple mums way...

1.I placed 2 cups of rice (Jasmine) in a sieve and rinsed it untill the water ran clear....For some reason this makes the rice stickier.  Next I put the rice in my  rice cooker with 2 cups of water.  I let it do its thing.  The rice needs to be cooked through the absorb method and I find a rice cooker does this to perfection.  When the rice is done try not to 'squash' or flatten the grains of rice.

2.Once the rice i cooked, I placed it in a glass dish...My trusty ol' Pirex dih worked perfect.  I spred it out evenly.

3. Next once done, I used 1/2 cup of sushi seasoning which I purchased form an asian store.  This adds the right amount of flavour to the rice...Not to vinigary, not too sweet...Just right.  It also adds the rice stick together which i the key to sushi.  Please remember that when you are mixing the seasoning through to use a Plastic or sillican spatula as metal tends to alter the taste.  Also, be careful once again not to flatten the grains of rice.  Be VERY gentle and sort of 'fluff' the rice till the seasoning is mixed through.  Let sit untill fully cool.

4. Once the rice is cool your ready to start putting your sushi together.  I gathered my ingredients...
*Nori (seaweed)  sheets
* Kewpie - Japanese mayonaise
*Tin of tuna
*Cucumber slices
*Sweet chili sauce
You can baisicaly put ANYTHING in your sushi...I just know my kids WILL eat tuna.  For my husband I also put avocado and/or garlic chives just for extra flavour.
OH, and I almost forgot...
* a bamboo sushi rolling mat.
Most of these items can be found in the supermarket OR for more choice an asian supermarket.
Mix the tuna, mayo and sweet chili together in a bowl.

5.  Now this can be the tricky part...which way to lay it all.   Ok, Lay your Nori out shiny side up (yes...there is a shiny side believe it or not).  Lay a handfull of rice(use your hands...get em' dirty...its the best way so as not to squish the rice) on the nori.  Gently ped it out right to the edges, leaving the top part bare, as in the picture.  Make sure it isnt too much rice or it will get messy. LOL
Next Lay the tuna (or what ever filling you choose in a thin layer on top of the rice.

6.  This is where it gets fiddly.  Gently roll away from you, but at the same time firm grip so it all sticks together.  Then ever so gently, wrap the end strip, without the rice up to seal the sushi roll.  Hold it firm for a minuit.  It should also have a slight square shape to it.

7.  Now once your roll is made gently pull away the bamboo mat.  Get yourelf  a REALY, REALY sharp, non seratted knife.  Wipe a little of the sushi seasoning on it as it will prevent the Nori sticking to it.
Slice the roll in half.  Then in half again. Then again.
You hould be left with 8 small rounds.  Wipe the knife blade regulary.

8.  Now all you have to do is plate it up and eat up.  I served mine with Soy sauce and strips of Garlic chives.  Wasabi as delicouse too.

Not bad for a first attempt, I must say. 
A great plate to take to someones house, lunch for when the girls come over, or even as a snack.
 My kids took it to school today for lunch as well as my husband.  All came home raving about their scrummy lunch.  And, the best part....its healthy too! 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our totaly awesome wonky chocolate cupcakes!

So, This weekend my sister and her husband moved house *sigh* I dont envy them.  Moving is such a headache. 
 Anyway, while my husband went to help with the physical move...I stayed home and babysat or should I say,  played with all the kids.  We had a ball.  After we danced, did the slip n slide in the backyard and after lunch, we cooked.  And might I add the kids did a fabulouse job!  I really just supervised and let them take over.  We cracked, poured, tipped and mixed...and at the end of it all the kids got to lick their spoons and the bowl (the best part).  It was alot of fun.

I was very proud of their patience while they cooked and cooled.
They were itching to ice and decorate......The end results were awesome.  You go kids! 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

CHALLENGE>$150 p/w for your family's food. WE CAN DO IT!

So Last Thursday I did my "montlhy" food shop.  When I say monthly I mean 6-8 week shop.  If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be shopping on a montlhy basis i would have said "Bahahahahahaha.....yeah right!!!"
It has taken me a while to get it right......firstly, to get my head around it, next to get myself organised and thirdly to work a strategy to make it work.
For the past 6 months Ive done works....and I LOVE IT!
Let me explain how I do it.....
Originally, when I would shop...(back in the early days of marrage and no kids), It would be a weekly occurance.  I would spend about $150 per week, plus all those 'extras' that you either forget to get in the shop or the extra bread and milk you need through the week.

Then when my babies came along shopping was a bit of a hit and miss affair.  I would shoot out to the shops when I could and prbably get $50-$100 worth of groceries at a time.  Not very economical at all!!!!  But I 'thought' I had no choice as anyone with kids would know, you just gotta take each day as it happens.
Anyway....this sort of shopping became a bit of a habit and had stuck.
Personally I hated it as I like to know what Im cooking for the week ahead of time, and be organised was hard to break the habit.
It wasnt until my husband sat me down and was almost in tears over the amount of money we waste esp on food.
I felt so bad as i knew exactly what he was talking about.  I had to work out a plan.  My children are now getting older and easier to work with when out.
I googled and searched for ways to save and be more organised... thats when I discovered
This site is an absolute livesaver.   It showed me ways to be able to do a shop and be organised AND SAVE MONEY!!!!!! 

Anyway...long story short, I now spend $900 for 6 weeks worth of groceries.  That equals $150 per week.  That is including Fruit and veg, fresh, free range meat, bread and milk everything you need to eat.  Also, I found the more times you enter a supermarket you wastew money.  Im one of those impulse buyers.  I run through the store grabbing things as I 'may' need them or think 'wow..thats a bragain, im gonna grab that while I see it" Bad, bad, bad, bad!!!!!!!
To break it down here is how I do it....

$900 for 6 weeks food shopping!
ALDI pantry basics such as canned items eg, toms, sauces, flours, salt/pepper, spices, stock, bread crumbs, pastas, tortillas, rice, noodles etc.
 Its also good to get a few frozen items such as pastry etc.
For my washing powder I spend about $70 and buy a huge big box and this last approx 6 months.
I also purchase my milk in UHT form.  I purchase 2 cases of this, one of normal milk and one of Soy milk as I prefere this. UHT is no different health wise than fresh fact it is in ways better.  For my bread I purchase flours etc and make my own....soooo much better than store baught.  We NEVER run out of bread and running to the service station for $5 milk and $6 bread....which adds up!!
Meat from A bulk meat place that sells the most amazing quality, hormone free, organic meats.  Chicken, beef, lamb, kebabs, risoles, sausages pretty much anything you want, they got.  I buy this in bulk, devide in to meal size portions and freeze.  We have actually purchase a 2nd hand up right deep freezer off eBay to put to extra meat in.  This meat last for months.  TOTAL=$200-$250
For my fruit and veg, yes...I get them fresh on a weekly basis.  Instead of stepping foot into a supermarket, (which inevitably means spending way mor money than intended) I was going to the weekly farmers markets.  I love this....however I found that beacuse there was always soooo many yummy things that I love at the farmers markets...again I was over spending *sigh*  So now I make the farmers markets a treat....only going when I have the extra cash to splurge on yummies.
What my alternative is to fresh fruit and vegs is getting them delivered.  For $45 a week my little fruit and veg man deliveres market fresh goodies to my door every Friday morning...Everything our family needs for the week. This ensures me that I wont go over budget.  I was a little weary doing this at first as I thought that I will get yucky stuff thats not fresh and I wont eat....quite the opposite. 
You can go online choose what you DONT want and request things you especially want and you got it.  Perfect.  The veg and fruit are also from the farmers i get the same high quality that I wanted.
So each week this is     TOTAL=$45 p/week ($200)

It is hard going the day of shop.  You are absolutly wreaked at the end of it but it is well worth it.  Shopping once every 6 weeks or so is a great idea IMO.
I cook alot of my own biscuits and cakes.  I make my own bread.  if you stock up on things like tinned toms, stocks, spices, fruits etc you can make pretty much anything out of your cupboard. 

Oh, also, your pantry, fridge and freezer looks like a supermarket at the end of it so is a good idea to clean out the pantry as well as an extra cupboard for extra storage space.
I also make sure my hubby is available for this one day to help.  When your in ALDI with a trolly that is about to topple and the speed you need at the checkout....its comforting to know you have another person there to help out.
Like I said...this one day every 6 weeks or so is full, packing, unpacking, weighing meat, wrapping, packing meat, storing, finding spots, driving around...but it is good.  You feel so prepared and organised at the end of it.
What I like to do too is when you are getting to the end of it...nearing the end of the 6 weeks try and stretch it out and extra week, try to get 7 weeks or more if you can....after all at the end of the day it all saves money.
Here is a pic of my loaded pantry after our monster shop...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Latest Creation. 'Little birdy' wall Canvas .

Today I have created a new post showing my latest lttle creation...a new vintage inspired wall hanging.
As Ive mentioned many times I love vintage inspired items, I love whimsical little unique pieces and birds...tiny little finchy type, They are sooo cute.
Anyway, I had a wall im my lounge room that was just bare and lacking personality.  I went and purchased a canvas from a discount store, the sort that has a fat frame.

I painted the canvas in the colour that suits my colour scheme in my home.  I chose Green Balm 3 From Nippon paint,
I purchased a sample pot from Bunnings, which was more than enough for my canvas.
I simply just rolled on the paint...2 coats.
Once it was dry I placed a wall sticker onto the canvas.  Birdys....of course!
As you can see from the pic it is a silhouette of a tree branch, with 2 little finches in amongs it.
I was quite proud of the end result.  Very happy and has filled that lonley little wall in my lounge room and cost next to nothing for my beautiful artwork.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My husband has a Stomach Ulcer!

This Post is in honour of my gourgeouse husband.  I know the whole idea of my blog is to blog things that make me happy but i have to blog this as im a little sad.
For several years now my husband had had awful pain in his stomach with vomiting etc and no explanation for it.  He was told about a year ago that he had gall stones...soooo, he had his gall bladder out.
Not long after the pain and vomiting etc returned.
Anyway, enough is enough so today he booked in for a endoscopy.  We were told that he has got several stomach ulcers     :-(
The poor thing.  My heart is breaking right now.  I know it is managable, i know we will be ok and i know it can better but he is sad...which makes me sad.
Im on a mission now to find out what foods he can have (stay tuned for recipes) and what things I can do to make his life less stressed.
I love my husband so, so much and he IS my world.  He is truly the most amazing man.  Im so lucky to have him in my life.
I want to make it better, I want to fix it :'-(

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I wanna go on MkR

Yes...that right, I wanna go on My kitchen rules!!
I Love that show.  I dont think I can cook amazingly like them but, I love to cook and im sure I can learn LOL...Im so inspired by them.  The food, the recipes, the presentation...everything!  I love it.
Also, I have an UPDATE with my broken oven.  After 3 months of diplomatic rage (is there such a thing??) I "finally" got my oven (which was only a few months old).  So that as well as the show MkR Im sooo back with cooking.  Yesterday I cooked up a storm making a kitchen full of scrolls....bacon, cheese and bbq scrolls, chocolate & wallnut scrolls, peanut butter & mapel scrolls...I only had an after noon so i wanted to make other stuff but ran out of time.
But...this is just the begining.
My hubby and I are so loving this show that even he (yes, husband who considers a night off cooking for me is vegemite on toast LOL) he said " we should host a dinner party" I laughed and said, "well hun,  for me to do this I would need YOU to help me, not just sit and drink beer with the guest all night while I do all the work...Notice these people work as a TEAM" he goes "yeah...I could do that"
I might just take him up on that...he may even learn a thing or two LOL.
So, watch this the next month or so I think we will be hosting a dinner party!  I CANT WAIT!!!! Ive wanted to do this for YEARS!

Lets BREAK the FAST.

Breakfast, one of my favorite meals of the day...and Im always open to new ideas and recipes for this wonderful meal.
Last saturday, I whipped up a bacon and egg wrap for me and the fam.
It was realy, realy nice...and quite low in fat too...woohoo, thats always a bonus!
It was a Lavish bread smothered with low fat cottage cheese, topped with a free range poached egg (thanks to our Polly), low fat organic bacon and grilled tomato.  I then topped it with flat leaf parsley freshly plucked from my garden.
Once wrapped and coupled with a nice cup of brewed coffee & soy milk....delish! The perfect healthy, low fat weekend breaky!
Hubby and the kids devoured it too....was a winner all round.
Next time I may add a few mushrooms.
If you are looking for a meal that is low in cals but high in protein, this is a great dish.  It carried us through till lunch time.