10 Things To Do Now To Make Christmas Easier!

10 things to do now to make christmas easier

As soon as the Christmas magazines hit the stores, I know it is time to get myself organised. In years past, I would have already done all my shopping and would coast into the festive season with ease, BUT life has been chaotic and I am behind this year, but starting now I am getting on it.

I love Christmas, cause I love sparkly things and I get to play with them for a whole month and nobody thinks I am nuts. With a little bit of planning and action, get these jobs done in November and you will have more to time to enjoy the season rather than running around trying to get everything done.

christmas planning 2017

One – Make ALL the lists!

    If you don’t already have some to-do lists done, sit down today with a notebook and start making them. The easiest way to not forget any of the important things you need to remember, keep this list handy so you can keep adding to it as you remember things.
    Include lists for gifts, food, shopping, decorations, events, travel arrangements and cleaning. Carry a red pen with your notebook to tick of things when they have been completed, as that is such a satisfying things to do.

Two – Stocktake the PANTRY

    Don’t do what I did one year and try to start a Christmas bake-a-thon without caster sugar! Take a good look at each shelf on the pantry and make a list of everything that is running low, or you know you will need extra of and buy them now when you next grocery shop. Or put in an online order and have it all delivered. If you have a little spare space in a cupboard don’t even unpack it, just put it away until you actually need to start using it.

Three – Wrapping supplies!

    I always stock up on gift wrap and cards at the Boxing Day sales. If your stash is looking a bit bare, buy all that now. Why not add it to your online order and have it delivered at the same time. Make sure you include paper, gift bags, cards, tags, sticky tape and ribbon if you like to use it. Setting up a gift wrap station in a spare room makes things easy for quick access, but if you don’t have room, keep all the supplies in washing basket or cardboard box so that it is quick to grab and you don’t have to waste precious time collecting what you need when its time to wrap.

Four – Eat from the freezer!

    For the next two weeks make an effort to use up all the things you have stashed away in the freezer. Having space in your freezer is a must at Christmas time, so eat up things that are lurking in there so you can make space. When frozen nibbles, berries and other goodies go on sale you will be able to grab them knowing you have room for them. Its a great way to build a stash and save some dollars.

Five – Stock up on gift cards on sale!

    Keep your eye on your junk mail in the lead up to Christmas. Supermarkets will often offer discounts on gift cards in the lead up to the big day. Instead of spending hours looking for the perfect gift for those hard to buy for, a gift card can save your sanity and if you feel that gift cards a little impersonal you can always add a little gift as an extra.

Six – Pick a Theme!

    Whether it is a colour or symbol theme, picking one now can help you create a cohesive look for Christmas that will have others thinking you are totally awesome. Traditional, pastel or metallic are these easiest colours schemes to work with and using a tree, bell or star as your centering object if you want to pick one can make your shopping trips quicker. When you choose a new decoration or ten, candles, serviettes or any other festive items, if you stick to one style you can grab what you need without having to decide which ones you prefer. The end result is a home and table that all fits together beautifully.

Seven – What needs a wash?

    Christmas tablecloths can get a little musty from being hidden away in the linen cupboard for a whole year. Pull yours out now and check if they are clean and ready to use. If not, wash and iron them now, so they are ready to go. If you are having guests coming to stay with you, make sure sheets and towels are ready for the onslaught.

Eight – Find it fast!

    Every year I go through a pile of recipe books and magazines trying to decide what to make. When it came time to make a final list and grocery list sometimes I could not remember which book or magazine it was in. Now I make a list with the recipe, book or magazine it is in and the page number so that I can find it in a flash. Recipes from past magazines are now stored in a lever arch file in plastic sleeves and the ones I want to use are placed on the top so I have instant access.

Nine – Count the cutlery, and the plates, and the glasses!

    Miss WW is chief executive dish washer in this house and at her last birthday party afternoon tea, I discovered I had a whole TWO teaspoons to my name. Yep, 4 cutlery sets including my good one no longer included teaspoons. No idea where they have gone, but probably they ran away with all the single socks. Needless to say, more have now been purchased and if you are entertaining at your home, make sure you have enough of all the basic supplies required to eat a meal comfortably. If not add them to the shopping list asap!

Ten – Pencil in some ME time!

    Save your sanity and pencil in some time just for you. Book in to have your hair done, nails painted, a massage or anything that will give your some time to yourself. Hairdressers and beauticians will be busy as everyone wants to look their best so if you have a favourite book them now so that you don’t miss out. Your happiness will flow on to all those around you so make yourself a priority this year.

*****

Make this the year to coast through Christmas with ease and grace and leave the stressing last minutes rushing around to everyone else. Start today and spend 15 minutes getting those list done and the rest will flow.

How sorted are you for Christmas?

What is your favourite tip for getting it all done?

Chocolate Grazing Plate, A Great Alternative To Cake!

A few weeks ago my ‘baby’ turned 18! How the hell did that happen, it did not seem that long ago that she had her first day of school….

Both of my girls have always had a birthday party every year….yep, I am one of those mums that loves organising parties, coming up with themes and baking up a storm.

As we were planning her 18th party, she informs me she does not want a cake….WHAT!

Who has a major life event party without a cake? Miss WW does. Ok, time to come up with plan B.

At birthdays we eat cake

We did have a caramel and pecan mud cake at her family and friends lunch, but I hatched a different plan for her party.

Admittedly I did notice at last years party that the awesome cake I made did go virtually untouched so I did not argue about not having one this time.

Miss WW loves chocolate and adores brownies, so I combined the two and popped it all on a large white platter and that was a huge hit and was literally inhaled by everyone.

 

we love chocolate

 

I did not have time to experiment with brownie recipes so I played it safe and went with my one pot brownie that is just lush and you can get the details here.

Then I added the following goodies:-

A packet of Cadbury Milk Chocolate Finger biscuits

A packet of mini Kit Kats with the wrappers removed

A packet of mini Twix bars with the wrappers removed

A block of Nestle Cookies and Cream chocolate cut into pieces.

But you can use whatever chocolates are your favourites. Nestle was on special that week so they won out.

Sparklers also won out as I did not want to try and stick 18 candles into all the brownie pieces.

The brownie can be made the day before and with virtually not preparation required so it is an easy dessert for any party.

Have you gotten into the grazing plate style of food service that is so popular right now?

 

Easy Gluten Free Ice Cream Cake

When my family gets together for holiday celebrations, I am always in charge of making desserts.

I love baking and making sweet treats and could spend hours looking through recipes for something new to try.

This Easter I was doing my usual search for something delicious, when I remembered that whatever I made had to be gluten free, as a family friend who was joining us can’t tolerate the stuff. Automatically I thought about orange and almond cake, but that really seems to be the go-to choice of cakes and…..how many of those do you need to eat in a lifetime?

My other dilemma was that it would need to be made at least 2 days in advance and not go stale and yuck by Easter Sunday. I could not find anything that I really liked in all my recipe books, so I decided to make up my own. After enlisting some help from a friend who does not do gluten, I had all the info I needed to construct my ice cream cake. The perfect choice for a make in advance dish.

Please excuse the not-so-flash image, but we were happily munching away when mum suggested that I should pop the recipe on the blog! Clever girl that mum of mine.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 10)

1 X 2LT tub of Bulla Vanilla ice cream

1 x packet of Woolworths Mini Meringues

(or you can make your own and have plenty leftover to munch on later)

1 x packet Double D Marshmallows, chopped into little chunks

2 cups of frozen mixed berries

METHOD

Step 1 – Place the frozen berries in a large bowl so they start to defrost.

Step 2 – Prepare your pan. I used a round 22cm deep dish pan, but you can make it into a log or even a square if you prefer, as long as it has at least a 2 1/2 litre capacity.  Cut a sheet of baking paper long enough to fit the base, up both sides and a little extra overlap. Fold the paper over twice to create a strip. Lay it across the centre, up the sides and fold the excess over. Using two or three lengths of cling wrap, line the base and sides completely. This will make the cake really easy to remove when you are ready to eat.

Step 3 – Mash the berries a little and then scoop the vanilla ice cream into the bowl. Using a wooden spoon mix until just combined, crush the meringues in your hands and place in bowl with marshmallow pieces.

Step 4 – Mix again until just combined and then spoon the mixture into your prepared pan. Press down with the wooden spoon to make sure it fills all of the pan without spaces and smooth over the top. Cover with more cling wrap and place in the freezer.

This recipe should be made at least the day before required so that it is frozen solid.

You can decorate each slice with fresh berries or an extra meringue if you made your own.

Enjoy!

What is your favourite gluten free dessert recipe?

Sharing for #IBOT at kyliepurtell.com

Party Perfect Pavlova!

Easy Pavlova Wreath

A fresh pavlova is hard to beat for good looks and great taste, and best of all they are SO easy to make.

I whipped up this one for a girls Christmas get-together, but you can change the toppings to suit any season or occasion.

It is always best to make the pavlova the day before required so that it can completely cool in the oven otherwise you risk it collapsing.

****

INGREDIENTS

4 large egg whites at room temperature

(Its best to separate one egg at a time into a small bowl first so that if any of the yolk accidently makes it through you can ditch that one and start again, as egg yolk will stop the whites from whipping stiffly enough.

1 cup of caster sugar

300 ml thickened cream

1 cup of thawed frozen raspberries mashed

2 kiwi fruit with skin removed and sliced

****

METHOD

Preheat oven to 140C.

Line a 28cm round baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

(If you don’t have a round tray you can trace a circle on to the baking paper and place on a square tray)

Place the 4 egg whites into a ceramic or glass bowl and beat with electric beater until thick and soft peaks form.

Add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition until the mixture is thick and glossy.

Spoon the mixture into blobs around the edge of the tray to form a wreath shape.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, and then turn off the oven and do not open the door, until the pavlova is completely cold.

Transfer the wreath onto a serving plate.

Beat the thickened cream until stiff peaks form.

When you are ready to serve, dot the cream all around the top of the wreath as this is the ‘glue’ that holds the toppings in place.

Add the sliced kiwi fruit and drizzle the raspberry mixture over the top.

Serves 10 people.

****

Another really yummy pavlova topping to try is sliced banana and a smashed up peppermint crisp bar…..yummy!

This recipe gives you a firm pavlova, if you prefer a chewier style, try this recipe instead.

What is your favourite pavlova topping?

How To Turn A Gourmet Food Hamper Into A Delicious Christmas Lunch.

how to turn a gourmet food hamper into a yummy christmas lunch

Every year without fail Christmas rolls around again and the hunt for perfect presents and planning luscious meals begins. If you are like me and don’t have hours spare battling the crowds at the shops or flipping through a pile of recipe books, I might just have the perfect solution for you! Last week I enjoyed an afternoon of taste testing beautiful products from a gourmet food hamper or ten that were provided by Australian Gourmet Gifts.

Whilst munching away on an amazing selection of goodies and sipping on a glass of wine, I was already ticking people off my present shopping list who I know would love a big dose of good food in their home this festive season. At the same time I was planning a menu that was easy to prepare but would taste fantastic and impress all those sharing the table on Christmas Day.

When only the best will do!

I come from a family of dedicated foodies that spent decades involved in restaurants and gourmet food shops. A BBQ chicken from the supermarket deli and a store bought pavlova just will not cut it with my clan. Putting a really nice meal together can be easy with the clever use of tasty ingredients with really fresh produce and choosing recipes that can be prepped well in advance so that you can spend the day relaxing and not slaving away in the kitchen.

With so many hampers to choose from, the hardest part was picking the best hamper to use as the base for creating the menu. In the end the Gourmet Connoisseur Hamper won out for its great blend of savoury and sweet inclusions and there will still be plenty of goodies left to enjoy in the new year.

gourmet hamper christmas lunch

 Image Credit – Australian Gourmet Gifts

 

Delicious Christmas Lunch Menu Ideas

EASY ENTREES

Plate Up A Platter – The easiest way to start off Christmas Day celebrations is with a platter of delectable nibbles. Take The Natural Nut Company – Entertaining Nut Platter and the Absolute Organic – Antipasto Organic Mixed Olives to get started. Add your favourite cheeses, dips or pate and a selection of savoury biscuits and chunks of fresh sourdough bread.

Pesto Puffs – Ready made puff pastry sheets can quickly be turned into yummy mini quiches that can be made the day before and reheated on the day or served cold. Simply add 1/2 teaspoon of Australian Country Gourmet – Sun Dried Tomato Pesto to each one before adding the egg mix from this recipe.

MAKE AHEAD MAINS

Ham It Up – A freshly baked ham will be a winner for you this year and any leftovers can be frozen in portions for use throughout the New Year. Place the whole ham on a chopping board and using a small sharp knife gently remove the rind leaving as much of the fat as possible. Score the fat in rows firstly across the ham and then from top to bottom. Spread a generous amount of Hank’s Jams – Fig & Cinnamon Jam all over the scored section and sprinkle with finely chopped macadamia nuts. Place the ham in a large baking dish lined with foil and baking paper. Sprinkle a little water into the pan before baking at 180C for 45 minutes, basting after each 15. Serve warm or cold with a big bowl of crisp salad.

Terrific Turkey – Instead of spending hours baking a whole turkey, why not try a turkey breast roll instead. Follow the roasting direction on the packet and when it is done remove from the pan, but don’t throw out the all the deliciousness remaining in the bottom. Scrape it all into a small saucepan and over gentle heat add 300ml of thickened cream and 1 heaped dessert spoon of Australian Country Gourmet – Chardonnay & Sage Creamy Mustard and bring to a gentle boil for 1 minute and you now have a super sauce to serve with your turkey. Bake a large tray of mixed vegetables at the same time as the turkey sprinkled with Maggie Beer – Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some fresh sage leaves.

DELECTABLE DESSERTS

Posh Pudding – A store bought plum pudding can be ready to eat after just a few minutes in the microwave. Have your guests begging for more by serving it with the best Brandy Cream. For the final touch grate a few pieces of Rinati – Elite Almond Hard Nougat to sprinkle over the top.

Individual Ice Creams – If you would prefer something cold for a hot Christmas day, why not make these little ice cream bombs. Into a large bowl add a tub of good quality vanilla ice cream and beat until softened. Add some crushed Ital Choc Hazelnut Biscotti and a handful of frozen raspberries. Spoon this mixture into bowls that have been lined with cling wrap for easy removal and place in the freezer until it is time to serve. Swirl a generous amount of Australian Country Gourmet – Rich Chocolate Sauce on to each plate before placing the ice cream on top.

creating an easy christmas day lunch

Image Credit – Grace and Co. Property Styling

Don’t forget to stock the fridge with plenty of Christmas cheer and make sure you add a bag or two of ice to the shopping list.

You can order all the Christmas hampers and gift baskets (including the really lovely ones that come delivered in the luxurious black metal cooler in the pic above) that you could ever need without stepping into a single shop from Australian Gourmet Gifts and free delivery is included, so it does not get any easier than that!

This is a sponsored post as I was a guest of Brand Meets Blog that organised this tasty get together on behalf of Australian Gourmet Gifts and all opinions and ideas are my own.

Which is your favourite gourmet food hamper?

Are you cooking Christmas Day lunch this year?

Sharing for #IBOT with KyliePurtell.com

Yummy and Healthy Avocado Hummus

Avocado and Hummus dip

This yummy dip was an accidental experiment that turned out to be really awesome.

I have never made my own hummus before and decided to give it a try when I had the family over for Fathers Day.

I wanted something easy and tasty for us to nibble on before lunch.

My original plan was to have a bowl of hummus and a bowl of guacamole, but when I opened the seemingly perfect avocados they were almost completely black!

I salvaged what I could and decided to throw it into the hummus, glad I did.

Thankfully there was a tub of marinated antipasto goodies in the fridge to add to the platter and save the day.

***

INGREDIENTS

1 avocado (skin and seed removed)

1 400gm can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

1 small clove garlic (finely diced)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

salt & pepper to taste

***

METHOD

Place all ingredients into a jug and blend together well with a stab blender until smooth or use a food processor if you prefer.

(I am just tooooo lazy to wash all the bits, so the stab blender is one of my favourite kitchen tools.)

The recipe is enough to fill two of the bowls shown in the picture.

***

You can make this a few hours in advance, cover tightly with cling wrap and keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Wholemeal pita bread makes a great accompaniment and are also very easy to make.

Slice a whole pita bread in half and they cut each half into wedges. Bake in a moderate oven for approximately 8 – 10 minutes until they are crispy.

If you want to make these in advance you can by allowing them to cool to room temperature and then seal in a freezer bag until required.

Enjoy!

Have you ever accidentally made something yummy?

Linking up with Kylie Purtell for #IBOT

Easy Chorizo and Lentil Soup

get your colour on and change your life

Every now and then I crave a veggie fix and after a very long, hard day at work I was wondering around the supermarket trying to work out what we were going to have for dinner.

I remembered there was a recipe at home that I wanted to try, but that was not much good to me as I was not there.

I literally grabbed what thought might be in it and set to creating my own version without even checking the recipe.

The result was a really healthy but very tasty soup that I will definitely be making again.

I cooked this soup in my slow cooker as I have to go to Physie on Monday nights, but you could also make this just as easily in a normal saucepan.

INGREDIENTS

1 x Winter Vegetable Soup Pack or buy the vegetables individually –

1 brown onion

1 large carrot

1 swede

1 stick of celery

1 parsnip

1 x 1lt salt reduced chicken stock

1 x 400gm tin of crushed tomatoes

1 400gm tin of brown lentils

1 chorizo

5 fresh basil leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp mild paprika

METHOD

Turn your slow cooker on high and place the olive oil in to it.

Finely dice the peeled onion and chorizo and place into the slow cooker, allow them to brown lightly.

Meanwhile peel and finely dice all the other vegetables.

Add them into the slow cooker, together with the stock, lentils and the tin of tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper if you like, but I didn’t add any and it was really flavoursome without the addition of them.

Cook on high for 3 hours.

Service with crusty fresh bread.

Note – If you prefer a chunkier soup and you have time to cook it a little longer or would like to get the soup started in the morning before you go to work, follow all of the above steps and cook on low for up to 8 hours.

If you like things nice and spicy use hot paprika instead!

Enjoy!

Do you have a slow cooker?

Do you like experimenting with food?

Bring back the real Barbeque Shapes!

Bring back the real barbeque shapes

Image Credit

Its very rare that I will put up a post on this blog full of grumbles and complaints, as I want my blog to be a positive space.

BUT

What the hell were you thinking Arnott’s Biscuits when you decided to change an Aussie icon????

For as long as I can remember, Barbeque Shapes have been one of my favourite savoury snacks.

Over the years I have seen a steady decline in the amount of flavouring sprinkled over these crunchy morsels, but at least the flavour was the same.

Not any more!

The ‘new and improved’ Barbeque Shapes have hit the shop shelves.

AND they are absolutely disgusting as far as I am concerned. (First world problem I know).

We had sample packs of them in the staff room at work, and not a single person that tried them thought they were any good.

I decided to jump on to the Arnott’s Biscuits Facebook page and just see if anyone else was voicing their opinion.

Hell yeah, tons and tons of comments absolutely bagging the new varieties of Shapes biscuits they have altered.

I am hoping that if enough people complain we will get the original Barbeque Shapes back……it sure worked with Australia Post this week……

Australia post price hikes

Image Credit

There are plenty of people who can vouch for the unbelievably atrocious service sometimes provided by Australia Post even though they keep increasing charges.

Earlier this week I witnessed a meltdown on Facebook in one of the planning groups that I am in due to a mind blowing price hike that Australia Post had decided to make to parcels being sent overseas.

The new rates determined that if an envelope contained anything other than printed matter it would be charged at parcel rates.

So a pair of earrings or a single roll of washi tape that could be posted for $2.75 would now cost $15.85 to send to the USA or $23.75 to send to Europe, WTF!

This simply meant the instant end to hundreds of Etsy shop owners and creative businesses.

There was lots of tears and anger as so many stay-at-home mums who make a living selling to customers all over the world no longer had a viable business.

Australia Post’s Facebook page was flooded with protests.

And it worked!

By the next day the powers-to-be realised the incredible amount of business they would lose if all these parcels were no longer being sent and they did a complete back flip and reverted the costs for small ‘parcels’ back to the original rules. Big win for people power.

Arnott’s Biscuits get on to this and give us back the real thing, stat!

Rant over and a return to positive posts shall commence.

Have you tried the new Shapes?

Sharing for #FYBF at With Some Grace.com

How To Read All The Latest Magazines For Free!

save money on magazines

I love magazines!

Sitting down with a freshly made coffee and flipping through the glossy pages is one of my favourite ways to relax.

Unfortunately this can be a very expensive habit, and lots of trees are needed to print the pretty pages.

I currently have a pile of magazines that I am going through, clipping out recipes to try, plus images and quotes/words that I use for making vision boards. When I have finished with them they all go in the recycle bin and very little is actually kept.

I first discovered online magazines a while back when I won a 12 month subscription to ‘O’ Magazine (Oprah’s mag). I have since renewed my subscription twice over, but not anymore.

Thanks to my local library.

I have been an avid library user for decades, as I always borrow a book if possible before I buy it to make sure it is a worthy investment.

My library does have racks full of magazines, but it is very rare that I manage to score a relatively recent copy.

Unless I decide to learn a new craft or something like that, I really have no interest in magazines that are a year or two old.

When I visited the e-magazine section online of my local library, I discovered 150 titles to pick from!

The latest editions of all my favourites magazines are mine to read with a single click.

Best of all I can have access to as many editions as I like, with no return dates and no overdue or lost book fees (yes we have had that happen and found it 6 months later under the front seat of the car).

You will need a good internet connection with plenty of GB’s available to make use of this as most magazines are image heavy and can be quite a few megabytes each or you could end up paying more than the cover price in excess download charges.

Check out your local library online and see if they offer the same, which you would think they should, and while you are at it, grab an ebook or 20 as there are plenty of those available too. This could be the perfect way to learn something new or just make it easier to head to the local coffee shop with your ipad or laptop instead of a pile of magazines.

Now to decide what I want to download first…….so many choices!

Are you a magazine addict too?

Sharing for #IBOT with Essentially Jess.com

Drug Free Kitchen Cures For Common Ailments!

There are lots of wonderful foods that can do the job of everyday medicines to help alleviate the symptoms of many common health issues.

Many of these you will probably have in your kitchen already, or they are very easy to obtain next time you go shopping.

Regular consumption can work as powerful preventative medicine and if symptoms do persist please visit your GP.

Kitchen cures for modern ailments

BLOATING – A bloated belly is uncomfortable and unsightly, try a cup of fresh pineapple each day. Fresh Pineapple contains powerful digestive enzymes that can help to ease a bloated belly. If you can handle eating the core instead of throwing that part out, it is where powerful anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain is stored and is very helpful to reduce inflammation anywhere in your body.

COLD SORES/MOUTH ULCERS – Raw honey that has not been pasteurised can be dabbed on cold sores and will help them to heal faster.

INDIGESTION/NAUSEA – Fresh ginger has an antispasmodic effect on upset tummies. Thinly slice one tablespoon and place in a cup of hot water and allow to steep for 20 minutes before removing and then sipping the tea.

HANGOVERS – After a big night out, it is common to grab for something greasy if you can stomach anything at all. Ice cold chocolate milk was my favourite back in the day. A much better choice is a banana. Loaded with potassium, it will help you feel better much faster than a meat pie or burger.

HEARTBURN – A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup of warm water and sipped when required will help ease the discomfort of indigestion caused from eating in excess.

HOT FLUSHES – Sage tea could become your best friend if hot flushes are a common occurrence in your life. With a mild oestrogenic effect, sage tea will help to balance your hormone levels that when increased trigger flushes. Reducing caffeine intake will also help as it stimulates the release of cortisol that adds to the hormone imbalance so common during menopause.

MUSCLE ACHE – Drinking lots of water after exercise not only helps to rehydrate you, it will also flush out pain triggering histamines that are released from overworked muscles.

SORE THROAT – When your throat feels like it has been attacked by razor blades try this tea to help soothe and heal. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of powdered ginger, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 clove bud and 2 teaspoons honey steeped in 2 cups of boiling water. Strain and drink when it has cooled down to a safe temperature.

SUNBURN – Rubbing slices of fresh tomato over sunburnt skin will help take the pain away. Soaking in oatmeal bath will also help settle the sting. Simply add 1 cup of oats into a sock and tie off with a rubber band. Place the sock into a bath tub and run a just warm bath. Soak for 15 minutes and after you have dried off, if you have an aloe vera plant in your garden, grab a stem cut it open and squeeze out the gel and apply to affected areas.

TOOTHACHE – Chewing very gently on a clove bud will release a natural anesthetic that will reduce the pain and inflammation and bring some relief if you can’t get to the dentist straight away.

URINARY TRACT INFECTION – At the first sign of a UTI grab a cup of blueberries. Fresh or frozen work and they will help kill off the trouble making bacteria. You can also try a drink of 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with one cup of water as this will help to alkalize the bladder which does not allow the bacteria to multiply.

Try one of these effective remedies rather than just reaching for a painkiller as they will help your body to heal and repair rather than just mask the symptoms.

Sharing for #IBOT with Essentially Jess

 

Quick Mix Orange Cake

Quick and easy orange cake recipe

I love a freshly baked cake for afternoon tea, and even better is one that is so easy to whip up without the need to make too many dirty dishes. This orange cake is quick and easy to prepare and can be made with lemon or limes instead if you prefer.

INGREDIENTS

125gm butter + 20gm for the icing

1 orange

2 eggs (at room temperature)

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 1/2 cups of self raising flour

3 cups of icing sugar mixture.

***

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Prepare your pan (13 x 20cm) or loaf pan by spraying with non stick spray and lining with baking paper.

3. Place the butter in a microwave safe jug or bowl and heat for 20 seconds until almost melted.

4. Add the two eggs and whisk together well.

5. Grate the rind of the orange straight into the mixture.

6. Add the milk and whisk, by adding all the wet ingredients first and then the dry, stops lumps from forming.

7. Add the caster sugar and flour and whisk until well combined.

8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

9. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack and let the cake come to room temperature before topping with icing.

***

ICING

1. In a clean bowl add the extra 20 grams of butter and melt in the microwave.

2. Juice the orange and add to the butter.

3. Sift the icing sugar mixture into the bowl 1 cup at a time. (you may need a little more or less icing sugar mixture depending on exactly how much juice you get from the orange, if you prefer a thinner coat of icing only use the juice of half an orange and half the icing sugar mixture).

4. Spread over the top of the cake and place it in the fridge until firm before covering with cling wrap.

quick mix iced orange cake

This cake keeps really well in the fridge for a few days and is a great one to make for a bake stall at school as it has simple ingredients.

What is your favourite cake to make?

Feel free to leave a link in the comments so I can try it out.

Sharing for #IBOT with Essentially Jess.com

 

 

Fabulous Things To Freeze For Christmas Day!

With summer having seemed to have come early this year, there is a very good chance that we will have a hot Christmas.

Freezing things in advance can save preparation time closer to the big day and some of these fabulous ideas not only look great but do a practical job at the same time.

First things first though…..you need to have some room in your freezer before you start.

If you are a bit short on space right now, try feeding the family from the freezer for the next week or so to give you some spare room.

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This ice bucket would not only make a beautiful centerpiece for your table it would keep the bubbles nice and chilled!

Christmas ice bucket

Instructions for making this gorgeous ice bucket can be found here.

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Frozen cocktails and mocktails can be made in advance and will be ready for sipping when you are.

cool down this christmas with frozen drinks

I have lots of yummy recipes on my Pinterest board CHEERS!

Quick and Easy Kids Punch – My favourite go-to recipe that I have used at umpteen kids parties when I have lot’s of children around, especially at Christmas is to freeze a 1lt carton of Golden Circle Tropical Punch overnight. A few hours before you need it, put it into the fridge so it starts defrosting, put the juice into a large jug or bowl and add a 2 litre bottle of lemonade. Pour it in over the back of a spoon so you don’t lose the bubbles and give it a gentle stir.

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Serve fresh seafood on a slab of ice by filling a deep dish baking pan with water and freezing for at least 24 hours.

fresh seafood for christmas

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These gorgeous little puddings are one thing I make every year, and usually I do them in September or October and pop them in the freezer.

When I need a plate to take to a party I take enough to fill a pretty plate and by the time I get to my destination they are defrosted.

Mini christmas puddings

You can get the recipe here.

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Keep the kids happy for ages with frozen fruit cups.

freeze fruit for a healthy snack

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Simply freeze a selection of fruit with some no added sugar juice or coconut water.

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How about a special treat for your furry family members.

Help your dog stay cool this holidays

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Freezing doggy treats in an ice block will help them cool off as they hunt for their reward.

I hope these clever freezer hacks give you some ‘cool’ ideas for the festive season!

What is your favourite way to cool down at Christmas?

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