Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tucker Tuesday: Recipe ~ Easy Peasy Beef Pot Roast

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For years A delicious, moist beef roast eluded me. I tried everything I could think of until I gave up.
Then I thought I'd give roasting one in my slow cooker a go. Lots of fails then too. One day I finally got it! It was amazing! I have made it this way countless times and it's one of my fave meals now.

The secret is in the cut of beef. for this recipe you can't use an ultra lean cut like topside. I found the best cuts to use are blade and bolar. Yes they are slightly fatty but that doesn't bother me. I personally don't buy into the saturated fat mumbo jumbo.

I also cook mine from frozen. Now I know many people will freak out at that idea so if you don't want to cook from frozen then that's ok. Just cook yours on low instead of high. It works out just the same. Cooking from frozen just makes things easier for me.

It doesn't matter what size roast you have. If you have a smaller piece you may find you need a bit less cooking time. This recipe does cook your meat well done. It's still moist, but is well done and falling apart. You end up with shredded beef not nice pretty slices. I often cook two roasts at once. This way I have enough leftover to mix with the leftover gravy that I can freeze for easy beef and gravy rolls another night.

Easy Peasy Beef Pot Roast
1 piece of blade or bolar roast
either: 1 pkt French Onion Soup Mix or 4T of Homemade French Onion Soup Mix

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Place roast in the bottom of your slow cooker. Sprinkle with soup mix. Pour over a little water, just enough so the bottom is covered by a few millimeters. The water will help to steam the meat keeping the meat moist and helping to create lots of condensation to make lots of juices that you can make a delicious gravy from.
If frozen cook on HIGH for 6-8 hours. If defrosted cook on LOW.

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I drain off the juices and make the best gravy from it. Just thicken it using a roux. It won't need much seasoning, just a bit of freshly cracked black pepper.

Take Care

Monday, November 24, 2014

Menu Planning Mondays

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The weather is warming up a little now so we are making some of our favourite winter meals for possibly the last time and starting to make some more summer meals too.

Mon ~ Roast Chicken and veg
Tues ~ Steak sandwiches
Wed ~ Rissoles and veg
Thurs ~ Spaghetti Bolognaise
Fri ~ Chicken snitzels and veg with mushroom Diane sauce
Sat ~ Chow Mein
Sun ~ Beef Pot Roast and veg

~ Strawberry Cream Hot Milk Cake
~ Jelly fruit

Do You Menu Plan? Would love for you to Share

Take Care

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tucker Tuesday: Recipe ~ Weetbix Slice

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I don't know about you but my boys refuse to eat the weetbix crumbs. So we often end up with heaps left over after a couple of months.
I've been trying to find a nice weetbix slice recipe, similar to the basic choc slice that I grew up with, but they have all turned out too dry and crumbly. So I made up my own adapted from a few different ones I found online.

Weetbix Slice
4 weetbix, or about 100g of crumbs
1/2C coconut
1/2C sugar
1T cocoa
100g melted butter
1/3C water

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, ensuring it's mixed and combined well.
Press into a greased swiss roll tin. Squish it right down.
Bake at 180C for about 20 mins.
Allow too cool in the tray a little then spread with a basic chocolate icing (icing sugar, cocoa and milk) and sprinkle with a little coconut.
Allow to set then cut into squares.

We enjoyed this slice this weekend when we went for a drive around our local area. IO packed a thermos and some strawberries to go with it too.

Take Care

Monday, November 17, 2014

Menu Planning Mondays

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We had a couple of hot days this week which meant our first trip to the beach for the season!
Luckily I had planned some hot weather friendly food for those days!

Mon ~ Roast Pork and veg
Tues ~ Lasagna and salad
Wed ~ Hamburgers (after the beach)
Thurs ~ Fried Rice and Chicken wings (wings baked in the morning to stop the kitchen from heating up)
Fri ~ Fish and chips
Sat ~ Lamb chops, Potato Bake and veg
Sun ~ Sausages and veg

~ Banana and Strawberry muffins
~ Weetbix slice
~ Quiche for a picnic lunch

Do you Menu Plan? What's on your plan this week?

Take Care

Friday, November 14, 2014

Down To Earth Annual Christmas Swap

The Annual Down To Earth Christmas Decoration Swap has just wound up. I love this swap. One of my faves.
It's always nice to receive parcels of new goodies but I particularly love it come each November when we put up the Christmas tree on Pageant weekend and I get to decorate with all my handmade items I've received over the years.

This year I was teamed with Tracy.

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My parcel came wrapped in a huge tea towel and tied with Christmassy ribbon

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Tracy made me some a Christmas bunting and a stocking made form old jeans, so cool.
these was also a lovely hand made card and some gingerbread scented bodywash.

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A close up of the stocking.
How clever to include the waist band and pocket in the design!

I had a few things in mind to send Tracy and in the end I decided on a table topper that featured Christmas trees.

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I have folded the topper in half here to fit in the photo. I also made a couple of star shaped dishcloths, a handmade card and seeing as Tracy lives interstate I thought I'd send her a little something from South Australia, our famous Fruchocs.

Have you taken part in any Christmas swaps this year?

Take Care

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Our Victorian Holiday Part 2 ~ Marysville and Lake Mountain (photo heavy)

Ooops where did that 2 months go since I posted about the first day of our holiday?
Oh well I'm here now.

The next day we made the drive through the top of Melbourne and onto Marysville. A little stressful getting onto the new roads that our GPS's didn't recognise, not easy when towing a van, but we got there ok. The drive through the Yarra Valley was gorgeous too.

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The Black Spur was gorgeous!

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Our set up in front, In Laws behind.

We had nice big sites at the Marysville Caravan Park. The amenities was just to the right of the photo.
Behind those tress in the background was the Steavenson River and the main street. So nice and close to town!

There had been some good snow falls all week and we wanted to make the most of it so the day after we arrived we decided that we'd take a drive up Lake Mountain and see if we could find some free snow play.

 photo DSCF5052_zps657b89f9.jpg Well it was a gorgeous sunny sunday with a youth ski comp on so the traffic was pretty heavy closer to the Resort turn off. But after that it was easy.

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Tree ferns heavy with snow

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One of my fave photos

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Our delightful GPS wanted to take us through this short cut. 
4WD or no 4WD we were not going there!

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We all know the saying cold enough to freeze your tits off?
Well she lost one! (Not built by us)

We found a nice little turn out where other people were playing in snow (just after the Warburton turn off for those playing at home). A fairly quiet stretch of road, safe enough to play.

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Pop and Ethan

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Eli copped a good one early. Straight down his back!

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He wasn't happy!

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Beautiful scenery

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We found this great area that was full of ferns covered in snow. They looked like little mushrooms. We didn't go past the signs, those other people weren't with us.

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After about half hour the kids were getting cold and wanted to go. So we grabbed so nice family photos and jumped in the car with the heaters cranked!

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We drove home via Warburton etc and had a lovely day out.

Next edition next week I promise!

Take Care

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My New Craft Space

Many of you will remember my Room of Shame. That room stayed in that condition, more or less, for at least 3 years. It was awful. I struggled to find the time to organise it let alone actually craft in there.

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Then a few months ago we decided to let Randall have the space for himself. He's 18 now and needs a little more independence. So we switched. I spent about 4 days decluttering my stash and packing everything into tea chests and into the shed. I gave a huge amount of stuff I just wasn't going to use to the boys kindy. They refused loved it. I see something from my stash being used on the craft table and displayed on the walls just about every time I walk in.

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I love having a dedicated writing area. This is where I start my day, write mu blog posts and pen pal letters and do all my planning.
I need to get a large pin board to put up here yet though.

This room is much smaller but actually much easier to use. It's inside to start with. So I can easily pop in there for 5 mins here and there when needed. Takes much less time to clean up and I am finding I am having so much more time to be able to craft now that it's more easily accessible.

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My main crafting area. This window looks out onto the backyard. Can you see the boys artistic talents on the window?

Lots of lovely light comes through this window. It does cop all the afternoon summer sun unfortunately. It has a good pull down blind on the outside, so fingers crossed it won't be too hot in here.

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My Project Life Zone. Needs a little more organisation but it's getting there.

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On the wall to the left as you walk in. A little untidy but better. The wardrobe houses the vacuum cleaner and my sewing needs.

I just love my new room. It's not designer but it's practical and I am loving how much more creative I have been lately.

Take Care