Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tucker Tuesday: Recipe~ Apricot Chicken with a Twist

Apricot Chicken with a Twist | Becci's Domestic Bliss 

One of our all time Family Favourites is Apricot Chicken. I loved it as a kid and now my boys do too, well the non fussy ones at least. Randall even requests it every year for his birthday dinner.

Many Aussie families make this on rotation but most use French Onion Soup Mix in theirs, which is nice but the sauce is quite runny. We use Dutch Curry and Rice Soup Mix in ours. Makes a much thicker sauce and the little bit of curry in it adds some nice flavour, it's not hot by any means, we don't do spicy in this house.
I have been experimenting not using packet mixes but am yet to nut this one out, so we'll continue to make it this way until I work it out.

Apricot Chicken with a Twist
1-2kgs chicken pieces
1.5 cans apricot nectar
1 pkt Dutch Curry and Rice soup mix
Can apricot halves (optional extra)

Place the chicken pieces in the bottom of a casserole dish. Combine the nectar and soup mix, pour over chicken. Drain the apricots (if using) and add to the chicken.
Cover and bake at 180C for an hour. Take the cover off and bake another 45-60 mins. Give it a stir a couple of times.

I use chicken pieces. I find it's the best way. I have used thigh fillets and that's not too bad, but never use breast fillets, they dry out in casseroles too much. Save them for quicker cooking.
We usually serve this with rice or mash and other steamed veg. But it is really yummy served with chips. The sauce poured over chips is delicious and is how it was served to me growing up.
You can adapt this recipe for the slow cooker too, I use just one full can of nectar, the rest is the same. I find 4 hours on high is plenty of time to cook in my slow cooker, chicken seems to cook really fast in it.
If you double the recipe to feed a large family (this feeds us 5 well and truly, and we're big eaters plus I get leftovers to put away for Brians work dinners) then don't use two packets of dutch curry soup mix, use one and one packet of french onion soup mix. I find using two dutch curry mixes ads too much flavour and thickens it too much. Using one of each gives a nice balance.

Let me know if you give it a try

Take Care

Monday, October 27, 2014

Menu Planning Mondays

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I'm here!!!! That blogging mojo has certainly been playing hide and seek lately. Right now it's back, not sure how long for but it's here right now so I'm making the most of it.

Tues ~ Steak sandwiches
Wed ~ Rissoles and veg with pan gravy
Thurs ~ Baked drumsticks and veg
Fri ~ Fried Rice and Chicken Wings
Sat ~ Lasagna
Sun ~ Pot Roast Beef and veg

No baking this last week. Mojo has vanished there a little too.

Do you Menu Plan? Would love for you to Share

Take Care

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Little Pen Pal Organisation

I've been having lots of fun recently writing to some Pen Pals that Melissa from One Crafty Mumma organised through her Creative Pen Pal Swap.
I've always loved playing with paper and being creative and have been wanting to get back to old fashioned letter writing for a while, so this was just perfect for me.

Today I was busy in my craft room creating my latest swap item and I had a brain wave.
I needed something to keep my current letter and current letter set together.
I had been looking for something else yesterday when I rediscovered a couple of A5 size MDF clipboards that I bought at Officeworks for a couple of dollars. Bingo! I could decorate one and then clip everything together and when I want to write I can use it to lean on! This way I can take my letter writing into the lounge or even outside into the sunshine with a cuppa!

So here it is....

A Little Pen Pal Organisation | Becci's Domestic Bliss

A Little Pen Pal Organisation | Becci's Domestic Bliss

The paper is from an old Kaiser line, Miss Nelly. I'm a big fan of blue based pink florals.
The alpha stickers are also from Kaiser.

To make these I put double sided tape around all the edges and the edge of the clip. Spread a nice amount of Mod Podge in the middle and make sure it's fairly even.
Place the piece of paper on top, starting at the bottom of the board.
Crease the paper into the bottom of the clip with your thumbnail. Trim so that you can do the same to the little bits on the side.
I have done a few of these now and this technique works well.
Using the double sided tape on the edges means you don't really have to wait for the glue to dry and stops the edges from curling.
For this one I left the edges of the clipboard raw, but you can paint them before hand if you like.
The back has also been left plain. I might cover it down the track but for now I'm happy for it to be left as is.

A Little Pen Pal Organisation | Becci's Domestic Bliss

It's a perfect size for letter writing too {see more blue based florals}.
Just love the dappled light coming in through my window.

Mel has decided to leave the Pen Pal Swap open ended, so if you'd like to join in pop on over and sign up!

Take Care

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Child's Right {?}

I don't normally talk publicly about my children's behavioural struggles but todays incident got me thinking.....

We are just back from having Eli's Kindy photos taken.
They are having three individual photos and then a composite 'class' one.
Last year they had a group 'class' photo taken and Eli was determined that he didn't want to take part in that but up until last night was happy to have the individual one done.

So I dress him nicely and take him in, it's not his usual session today, and he put on the skids. He did not want his photo taken. We tried for a while to coerce him, without upsetting him, but there was no way he wanted it taken. His good mate didn't want his done either, but decided off his own back that he did after a while and there were some lovely pics taken. I thought that might encourage Eli, but no.
The photographer did sneak in one photo while he was playing but now a tantrum has ensued because he didn't want his photo taken. He hid under the table and refused to come out until I said that all was ok and that we'd go home.

He's now crying and throwing a tantrum. Trying to exert his control over everything he can think of because he lost control over having his photo taken.

Behavioural issues aside, I have a question for you all........

When is it ok for children to exert their choice over having their photo taken?

This will be different for everyone. There is lots of talk in the blogging world about blogging about your kids and their right to privacy, that's not what I'm talking about here though.
I'm talking about family and school photo type situations.
I can see this might be a hot topic but please keep comments friendly, thank you.

Take Care

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tucker Tuesdays: Recipe ~ Chicken and veg Sausage Rolls

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We love sausage rolls! But sausage mince isn't very healthy. We've made them with beef mince and they are great too. I make Pizza Sausage Rolls every so often too. But I thought I'd make some with chicken mince for something different.
When we did our bulk meat shop the other week I scored 4 x 500g packs of Lillydale organic chicken mince for $2 a pack! So that's what I used

Chicken and Veg Sausage Rolls
1kg chicken mince
1C cottage cheese
1 onions, finely diced
2 carrots, grated
2 eggs
4 sheets puff pastry
a little milk
Sesame or other seeds for decoration if desired

Preheat oven to 220C.
Combine the first 5 ingredients with your hands in a large bowl until well combined.
Cut sheets of pastry in half lengthwise.
Spoon mince mixture along the long edge of each piece of pastry and roll up. Brushing the joining edge with a little milk to stick together.
Cut each roll into four piece.
Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Brush each roll with more milk and sprinkle with seeds if using.
Baking in the oven for about 20 mins or so, or until lightly golden brown.

Serve with your choice of sauce. I had sour cream and sweet chilli with mine mmm.

Don't over cook though. Chicken mince is very lean and if they are over cooked they'll be very dry.
You could easily add other vegies into these and bulk it out more to use up all 6 sheets of pastry in the pack. I made some apricot turnovers with my leftover sheets and had with some leftover whipped cream for dessert.

Hope you give these a go.

Take Care

Monday, September 15, 2014

Menu Planning Mondays

Ooops another week has rolled around and I still haven't managed to get my graphics off the old computer!
Feeling much better for the best part this week, thank goodness.
Tried something new with sausage rolls this week and it was a hit. Recipe will be up tomorrow.

Mon ~ Easy dinner
Tues ~ Chicken and veg sausage rolls
Wed ~ Fish and veg
Thurs ~ Sausage Sizzle
Fri ~ Crumbed Lamb chops and veg
Sat ~ Spaghetti bolognaise
Sun ~ Leftovers

Choc Self Saucing Pudding
Jelly and Custard

Do you Menu Plan? What was on your plan this week?

Take Care

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Victorian Holiday Part 1

We have recently come home from 3 weeks away in Victoria. We've been planning this trip since we travelled the Great Ocean Road about 3 years ago.

Our holiday was to take in the Dandenongs and Melbourne. My In Laws were coming with us this trip too. We love to travel together and it's such fabulous memory building for the boys.

We left about 2am on the friday in the hope that the boys might sleep most of the way and help to make to long trip to Ballarat go easier.

There was a big storm forecast for the morning. We had lightening all the way past Tailem Bend and by the time we got to Tintinara (Tinty) it was pouring with rain. A quick coffee stop at Tinty and we were back on the road again until Bordertown. More fuel and something to eat and we were on our way again.

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Lots of little stops including this one at a pull off park somewhere between Nhill and Kaniva.
That' sour van at the back and the In Laws in front. We have CB radios fitted which comes in very handy when communicating, especially in areas where mobile phone coverage is dodgy.

Our plan was to arrive in Ballarat in the afternoon, stay over night then we'd only have about a 3 hour drive the next day to Marysville. Well as we were arriving in Ballarat it was snowing!!!!
The look on Ethans face was just priceless. Eli had dozed off though so didn't really know what was going on.
We had booked into the Shady Acres caravan park. Not a flash park, but the amenities were fine enough and we were only staying over night. Nice and convenient on the Highway too.
When we returned to the car after booking in we discovered that Eli had vomitted everywhere! Poor bugger looks like he might get a little car sick. Not exactly what I wanted to be cleaning up while it showered snow!

 photo DSCF5028_zpsc433e0c6.jpg So while I stripped car seat covers and got change for the laundry the kids got to run around in snow.
They were in total awe.

Everyone was a little tuckered out that night so an early night with the blow heater going to keep us warm.

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Brian got the kids up early, rugged them up and went for a walk before the frost defrosted. 
It was very foggy and the place looked amazing!

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Nan and Pops set up just across the way

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I loved this old phone box

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Such a beautiful view.

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Puddles were frozen over.

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Had to show the boys this field. The grass was so crunchy underfoot. Love seeing their footprints left behind them as they went off to explore.

We came back for a nice warm bowl of porridge. Then it was a quick pack up and we were on our way to Marysville.

Come back soon for the next chapter :)

Take Care